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Brayton Signs With Division I Cal Poly Mustangs
Three years with the Escalon varsity baseball team as its starting catcher, two more playing at Modesto Junior College, Ross Brayton of Escalon is now poised to start the next phase of his career, catching for the Division I Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mustangs.

Brayton recently signed his letter of intent for Cal Poly, receiving a partial scholarship.

The 2006 Escalon High graduate - son of Bob and Linda Brayton - had interest from several schools.

"I had an offer from the University of Hawaii," he said, noting that they had wanted him to come and be a back up catcher.

Another offer, from Santa Clara, was to be a walk on.

Cal Poly had shown interest, he said, but got serious when they learned that Hawaii was on a short timeline, asking Brayton for an answer.

"My coaches at MJC called Cal Poly and said 'if you want him, get him down there' so I had a workout with them," Brayton explained, adding that Hawaii wanted an answer within a week, which also put Cal Poly on a short schedule.

After his workout with Cal Poly, seeing the school and meeting the coaches, Brayton opted to turn down the Hawaii offer for something closer to home ... and the chance to battle for the starting spot, not be relegated to back up duty.

"Just their coaching staff, how they acted, how they carried themselves," he said of what impressed him about the Cal Poly program. "Little things I was doing wrong when I was working out with them, they helped me correct them."

Starting baseball in Escalon's T-ball program, Brayton did coach pitch and moved up through the ranks, playing in the local rec program until his eighth grade year, when he got involved in some travel teams. That's also when he began catching.

At Escalon, he became starting catcher for the varsity squad during his sophomore season, playing for Bob Loureiro in his final year of coaching. Assistant at that time was Greg Largent, who moved into the head coaching post when Loureiro retired. Largent was head coach for Brayton during his junior and senior seasons.

"He's the ultimate worker," Largent said of Brayton. "The guy would finish practice, go home and polish up on his hitting skills, play catch, every Sunday he'd go for catching lessons."

Helping the Cougars win back-to-back league championships, Largent said Brayton played a key role and has also maintained a presence around the program, even since graduating.