Sox crowing over signings
By Matt O'Donnell/Appeal-Democrat
Darren Sack figures to ruffle some feathers at Bryant Field again this summer.
The Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox have signed the Sonoma State right-handed pitcher to a National Baseball Congress contract again, the amateur wood bat organization announced this week.
Sack, whose nickname is “The Rooster,” was one of four players whose contracts were returned to manager Brad Peek on Monday.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Sack was 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA for the Gold Sox last year. Sack was not only known for his hard fastball but slightly off-center and affable personality.
He's off to a strong start with the Seawolves with a 3-0 record and 3.46 ERA in 26 innings.
Peek said there is a possibility Sack will be drafted by a Big League organization.
“I think the chances are probably better than 50 percent,” Peek said. “I guess it also depends whether he gets drafted high enough and decides to sign.”
Sack's Sonoma State teammate, Tom Everidge, who also played for the Gold Sox last year, was also sent an NBC contract.
“I think he's even more likely to be drafted (than Sack),” Peek said.
Everidge is hitting .512 with five homers and 21 RBIs in the early season for Sonoma.
The other players signed are not exactly familiar names but do come from familiar places.
Peek signed Regis University of Denver teammates Mark Steinbeck and Eric Thompson, who are both juniors.
Steinbeck has played multiple positions for the Rangers, including second base, third base and left field.
“He can do just about anything,” Peek said. “I scouted a Regis and Grand Canyon game and he runs well and offensively, he can handle the bat well. He can bunt and hit and run.”
Steinbeck is hitting .351 in the early season for Regis, which plays in the hitter friendly Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
The 6-5, 225-pound Thompson is one of Regis' starting pitchers and figures to fill that role with the Gold Sox. He's 0-1 with a 8.74 ERA in three starts for the Rangers.
“He's not overpowering,” Peek said. “He throws in the 86 to 87 (mph) range, but he's got a pretty good curve ball and change-up.”
Yuba-Sutter featured Regis standouts, shortstop Chad Boyd, pitcher Fred Carney and outfielder Andy Newton last year. All of those players are seniors now. Newton and Boyd are currently hitting at .378 and .351 clips.
Outfielder Cameron Shick from New Mexico Highlands also signed. Shick is a left-handed hitting center fielder, although he'll likely play one of the corner outfield spots for Yuba-Sutter. Shick is from Napa and attended Santa Rosa Junior College.
He's hitting .400 (6-for-15) with two doubles and a homer in the early season.
“He didn't have a great junior college career but he had a really good fall and he's off to a good start in the spring,” Peek said. “He came highly regarded by their coach and I asked Bryan Fryer about him too.”
Fryer was Yuba-Sutter's second baseman last year and is now a senior.
New Mexico Highlands plays in the same conference as Regis.
“The coaches at those two schools are my good friends and I'd like to keep that pipeline going,” Peek said.
Appeal-Democrat assistant sports editor Matt O'Donnell can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.