By Pete Chiodo
The Butler Blue Sox narrowly missed an opportunity to sweep the West Virginia Miners on Friday. The Blue Sox beat the Miners 5-0 the night before, but ended up falling to the West Virginia squad 5-3 yesterday during action in the Prospect League, a summer league for college baseball players.
Stephen Sada — who was the lead-off designated hitter for the Blue Sox last night — had barely knocked the dirt from Kelly Automotive Park off of his cleats when he politely returned a call to the Meadville Tribune.
Why are we bugging Sada on a game night?
Well, it’s because on Thursday the Saegertown High School product was recognized for the immediate impact he’s had on the college level.
The Collegiate Baseball Newspaper published its All-American lists on Friday. Sada was named to the 2014 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team for his first season of work as a second baseman with the Miami (Ohio) University RedHawks.
The Freshman All-American honor follows Sada’s second-team selection in the Mid-American Conference, which was announced in late May.
It would appear the former Panther standout has acclimated well to the college game.
“Yeah,” he said. “Starting off, I had to get used to the pace of the game. It was definitely sped up from high school. But after that I felt comfortable. I was seeing the ball well. I eventually got the timing down.”
Did he ever.
During his freshman campaign, Sada batted a solid .309 in 54 games. He drew a team-high 24 walks to finish with a .391 on-base percentage, second best on the squad. His 18 extra-base hits, 15 doubles and nine steals were also second-highest on the team. Sada also scored 29 runs while driving in 21. He also posted 14 multi-hit games while driving in at least two runs four times.
Furthermore, Sada was among the RedHawks’ most dangerous hitters during the MAC Tournament, batting a team-best .455 with two doubles.
The RedHawks finished the season on May 23 with a loss to Buffalo in the MAC Tournament. The RedHawks were 30-27 on the season.
There was more good news for the RedHawks on Friday, though, as their ace pitcher, Seth Varner, was selected in the 10th round (305th overall) of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft by the Cincinnati Reds.
“Varner, good for him,” Sada said. “He worked his tail off this year. I’m pretty excited for him. He definitely deserved it.”
Varner is a good example of the kind of pitching Sada went up against in his freshman season, just a year removed from competing in District 10’s Region 3. And, he admits, it was a little intimidating at first.
“Oh yeah, definitely,” he said. “Going from a small town to something like that, it’s much different. You’re seeing some of the best guys in the country, guys from Louisville, guys from Indiana. It definitely opened my eyes to what’s out there.”
Sada’s performance as a freshman apparently opened up some eyes as well.
“It was a good experience,” he said. “I’m excited for the next two years.”