Bi­asi earns rookie honor

The Citizens' Voice - - Sports - BY DAVE SEAMON STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: sports@ cit­i­

HA­ZLE TWP. — If Sal Bi­asi was back in el­e­men­tary school and his teacher asked him to do an es­say about his sum­mer, he’d have plenty to write about.

From earn­ing All-Big Ten hon­ors at Penn State to get­ting drafted in the 11th round by the Kansas City Roy­als to be­ing named the or­ga­ni­za­ton’s Rookie Pitcher of the Year for his per­for­mance for the Burling­ton, North Carolina, team of the Ap­palachian League, the for­mer Ha­zle­ton Area High School two-sport stand­out en­joyed a sum­mer to re­mem­ber.

“There were def­i­nitely a ton of new ex­pe­ri­ences and new op­por­tu­ni­ties to take ad­van­tage of,’’ Bi­asi said. “I met a lot of great guys and de­vel­oped some new re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple.’’

Bi­asi was hon­ored Thurs­day as part of the Roy­als’ Fu­tures Night pro­gram at Kauff­man Sta­dium.

“Af­ter my last out­ing of the sea­son my pitch­ing coach said, ‘You’re most likely to win Rookie of the Year,’ ’’ Bi­asi said. “I won (the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s) Pitcher of the Week mul­ti­ple times and won the Pitcher of the Month (in Au­gust), so I knew win­ning (the award) was pos­si­ble . ... It should be a sweet cer­e­mony ... and a fun time.’’

In his first few months as a pro­fes­sional ballplayer, Bi­asi went 4-2 with a 2.41 ERA, 54 strike­outs and 23 walks as a pitcher with the Roy­als’ Rookie League teams in Ari­zona and North Carolina.

“Go­ing out there, I re­ally didn’t throw a change-up in col­lege and I threw tons of change-ups this sum­mer as the de­vel­op­men­tal part of pro ball,’’ he said. “I learned ... how to pitch to guys and ... about the game in gen­eral more and more.’’

Bi­asi added that work­ing as Penn State’s ace against Big Ten com­pe­ti­tion last spring pre­pared him for his first stint as a pro.

“The hard­est ad­just­ment was go­ing from a seven-day sched­ule to a five-day ro­ta­tion (sched­ule),’’ he ad­mit­ted. “It was mak­ing sure your arm was ready to go on that fifth day and go out and give your best stuff.’’

Used pri­mar­ily as a starter, Bi­asi al­lowed only 38 hits and 15 earned runs over his first 56 pro­fes­sional in­nings. Op­po­nents bat­ted just .190 against him.


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