By John Philip Wyllie
While a handful of the county’s brightest prep athletes are chosen in the annual Major League Baseball draft every year, it is somewhat unusual to see two players selected from the same high school. Having been tabbed on day two of the 2003 draft, Eastlake High School teammates Eddie Solis and Francisco Mora hope to one day be facing each other under the bright lights of a major league ballpark.
“(Coming off of a CIF Player of the Year season in 2002), people were expecting Eddie to have a Ruthian year (in 2003),” explained Eastlake coach, Dave Gonzalez. “It just didn’t happen, but he still hit .411, had seven home runs and 30 RBIs. Our success coming down the stretch when we won 12 of our last 15 games, was in direct correlation to Eddie’s hot streak.”
Propelled by Solis’s hitting, the Titans won the Mesa League title and advanced all the way to the CIF semifinals where they fell to the eventual Division II winner, La Costa Canyon.
While Solis was busy supplying the offense, Mora the Titans ace, was on the mound mystifying batters with his blazing fastball and vicious curve.
“Francisco does it with absolute talent and an unbelievable curve ball,” Gonzalez said. “His fastball was clocked consistently at 87 (MPH) but it sometimes reached 89 or 90. In winter ball, he perfected his change-up and that helped immensely. Week after week our toughest game was the one that Francisco pitched.” As a result, his record (8-5) was not as impressive as it might have been had he been used again weaker competition. Facing many of the county’s top hitters he still managed to collect 104 strikeouts.
Solis was the 39th round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals while Mora was tabbed two rounds later by the Texas Rangers. While both players can expect signing offers of somewhere in the neighborhood of $40,000, they may instead exercise their option to attend college. Solis has already been offered a full-scholarship to join Tony Gwynn’s SDSU Aztecs.
“I told them to get a piece of paper, fold it in half and start writing down the pros and cons (of each option). They have to weigh the pros and cons with the realization that (because of the tremendous competition and limited number of jobs that) they are probably not going to make it to the big leagues. It’s a tremendous decision and one they and their families will have to make. I can only make suggestions,” Gonzalez said.
“Ever since I was a little kid I have been watching certain players. It has always been my dream to play Major League Baseball. It gives me goose bumps to think that that could be me one day,” Solis said.
While Solis and Mora have no doubt in what they eventually want to do, the question remains as to when they should begin pursuing it in earnest. “It’s a tough decision,” Solis said, “but whatever happens, happens for a reason.”