Wednesday Jun 27 2007
Eid put pop in Grizzlies' lineup
By: Austin Meek, The Press-Tribune
Senior slugger anchored Granite Bay's potent attack
This is a pitcher's town. At least that's the impression you might get from looking at the Press-Tribune All-Area baseball teams from recent years. For the last three seasons, the P-T Player of the Year has been a pitcher, with hurlers like Preston Guilment and Eric Berger headlining the list. But this season, the Player of the Year discussion centered on a pair of sluggers: Kyle Saukko and Derek Eid of Granite Bay. There's a solid case to be made for both players - Saukko hit .378, while Eid's batting average was a healthy .475. Saukko threw out four runners at the plate from right field, and Eid led all Roseville-area players with 27 RBI and 12 RBI. "Saukko's just a pure stud," Roseville coach Hank DeMello said. "Very few arms come around like he had this year - it was phenomenal to watch him throw from the outfield. "Eid? We just had trouble getting him out." The final statement seemed to be a common sentiment among area coaches. Eid might not have been the flashiest player on the field, but he was never an easy out. His discipline and consistency at the plate made him one of the most feared hitters in the Sierra Foothill League and, ultimately, the 2007 Press-Tribune All-Area Player of the Year. "(Saukko) is more of a 'wow' guy," Granite Bay coach Pat Esposito said. "Derek wasn't quite that way, but at the end of the season, he was the guy the junior colleges were drooling over. They wanted him. He's got the tools as he fills out physically." For his part, Eid didn't miss a beat in naming Saukko as his choice for Player of the Year. And while both players were deserving, Eid's numbers at the plate were just too good to ignore. The senior first baseman recorded 16 multi-hit games this season and batted nearly .600 during a 20-game tear during league play. Given the success of sluggers like Eid and Saukko, it's tempting to jump to conclusions and assume 2007 was a down year for pitching. Suggest that theory to area coaches, however, and you'll come away with a vastly different picture. "The pitching was really good all the way around," Woodcreek coach Jerry Rieger said. "Was there a guy that threw 90 mph like Guilment? No. But time and time again, you were facing guys that threw hard and changed speeds." But even with all the top-notch pitching, no one figured out how to stop Eid. And that's why, for one season at least, Roseville isn't just a pitcher's town anymore. Brian Rogers, Oakmont For Rogers, "speak softly and carry a big stick" are words to live by. The soft-spoken senior hit .375 this season, despite playing much of the year with a pulled groin muscle. Michael Marjama, Granite Bay The success of Eid and Saukko shouldn't overshadow what Marjama accomplished this season. The senior infielder hit .414 and struck out just three times in 109 plate appearances. Kyle Saukko, Granite Bay In addition to his success at the plate and in the field, Saukko also excelled as Granite Bay's closer. He recorded five saves and allowed just one earned run in 10 appearances. Toby DeMello, Roseville The junior catcher had a breakout season, hitting .373 with eight doubles and 12 RBI. DeMello also served as the signal-caller for the solid Roseville pitching staff. Andrew Lindner, Roseville Roseville coach Hank DeMello admitted he wasn't sure what to expect when he put Lindner in the outfield, but he had to be pleased with the results. The 6-foot, 220-pound slugger hit .356 with three home runs and a team-high 16 RBI. Derek Benny, Roseville With a fastball clocked in the low 90s, Benny might be the hardest thrower in the area. He posted a 6-3 record with a miniscule 1.04 ERA in 60 innings for the Tigers this season. Nick Ewing, Oakmont Ewing was a do-it-all player for Oakmont this season, leading the team in batting average (.390), RBI (15) and ERA (2.26). He was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 44th round of the recent MLB draft. Sean Harris, Woodcreek Harris was a triple threat, excelling on the mound (8-3 record, 2.25 ERA), in the field (0 errors) and at the plate (.318 average, three home runs). Ryan Rieger, Woodcreek Eid was the top first baseman in the area, but Rieger wasn't far behind. In addition to his .363 batting average, Rieger went 3-3 with a 2.84 ERA in 32 innings on the mound. Shaine Floodman, Granite Bay Floodman is one of three Granite Bay infielders earning All-Area honors. He was a dependable hitter all season for the Grizzlies, posting a .333 average with 17 RBI. Mike Nielebeck, Granite Bay Nielebeck's six victories tied for third in the SFL, and he posted a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 3-to-1. He also led the league with two complete-game shutouts.