Tuesday May 27 2008
Winning line up
Baseball is all in the family
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
Five brothers each play in different league division
Baseball is all in the family for the DeGan clan of Loomis. Five brothers, ranging in age from 6 to 13, along with their parents, Robert and Sue DeGan, “live, eat and breathe baseball.” They’re at the ball fields seven days a week during the season, according to Sue DeGan, a part-time physical therapy assistant at Sutter Roseville Hospital. “I feel like I should just park a trailer here,” she said in explaining how often she is at the ball fields at Loomis Park. Each of the boys is in one of the five divisions of Golden Eagle Pony Baseball. Their dad coaches a team and serves on the board as an age group vice president, while Sue is the league uniform coordinator. Ferrying the boys between their practices and games keeps Sue DeGan very busy and sometimes dinner is from the league snack bar or a meal cooked at home and served al fresco at the field. With five boys playing there are sure to be game scheduling conflicts. “Having three games at the same time is normal,” Sue DeGan said. She even admitted that on occasion, all of their games are at the same time. “I walk between the fields to see their games. But it’s pretty rare that I get to see a whole game,” she said. Sue DeGan said she could not get all the boys where they need to be if not for the help of friends and other families. “I have my ‘village’ of support in Loomis,” she said. Robert DeGan spends his spring immersed in baseball when he is not at his job managing a credit union call center. Besides serving on the board, he also coaches his oldest son’s team. Robert and Sue DeGan grew up in Citrus Heights and were high school sweethearts. They’ve been together for 21 years. Robert DeGan played baseball in high school and was a pitcher and outfielder for St. Ambrose University in Iowa. Sue DeGan said her husband is always outside with the boys throwing some type of ball, depending on which sport they’re playing. He’ll also work with his boys on pitching or hitting and they play a lot of whiffle ball. “It beats the alternative of them sitting around playing video games or watching TV. They don’t have time for it,” Robert DeGan said. Robert DeGan said that his boys will drive how long they play. He said it’s up to each of them if they want to pursue it into high school. “I do my best not to live through them. I played. I had my time. This is for them. They want to do it,” he said. The DeGan boys are all students at Franklin Elementary School. The youngest is kindergartener Dyden, 6, who plays t-ball for the Bats in the Shetland division. His oldest brother, Dakota, often spends time working with Dryden on his baseball skills. Their brother Dodger, 8, a second-grader, has played for four years and is a pitcher for the Pinto division Red Wings. Third-grader Darby, 9, plays second base for the Express, the first-place team in the Mustang division. He said baseball is his favorite sport. “It has more action. When you’re batting no one is helping you. It’s just you,” he said. Dallas, 11, is in fifth grade and plays second base for the Bronco division Red Sox. “I like baseball because I get to see my friends a lot. I’m pretty good at second base and pitcher,” he said. Thirteen-year-old Dakota, a seventh-grader, plays on the Yankees in the Pony division as a second baseman. He’s been playing for nine years and also runs cross country. Dakota said he likes playing defense best and his favorite professional team is the New York Yankees. Coincidentally, that’s his dad’s favorite team, too. Three of the brothers – Darby, Dallas and Dakota – play in different age groups on the Pirates, a traveling team affiliated with the league that plays on Sundays. Their mom does admit that sometimes the hectic baseball schedule can be exhausting, especially on the days she works, but she said it’s worth it. “We love it, at the same time they love it,” Sue DeGan said.