Four former Long Beach City College Vikings are continuing their baseball dreams and are currently playing professionally in the minor leagues.
Viking alums Jonathan Keener, Lance Breedlove, Steven Gallardo, and Brian Compton are all playing in lower-level minor leagues with the hope of someday making it to "The Show."
"I'm really proud of the guys," said LBCC head coach Casey Crook. "I doubt in the history of the program we have ever had four guys playing pro ball at the same time. It just shows that with hard work and dedication, you can achieve your goals."
Keener (pictured, right) was a two-year standout at for the Vikings during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. As a sophomore, he was a second-team All-South Coast Conference selection. Following LBCC, Keener transferred to Cal State Dominguez Hills and earned All-California Collegiate Athletic Association honors and was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals following his junior season.
Keener began his professional career last summer (2011) with the Johnson City Cardinals. In 27 games, Keener had a .250 batting average with four homeruns and 12 RBI. Keener is off to an impressive start this season (2012) with the Batavia Muckdogs. In 17 games, he is batting .305 with three doubles, a triple, one homerun, and eight RBI.
Breedlove is beginning his first season in pro baseball with the State College Spikes this summer. He has pitched in 10 games this season and has allowed just four runs over 16 2/3 innings for a 2.16 earned run average.
At LBCC, Breedlove earned first-team All-SCC honors as a sophomore for the Vikings in 2010. Breedlove just wrapped up his senior season at Purdue University and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Breedlove earned second-team All-Big 10 Conference honors and was named to the Big 10 Conference All-Tournament team after helping lead Purdue to its first conference title since 1909. He also became the first Boilermaker to be named Big 10 Pitcher of the Week three times in a season.
Gallardo recently ended his sophomore season at LBCC this spring and closed his Viking career by throwing a 10-inning no hitter with 17 strikeouts. He was drafted by the Cardinals and is currently playing for the Johnson City Cardinals.
In two games for Johnson City, Gallardo has started twice and allowed three runs over six innings.
Compton recently signed a minor league contract with the Minnesota Twins and went 2 for 4 with a RBI in his pro debut for the Gulf Coast League Twins on July 26.
Compton was also a member of the 2010 Vikings before playing two seasons at Cal State LA (2011-12).
Photo: Jonathan Keener, playing for the Batavia Muckdogs, tags out State College Spike's D.J. Crumlich at the plate during a July 23, 2012 game. Photo by Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times