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Always on the field

Buford's Anderson, Rudnik playing with East Cobb this summer

POSTED: July 11, 2008 5:01 a.m.
For the Times/

Buford rising senior Josh Rudnik is a pitcher for the East Cobb Astros.

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Josh Rudnik and Landon Anderson don’t mind getting spread thin this summer as they balance baseball games and football conditioning, even though their coaches might not always share the same sentiment.

Rudnik and Anderson, both rising seniors at Buford High, are also teammates this summer with the East Cobb Astros 17-year-old baseball team. The Astros are one of the premier organizations for high school baseball players, and both hope to get the exposure and earn scholarships to play at the next level.

But as football players for the defending Class AA state champion Wolves, they also have commitments to be in the weight room during the summer.

"It’s pretty hectic," Anderson said. "Every coach wants the team to be there for everything, but they are pretty understanding."

Rudnik has already seen the two schedules clash together, but he tries to give both baseball and football equal play in his schedule.

Rudnik and Anderson made a trip to Ohio for a baseball tournament this summer, and then Rudnik had to drive home early to attend a football passing camp for Buford’s wide receivers at Furman University. After the football camp, he had to hop in his car and drive back to Tennessee to meet his team for another baseball tournament.

"It’s a very busy schedule," Rudnik said. "I try to get as much rest as I can."

Rudnik and Anderson both are playing for East Cobb to get a chance to play against top-caliber competition. The Astros’ schedule includes out-of-state games in Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida.

Rudnik added that at every game the Astros play there is at least one or two college baseball scouts in attendance.

Astros coach Wes Fields says the highlight of the summer is the wooden bat tournament this month. More than 180 teams will be in attendance for games spread out all over Cobb County. He added that 90 percent of Division I colleges and all MLB teams will have scouts at the tournament.

"The players at East Cobb are going to get thoroughly coached," Fields said. "The level of talent you’ll find at East Cobb is the best around."

Anderson, a catcher, and Rudnik, a pitcher/outfielder, enjoy the fact they get to work together when Rudnik is on the mound. It’s a luxury most players aren’t afforded while playing on what amounts to an All-Star program.

"I’m definitely lucky to have a kid on my team that I’m friends with on the Astros," Anderson said. "He’s definitely one of my favorite pitchers to catch."

They balance their extensive travel baseball schedule with morning lifting sessions at Buford on Monday through Thursday mornings. Rudnik said they are able to use Friday mornings to make up for days they missed previously in the week.

Anderson and Rudnik are only allowed to miss three weight lifting sessions during the summer, but sat down with their coaches to carefully craft a schedule to meet that requirement.

Rudnik is more focused on landing a baseball scholarship for college. Anderson is keeping his options open to see where the better opportunity presents itself.

The East Cobb Astros season concludes with the 18-and-under Impact Baseball World Series on July 25-27 at Wake Forest University. The pair of Buford athletes begin football practice almost immediately after returning home.



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