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Leave it to the pros

The Full Count Baseball Academy, based in Pasadena, is pitching in to help young, local baseball players excel at the next level.

August 11, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

Glendon Rusch and Matt Whisenant, co-founders of the Full Count Baseball Academy, are passing down their knowledge and experiences to young, professional hopefuls after they spent more than a decade combined playingMajor League Baseball.

No matter what issue a player, of any level, is dealing with, Rusch and Whisenant feel like the Full Count Baseball Academy, based in Pasadena, can help find a resolution. The pair has more than 13 seasons of combined experience as pitchers at the major league level.

"It's very rewarding for us to be able to do what we love to do and be able to share what we've experienced," said Whisenant, who grew up in La Cañada and graduated from La Cañada High in 1989. "We've been at every level and kind of know what they're headed for."

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The Full Count Baseball Academy puts on baseball camps and offers individual or group/team lessons for players of all ages and skill levels. The academy is for more than just pitchers, too, even though Rusch and Whisenant both pitched.

Rusch works with the pitchers and Whisenant works with both pitchers and hitters. Angel Sanchez, a former minor leaguer, is also a hitting coach at Full Count. Through EM Speed and Power, a non-profit athletic training company with Pasadena ties, Full Count is able to offer speed and agility training and weight lifting specifically designed for baseball players.

"It's kind of an all-in-one type of service here," Whisenant said.

Brendon Shoemake, a 2011 La Cañada High graduate and All-Area and Rio Hondo League standout, spends Monday through Thursday, up to 10 hours a week, working out at the Full Count facilities.

"They have helped me out enormously in the past year," said Shoemake, who will be playing for UC Santa Barbara this year. "They are great mentors and they are just great guys."

Shoemake's been working on developing a new grip for his curveball at Full Count in order to improve it for the college level. He also takes batting practice and throws a bullpen session at the Full Count facilities two or three times a week. He said his velocity has also improved after working with them for about a year now.

"I feel like they have really helped me," Shoemake said. "I feel like I really am ready for college and without them I don't think I would be. Now I feel like I could just walk in there tomorrow."

That's music to Rusch's ears.

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