Trio of Baseball Players Earn NCCAA All-Region Honors
May 13, 2008
Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID
GREENVILLE, S.C.- With the regular and postseason now complete, the postseason accolades have begun to roll in for the Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team. The first of those accolades have come from the NCCAA as senior Zach Grau and juniors Joaquin Valdes and Buddy Fisher were recently named to the All-Region team.
A senior from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Grau rounded out his two-year career at PBA in fine fashion by leading the team in seven offensive categories including a .359 batting average while driving in 47 runs.
A versatile slugger who played five different positions during the 2008 season, Grau was a threat from just about anywhere that head coach Rob Avila placed the sweet-swinging lefty. Blessed not only with a quick bat but speed on the bases as well, Grau finished second on the team with 19 stolen bases while being caught just three times.
In the end, Grau cranked out eight homeruns, five triples, and led the squad with 105 total bases while slugging at a .571 clip and an on-base percentage of .435.
Many times playing across the diamond from Grau was junior Joaquin Valdes who started all 50 games for the Sailfish this season while manning either of the corner infield spots.
In his first season as a Sailfish after playing his first two collegiate campaigns at Broward Community College, Valdes finished just south of a .300 batting average while connecting for a team-leading 11 homeruns and 48 RBI’s. A consistent force in the lineup for the Fish, Valdes will be counted on even more next season as he headlines a solid group of returning players for the Fish.
Rounding out the all-region performers for PBA is right-handed pitcher Buddy Fisher. After sitting out all of last season with an arm injury, Fisher returned in 2008 to help lead a staff that was light on experience and years. By the end of the season Fisher was throwing perhaps his best baseball of the season and led PBA to their final victory over Chowan University in the NCCAA Regional opener.
Starting 11 games on the season, Fisher finished with a 5-4 record while tossing nearly 70 innings atop the hill for the Fish. Limiting his opponents to a .252 batting average, Fisher will hopefully return for his senior season next year with an even better record and help lead his young Sailfish teammates.