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Dodgers visit school healing from shooting

@kengurnick
January 24, 2020

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- In back-to-back winters, the “Dodgers Love L.A. Community Tour” has included support stops in suburban areas rocked by tragic shootings. On Friday, the club caravan brought hope and healing to Saugus High School, where in November a teen shot and killed two schoolmates, then himself. A

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- In back-to-back winters, the “Dodgers Love L.A. Community Tour” has included support stops in suburban areas rocked by tragic shootings.

On Friday, the club caravan brought hope and healing to Saugus High School, where in November a teen shot and killed two schoolmates, then himself. A year ago, the team visited Thousand Oaks two months after the shooting deaths of 13 at the Borderline Bar & Grill.

“It was awesome to hear the kids fired up,” said Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. “Unfortunately, this is the second year in a row we’ve done an event like this coming after a shooting. So, although the reason for being here is not something we want, it has made for a couple really good events.

“For us to get out, visit kids and families, it’s been a really good experience. That’s what the community tour is for, to get out in the community, give back, create memories and experiences and take people’s minds off anything bothering them at the time.”

This one took place in the Saugus gym, packed with a school-wide turnout that served a dual purpose of pep rally for the upcoming Dodgers season and celebration for a student body, many wearing “Saugus Strong” T-shirts.

“The Dodgers came here today to let the kids know the Dodgers love them and we are with them and support them,” said Naomi Rodriguez, Dodgers vice president of external affairs. “These kids went through a tragedy, and we want them to know they are not alone.”

Two dozen Dodgers players turned out in jerseys and divided into four groups for a handful of competitions with students. They played Finish the Lyrics, Cap Shuffle and Carpet Scoot on the hardwood floor, with autographed baseballs going to the winning students.

“We were all talking, when we were in school we had pep rallies, cheerleaders doing a jig, maybe the mascot trying to dunk a ball, but this was cool to have almost the entire Dodgers roster out there,” said pitcher Ross Stripling.

From Saugus High School, the caravan continued to the Santa Clarita station of the Los Angeles County Sherriff for a barbecue lunch with first responders.

“God bless these people and what they do,” said infielder Gavin Lux.

“We’re definitely appreciative of the Dodgers coming out to this community, which was hit pretty hard by this tragedy,” said L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. “It was like a punch in the gut. The Dodgers outreach is so nice, the events they engage in. It tells you what a class act the organization is and what it means to Los Angeles County.”

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.