Outstanding Pitcher: Carlos Salazar
One for history: Overcame major mechanical flaws early in his career to develop into a 27-3 pitcher whose major league-quality power — a fastball up to 98 mph — will live long in the lore of Central Section baseball. A third-round selection of the Atlanta Braves, his 0.09 ERA this season (one earned run, 74 innings) is a section record, according to section historian Bob Barnett. And his 364 career strikeouts are No. 10 in the section. This season, he went 10-2, striking out 147 and giving up only 22 hits. Playing for a Division IV team, he gave up three hits and struck out 13 in 61/3 innings in a 1-0 loss to perennial D-I power Clovis at the Fresno Easter Classic.
The golden egg: "It's going to be amazing to look back because not many coaches anywhere can say they had the opportunity to coach that ability. It was fun, but it was also nerve-racking. You're handed this egg, and you can't drop it for four years. You don't want to break it. You know what's there and what's at stake. You want to make sure to get him to the next level, and safely. That was tough to manage, and there was lot of pressure." — Lions coach Jay Preuss