By Bill Paterson
If there is a key reason why Rio Americano won its first Capital Athletic League baseball title in 10 years, coach James Wheeler probably would point to junior second baseman Kenny Moulton, who he calls "the sparkplug."
Moulton led the No. 13 Raiders (17-9, 12-3) in hitting with a .439 average. He twice had game-winning hits against No. 16 Bella Vista (16-11, 11-4), the team that finished one game behind the Raiders.
He drove in 25 runs and made just two errors, none in league.
But the Raiders were by no means a one-man team.
Players such as sophomore Sutter McLoughlin (.377, 26 RBI), senior Andy Bissell (.373, 20 RBI), junior Kyle Sheely (.348, 17 RBI) and sophomore Alex Mugnaini (.321, 12 RBI) helped Rio Americano bat a collective .318.
Freshman phenom Guillermo Salazar (6-1, 1.81 ERA) was a standout on the mound while senior Thomas Hemington (4-4, 2.88 ERA) and Sheely (3-0, 2.22 ERA) also pitched well.
Rio Americano will open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs 7 p.m. next Thursday at Dan McAuliffe Memorial Park near Sacramento State. The Raiders will play the second-place finisher from the Solano County Athletic Conference.