By Joe Davidson
Logan James recorded some strikeouts as the starter and even drove in the go-ahead run to put a stamp on Monday night's 3-2 Jesuit win over Davis at Raley Field.
But the senior ace with a pretty steady bat wasn't entirely satisfied. He wants to polish up his game on the mound, to become the sort of dominant pitcher that has scholarship destination in Stanford so eager to get him down to The Farm.
James delivered a sharp single to score two in the bottom of the fifth and his reliever mates denied Davis the sort of late-game rally that had come to define the team this early season.
James had five strikeouts in his three innings of pitching work but also walked four as he was equal parts dominant and a shaky with control. Marauders coach Joe Potulny pulled him with Davis up 2-1 off a George Hatamiya 2-run single in the top of the second and went with fellow lefties Max Eggleston and Gabe Araj to give them some work and to allow as many players the Raley experience before heading to the prestigious Lions Tournament in Anaheim - a five-game tour against power programs starting Saturday.
Potulny has challenged James to up his game, to be that national recruit leader, to perform at the level he and the pitcher himself expect.
"I can get better," James said. "Sometimes my leg kick is too far and it's pulling me, things like that. I can feel it."
As for the championship potential of Jesuit in general and the looming Anaheim event, James said, "definitely excited for that." Jesuit will be in a Delta River League that is again top heavy with Oak Ridge, Pleasant Grove and surging Sheldon, off to a school-record best 8-0 start.
Davis starter Matt Trask pitched admirably for 4 2/3 innings in starting opposite of James, a Davis resident who still keeps in touch with Blue Devils players, including ace Ben Eckels. Trask struck out Jesuit slugger Zach Green twice.
Monday was one of 24 high school games the River Cats are hosting in the franchise's continued effort to reach out to the community. Tony Asaro is the brain trust behind the high school programs competing at Raley, a baseball die hard who beams at how popular this has become. Players and coaches relish the Raley experience, naturally, and this showdown among rivals is a natural for such a venue.
Jesuit and Davis have combined to win eight Sac-Joaquin Section championships and both have the sort of teams to make another title run. What's more, Potulny and Davis coach Dan Ariola are two of the very best in the section. They are good friends.
"The feeling is that as long as Dan and I are coaching, we'll do this game and we'll do it here," Potulny said. "It's a god, playoff-type experience."
Davis needed late-game dramatics to beat Rocklin last week at Raley, trailing 6-0 and winning 7-6 in its final at-bat when Hatamiya scored the winning run when a throw to the plate bounced off his helmet. Hatamiya is one of the section's most versatile talents - a starting catcher who can play the field and pitch. The senior struck out two in one inning of relief against Jesuit
Louis Mejia , Josh Falco and Parker Abercrombie each had base hits for Jesuit.
Elk Grove and Rodriguez of Fairfield are scheduled to play at Raley on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. - rain permitting
Read Tuesday's Bee for the latest rankings and a story on teams believe in ambitious scheduling.