Their Major League careers shared many parallels, nearly overlapping, but rarely intersecting. Ironically, it took one blurry eyed morning at Saint Stephen’s for Scott Sauerbeck and Scott Eyre to make the connection that has led them to their seats in the Falcons dugout.
“There weren’t that many left-handed relievers, so we knew of each other and played against each other,” Sauerbeck said.
“But I think we actually met – half asleep – on the Lower School playground when we were dropping off our kids one day,” Eyre added.
Now more than five years on from that meeting, the pair are fixtures on the bench for the Falcons. They bring to Saint Stephen’s a level of experience that few high school baseball programs can claim. Between them, Sauerbeck and Eyre boast 20 seasons of Major League service, more than 1,000 innings on the mound, and a World Series ring.
Sauerbeck made his Major League debut in 1999 and spent his first four and a half seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates before being traded to the Boston Red Sox during the 2003 campaign. He also pitched for the Cleveland Indians and Oakland A’s prior to retiring in 2008. Sauerbeck was a workhorse out of the bullpen during his career, appearing in 471 games, compiling a 20-17 record, 3.82 ERA, and averaging more than a strikeout per inning pitched.
Eyre played 13 seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Philadelphia Phillies. The quirky left-hander made 617 big league appearances, which included leading the majors with 86 in relief for the Giants in 2005. Between the 2007-08 seasons, he set a Cubs franchise record that still stands by pitching in 33 straight games without allowing an earned run. Eyre was traded to the Phillies midway through 2008, and his season included making two relief appearances in the team’s World Series victory against the Tampa Bay Rays. He retired the following year with a 4.23 earned run average and 28-30 career record in 649.1 innings pitched.
The building process has been steady for Sauerbeck and Eyre during their tenure at Saint Stephen’s. After an overmatched 2015 in which they went 4-21, the Falcons have finished 15-11 and 15-10 the past two seasons.
Every starter returns in 2018 and the team will lean heavily on senior All-Area starting pitcher Niko Piccolo (8-2, 1.81 ERA), junior shortstop Mike Madigan (.338, 20 RBI), and junior catcher Ben Tobio (.324). Jacob Eyre should be the regular No. 2 starter after a solid sophomore campaign (3-1, 1.30 ERA) and the everyday lineup returns plenty of experience. Outfielders Jackson Sauerbeck, Wyatt Sevin and Ben Schnur, second baseman Devin Guzman, third baseman Ross Springstead, and first baseman Max Runde, all made 19 or more starts a season ago. If the Falcons continue their trajectory of the past few years, they should contend for a district championship.
Baseball is FHSAA sanctioned and is a spring season sport.