By Andrew Gordo
‘Home is where the heart is’ is an expression Broncos senior outfielder Kyle Garlick would know well, who used his final year of eligibility to return home and play for Cal Poly Pomona.
The kinesiology student grew up in Chino Hills, only seven miles away from CPP, and spent his early years playing and developing a love for the game of baseball.
“I’ve been playing since I was six years old,” said Garlick. “From a young age I just loved anything that had to do with a ball.
“My mom would say that I would pick up a baseball and hit her in the head when I was 3 or 4 years old.”
His love of the game carried over to high school, where he found success playing for Chino Hills High School. During his four years there, Garlick was able to earn All-American preseason, Rookie of the Year and second team All-League honors.
Garlick was rewarded with the offer to play baseball for the University of Oregon, an opportunity that he capitalized on.
During his three years at Oregon, Garlick pulled his weight. In 103 career appearances, he totaled a .258 batting average, eight homeruns, 66 runs batted in and 87 hits.
Despite his successful tenure, his 2013 season was cut short due to a season ending injury.
“It was the 10th game of the season,” said Garlick. “We were playing Fullerton, so I was at home and my whole family came to watch. I fouled off a pitch, felt a sharp pain in my hand, and went back to the dugout and tried swinging. I couldn’t do it.
“I thought it was just be three to four weeks, and I’d be back and playing, but it just kept lingering.”
Still, his career as a Duck ended on a positive note and on his own terms. He decided to forgo his final season with Oregon to come home to play for the Broncos and try a new experience.
“It was a combination of a few things,” said Garlick. “One, I got my degree from Oregon, so I was done with school. Another thing was I’m from Chino Hills. I’m a local guy, so I wanted to come back home to my parents.”
Garlick also said how his mother’s health was a big factor for returning home.
“My mom, she got diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of last year’s season,” said Garlick. “I really wanted to come home and be with her through this tough time. Last season was a tough year not being with her.”
Now that he is back home, Garlick is spending more time with his family and focusing on helping his team.
“He’s the best player on our team, putting him in center field and hitting in the middle of our lineup is not easy,” said head coach Randy Betten in an email correspondence. “He’s handled the pressure of learning a new position very well.”
At this point in the season, Garlick leads the California Collegiate Athletic Association with 11 home runs, and has been instrumental in the Broncos’ success this season so far. Along with his long ball, Garlick has also posted a .358 batting average with 28 RBIs.
The CCAA also recognized Garlick for his play this past week with a CCAA Player of the Week honor.
“I’ve always believed you put your best players in championship positions, and Kyle is a champion,” said Betten. “Kyle has helped us get to this point so far and will help us make the playoff push the next five weeks. After this year, he’ll be drafted in June and have a chance to play professional for a MLB team.”
In the future, Garlick hopes to be drafted by an MLB club. For now, his focus is solely on this season and enjoying his time back home.
Hayden Yi / The Poly Post
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