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Rudelson Finds Cast to Play Ball at College

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

The producers of the film “Bull Durham” dispelled a Hollywood myth last summer by proving that baseball and the movies could combine to produce a hit.

Aaron Rudelson, 18, a former All-Southern Section pitcher at Highland Hall High, is out to prove the same thing at Hampshire College, a 1,200-student school in Amherst, Mass.

Rudelson, along with 2 freshman classmates, recently was awarded funding to establish a baseball program at Hampshire, which has no NCAA or NAIA affiliation and is best known, athletically, for its Ultimate Frisbee team.

“It was a sad moment when the final out was recorded in my last high school game,” said Rudelson, whose Highland Hall team was eliminated in the first round of the Small Schools Division baseball playoffs. “I had to choose between baseball and getting a diverse education and following some other very serious interests.”

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Rudelson, the son of a screenwriter father and actress-producer mother, decided long ago that his future was in film making. His course load at Hampshire College includes “Critical Issues in Film” and “Script Writing.”

And although he is in his first semester at the school, Rudelson already has demonstrated a knack for one of the keys to success in Hollywood--the art of making a deal.

“Based on my meeting with them, I think they have a good chance of success just based on their commitment,” Hampshire Athletic Director Dennis Jackson said of Rudelson and his partners. “They had an excellent proposal and they were conscientious and dependable about coming up with details.”

Rudelson conceived the idea of starting a competitive baseball program after playing stickball--using a tennis ball and a broomstick--with 2 other students.

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The trio put up posters around campus to gauge interest and received replies from 16 would-be ballplayers.

The self-coached team probably will play as many as 10 games this spring against junior college teams, with more games added each year.

“I’m looking forward to baseball season,” Rudelson said. “It’s one that I thought was going to be the most depressing. Now it looks like it might be the most exciting.”


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