By Joe Davidson
It's a good thing there are extra playoff berths handed out this baseball season. The teams are that closely bunched together.
Today, Davis High School ace Ben Eckels struck out 16 in a 3-1 victory over host Franklin to lock up second place in the Delta Valley Conference behind Elk Grove
Blue Devils coach Dan Ariola said his standout junior "was outstanding." The veteran coach said the strikeouts are likely a 7-inning school record then cracked that he had 17 strikeouts as a Davis senior in 1981 when he fashioned a 6-1 record, all the more to keep Eckels hungry to up his personal best.
Davis will now play Oak Ridge in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoff opener on May 20 at American River College. Napa, third place finisher in the Monticello Empire League, plays at Franklin in a play-in game Monday, with that winner playing Jesuit on Thursday at ARC at 4 p.m.
Elk Grove, top-ranked by The Bee, opens defense of the D-I North title against Vacaville on May 20 at ARC.
In another Thursday opener, MEL champion Armijo plays Pleasant Grove at 7 p.m.
Also today, Rocklin locked up the Sierra Foothill League with Roseville taking second and Woodcreek third. All three advance to the D-II playoffs that start Monday at Sacramento City College.