Will there be another Sandberg out of Spokane to one day play in the major leagues?
Ferris sophomore pitching and hitting sensation Eric Sandberg - no relation to Ryne - isn’t thinking about the major leagues right now.
Instead, Sandberg is getting geared up for the Greater Spokane League district playoffs just a couple of weeks away.
“All I’m thinking about is doing what I can to help the team win,” Sandberg said.
If he keeps on playing the way he has recently, winning may just come naturally for Ferris.
It may seem unlikely that the most dominant player on the Saxons’ lineup is so young. But then again, maybe Eric’s baseball background has prepared him for this.
Before he could stand, Eric’s father sat him on the ground and sent a bouncing line drive at Eric. It proceeded to take a bad hop and hit him in the face.
After that, though, at the insistence of Mrs. Sandberg, Mr. Sandberg had to wait a few years before hitting choppers at Eric again.
Sandberg’s presence is on the heels of the departure three years ago of Matt Sachse, who played for Ferris from 1990-93 before being drafted by the Seattle Mariners.
According to Ferris coach John Thacker, there is no comparison between the two.
“At least as far as numbers go, Eric has already eclipsed what Matt was doing when he was that age,” Thacker said. “And physically, Matt was fairly thin and not as developed.”
In Thacker’s more than two decades as Ferris head coach, Sandberg was the first freshman to play with the varsity.
Sachse, who was also a lefty pitcher in high school, graduated at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds. Sandberg is 6-0, 195.
Sachse won the GSL’s triple crown as a senior. Sandberg may get it this year.
Going into this week, Sandberg is tied for second in league batting with a .500 average, leads the league in home runs (five) and is tops in runs batted in (21).
In two games this week, he’s 4 for 6 with two homers and five RBIs.
On the mound, Sandberg has the eighth-best earned run average in the league at 3.06. He leads the GSL in strikeouts with 52. The closest player to him in that category is 18 strikeouts away.
As far as Thacker can tell, the sophomore seems to be pretty unassuming about what he has done this year.
“His demeanor is pretty laid back and he works hard in practice,” Thacker said. “Everything that’s been presented in front of him so far, he’s handled very well.”
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