Salazar has predraft workout with Braves, Giants next

Kerman High pitcher Carlos Salazar flew across country and back all within a 24-hour span to throw 24 pitches before the Atlanta Braves brain trust.

Salazar, a potential first or second-round pick for next week’s MLB Amateur Draft, was among 20 to 25 players who were invited to Atlanta for a pre-draft workout with the Braves on Tuesday morning.

Salazar’s fastball registered as fast as 93 mph, though he’s thrown as fast as 98 during the season, according to Lions coach Jay Preuss.

The Braves have taken a keen interest in Salazar all year, following him throughout his senior season with as many as three scouts.

“They said they really liked what they saw,” said Preuss, who also flew to Atlanta for Salazar’s workout. Unlike Salazar, though, Preuss’ trip was not paid for by the Braves.

“It was about 6 in the morning California time when he was throwing for them, so he wasn’t at his very best; he wasn’t as alert as he’d usually be,” Preuss added. “I spoke to their West Coast cross checker, talked to the assistant GM. They’re very interested in Carlos.”

The Braves aren’t the only ones.

Salazar, who signed with Fresno State, is scheduled to next pitch before San Francisco Giants personnel at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at AT&T Park.

The Milwaukee Brewers also offered to fly out Salazar for a pre-draft workout, but he declined since it conflicted with Kerman’s graduation Thursday.

Nonetheless, Salazar appears to be leaning heavily on going pro and bypassing college baseball.

“They’ll wait till they have to make that decision sometime after the draft,” Preuss said. “If he’s drafted in the first day, I don’t think he’ll be a Bulldog.”

Salazar finished this past season at 10-2 with a 0.09 ERA and struck out 147 in 44 1/3 innings. He was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year for baseball on Tuesday.

Power-hitting duo leads Selma into Kerman Easter Softball Classic

Behind the slugging duo of Stephanie Cantu (.421, 2 HRs) and Emery Green (.417, 2 HRs), Selma High rides into the Kerman Easter Softball Classic with with a tournament-best 8-2 record.

The 14-team tournament — which starts Saturday and continues Monday and Tuesday — also includes host and defending champion Kerman, as well as Fresno, Coalinga, Sanger, Edison (tournament runner-up last year), Madera South, McLane, Riverdale, Sierra, Corcoran, Sunnyside, Tranquillity and Firebaugh.

The teams are grouped into pools, with Sanger, Coalinga, Sunnyside, Selma, Madera South, Edison and McLane in one, and Kerman, Sierra, Corcoran, Tranquillity, Firebaugh, Riverdale and Fresno in the other.

Saturday’s schedule:
10 a.m.: Coalinga vs. Sanger, Field 1; Edison vs. Madera South, F2; McLane vs. Selma, F3; Riverdale vs. Sierra, F4
12 p.m.: Corcoran vs. Fresno, F1; Sunnyside vs. Edison, F2; Madera South vs. Selma, F3; Riverdale vs. Tranquillity, F4
2 p.m.: Kerman vs. Sierra, F1; Fresno vs. Firebaugh, F2; McLane vs. Sanger, F3; Coalinga vs. Sunnyside, F4
4 p.m.: Kerman vs. Corcoran, F1; Firebaugh vs. Tranquillity, F2

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Bullard’s Pacheco, Central’s Rodriguez earn Grizzlies Hot Stove awards

Central’s Rachel Rodriguez. (GARY KAZANJIAN/THE FRESNO BEE)

Niko Pacheco of Bullard and Rachel Rodriguez from Central will be honored Thursday as the prep baseball and softball players of the year at the Fresno Grizzlies’ 52nd Anniversary Hot Stove Gala.

The Kerman baseball squad is the team of the year and the Lions’ Jay Preuss is coach of the year.

The Al Radka Award winner also will be announced during the Hot Stove Gala at the Fresno Convention Center in downtown Fresno. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

The gala features  guest speakers Ryan Vogelsong of the San Francisco Giants and former Fresno State star Doug Fister of the Detroit Tigers.

As juniors last spring, Pacheco and Rodriguez helped lead their respective teams to Central Section D-I titles. Preuss’ Kerman team won the D-IV baseball title.