Roseville's Guilmet on mound again to clinch second minor-league crown

Oakmont graduate closes Eastern League series for Double-A Akron Aeros
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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As Preston Guilmet moves further away from his days at Oakmont High School and closer to the parent Cleveland Indians, he’s learned a thing or two climbing each rung of the minor-league ladder:

“I’ve noticed you get away with fewer and fewer mistakes at each level,” he said this week. “It’s really being locked in on every pitch. I just fine-tune it a little more each year. There’s more focusing and more bearing down hitter to hitter.”

And, above all, avoid the bottom of a dog pile. Pummeled on the bottom of the pile when the Low-A Lake County Captains won the Midwest League championship in 2010, Guilmet was prepared when the Akron Aeros won the Double-A Eastern League pennant over the Trenton Thunder on Sept. 15 in Trenton, N.J.

“You know what, having the experience from 2010 definitely was fun there at the end,” Guilmet said. “I remembered to keep my body flat on the ground. I had my legs sticking up (in 2010), and I thought they were going to get snapped right off.”

Not this time. When Guilmet threw the final pitch that ended with a groundball to second and a 6-1 Aeros victory over the Thunder, the right-hander was able to avoid the celebratory smothering.

Of course, Akron nearly didn’t get to the final series. The Aeros lost the first two games against the Bowie (Md.) Baysox, then rebounded to win the next three.

“Once you get to the playoffs, a marathon season turns into a sprint,” Guilmet said. “We were looking at being knocked out, and we came to Akron for the last three.

“We decided to have fun. We won the first one, then won the next two. We got on track, the team picked up some momentum. It really is about getting hot at the right time.”

Guilmet ended 2012 with a 2-2 record and a 2.39 earned-run average. He tied for the Eastern League lead with 24 saves and struck out 51 with 13 walks in 52 2/3 innings.

That followed a 2011 season in which Guilmet led the Carolina League with 35 saves and had a 2.15 ERA. His big season brought him to Modesto for the California-Carolina League All-Star Game.

For now, Guilmet will be in Roseville visiting family and friends. As for next season, Guilmet said he has no idea what to expect from the Indians.

“That stuff all gets kinda panned out in spring training,” he said.

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