All American Game : : Story
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sabol follows strict diet to Aflac game

Jim Ecker        
Stefan Sabol hasn’t had a sip of soda in several years. He might eat a potato chip from time to time, but not often. He works out religiously, lifting weights, and takes great pride in being physically fit. But don’t get the wrong idea. He wasn’t always this particular, contrary to published reports.

“I drank soda when I was a younger kid and I was a junk-food type kid,” he confessed, “but now I’m staying away from that kind of stuff.”

There have been published reports that Sabol’s never had a soda and never had any chips. Never, in his entire life. Those reports stretched the truth.

“I’ve had a potato chip before. I had one the other night. I don’t know where that one came from,” he said, laughing. “But the soda is accurate. I don’t drink soda anymore. And as far as food, I try to stay away from the greasy stuff, but I’ll have it every now and then. I’m a teenage guy, so it happens once in a while.”

Sabol has built himself into a healthy 6-foot-2, 205-pound catcher and outfielder with a 3.77 GPA at Aliso Niguel (Calif.) High School. He’s heading to San Diego this week for the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic, to be played Sunday at PETCO Park.

Sabol said he drank soda “all the time” when he was younger, but changed his diet when he got to high school. His father helped steer him to a better routine, saying he’d need to get away from junk food at some point. The adjustment came easily, he said.

“It didn’t really bother me too much to get away from the soda,” he said.

Sabol drinks water, vitamin water and juices now. “You just have a lot more energy,” he said. “There’s none of that caffeine stuff that gives you a crash later with the sugar.”

Sabol’s diet and physical regimen undoubtedly played a role in his impressive performance on the SPARQ test at the Area Code Games in California this month. He posted the No.1 score among the 159 players who were tested.

“I was surprised at first, because I thought there would be some beast out there or something who would come up with a ridiculous score,” he said. “But I guess my score was one of the highest in a long time. I was really excited when I heard my score.”

As it turns out, Sabol was the beast. He posted an 80.87 on the SPARQ test, which stands for Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness. He was clocked in 6.28 seconds in the 60-yard dash, which is a tremendous time for a catcher.

“It surprised me at first,” he said. “I’ve never even gone close to that before. I’ve gone in the 6.5s, but that was the closest.”

He also leaped 36.2 inches in the vertical jump, getting more than 3 feet off the ground. “I probably got that from playing basketball,” he said.

Sabol’s other impressive stat is his 3.77 GPA in the classroom. Good grades used to come easily, he said, but classes got a lot tougher after his freshman year in high school. “The sophomore year I had to start trying a lot harder and start studying a lot harder than I used to,” he said. “Last year and the year before, I really had to work hard to get my grades up.”

Sabol has committed to playing college baseball at the University of Oregon, pending the 2010 draft. For now, he’s looking forward to the Aflac game in San Diego.

“I feel it’s a big honor,” he said. “It’s like a uniting of the best players around the country and it’s a big honor to be around them and play with them. It’s going to be really fun.”

Just don’t offer him any potato chips or pop.
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