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Newport Harbor’s Evan Langston, who turned from shredding to strikeouts, commits to Colorado Springs

Newport Harbor High senior baseball player Evan Langston has committed to University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Newport Harbor High senior baseball player Evan Langston has committed to University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

John Polovina played minor league baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals organization in the late 1960s before suffering a rotator cuff injury.

Today, it’s more difficult for Polovina to make it to a ballpark. The 71-year-old was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a few years ago.

Still, Polovina and his wife Kay are avid supporters of the Newport Harbor High School baseball team. This is especially true when their grandson, senior Evan Langston, is on the mound.

Evan’s mother, Cortney Polovina, said her father’s attendance at the field is helping to keep him actively engaged in life. “It’s pretty amazing to watch … [Newport Harbor] baseball literally keeps my dad alive.”

With COVID-19 numbers lessening in Orange County, Evan Langston and the rest of coach Evan Chalmers’ Sailors appear to be ready for a baseball season.

Evan recently got more good news that will make the whole family proud: The right-handed pitcher and outfielder has signed to play college baseball at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Newport Harbor High senior baseball player Evan Langston was once a top-level junior snowboarder.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the early cancellation of his junior season, Evan said he worked hard over the summer at Chapman Baseball Compound in Irvine to increase his velocity.

He knows that putting in time honing his skills is important. When he was younger, he was a top junior snowboarder in Mammoth. At age 11, he was ranked fifth nationally for his age group, he said, and he remains friends with big names in the sport like Dusty Henricksen and Judd Henkes.

"[Snowboarding] was so crazy,” Evan said. “I was going to get hurt, and baseball was my passion ... I’m just glad I got to snowboard in the beginning and then I was able to move down here. It’s the perfect kind of double life, almost.”

When it was time for him to start high school, Evan decided to leave mom Cortney and younger brother Jake in Mammoth and move to Newport Beach so he could live with his grandparents and pursue baseball. The move also afforded John Polovina more opportunities to see his grandson play.

“He loves to come watch and be a part of it,” Evan said of his grandfather. “Most stuff is pretty hard when you have Parkinson’s, but it gives him something he can do.”

Evan is going to Colorado Springs along with Sailors senior outfielder Kaden Stowell, who was a Daily Pilot Dream Team football selection last year as a junior safety.

Stowell’s father, Jim, played college baseball at Cal Poly Pomona with Colorado Springs coach Dave Hajek and put in a good word for Evan.

“I’m from Mammoth, and Colorado is a lot like Mammoth,” Evan Langston said. “It just feels like home to me.”

Of course, “home” is relative. Evan feels that way on the slopes at Mammoth, or on the sand at the beach.

Playing in front of his grandfather isn’t so bad, either.

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