Baseball with purpose - and for a purpose - was the theme of the day at Sacramento City College on Saturday.
The Fourth Annual Albie Swingin' for Life breast cancer benefit featured four games, eight teams and varying emotions. Scores of people were on hand who know someone who has been afflicted with cancer or lost someone. Umpires wore pink and donated their time. Players had pink wrist bands and ran on pink bases.
Proud survivors threw out a first pitch before each game. One was Caryn Carlson, wife of Elk Grove High School coach Jeff Carlson. For the third Albie event in a row, she fired a first pitch, then radiated with good cheer the rest of the afternoon, selling raffle tickets, offering high fives and hugs.
Missy Maxin and Andrea Wickstrom also threw out first pitches with Caryn Carlson. Both admitted to having a fit of nerves with clammy, cold hands. Replied Caryn in a calming, yet emphatic tone, "You're a breast-cancer survivor! Throwing out a first pitch is the fun part!"
Jesuit was the host school of the event with athletic director Chris Fahey the event coordinator. Scores of players wearing Albie T-shirts approached Fahey throughout the day to thank him for the invite and experience. He thanked them right back for their participation and effort.
A closer look at the games:
* Franklin 13, Antelope 3 - The Wildcats of Elk Grove smashed 11 hits against the Titans in five innings, highlighted by a 10-run fourth inning.
Alberto Rojas and Tyler Blake each had two RBI for Franklin. Josh Pigg had three hits and three RBI and Kyle Von Ruden had two hits for the Wildcats. Trent Spallas earned the win to improve to 4-1. With Blake earning the first complete-game win of his career on Friday with a 4-0 win over Grant, the Wildcats are poised for a playoff march down the stretch.
A Monday win against Grant secures at least a playoff berth for Franklin with Davis and Elk Grove also battling for Delta Valley Conference honors. The Division I playoffs will include Jesuit, Davis, Elk Grove, Oak Ridge, Pleasant Grove and Franklin all in the North. St. Mary's of Stockton, the two-time defending large-school champion, looms in the South.
* Oak Ridge 7, Roseville 6 - The Trojans of El Dorado Hills scored five runs in the fifth inning and won it on a Mason Watkins two-out, walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Oak Ridge leadoff man Alec de Watteville had a double and triple, Zack Mahon had a triple, and Logan Marston and Cody Uharriet each had doubles. Dylan McBride and Mark Reece each doubled for Roseville, which won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship on this very field a year ago.
Oak Ridge coach Todd Melton said his team is rounding back into form after enduring agonizingly tough series against Jesuit and Pleasant Grove in the Delta River League and then getting past Sheldon. Only a collapse from here would prevent the Trojans from reaching the postseason. Oak Ridge reached the Division I North finals last season and has the pitching and hitting for a return trip.
* Elk Grove 17, Pioneer 7 - The Thundering Herd scored five runs in the second inning, eight in the fourth and four in the sixth to beat the Patriots of Woodland.
Elk Grove slugger Rowdy Tellez had five RBI, including a three-run triple in the bottom of the sixth to end it, per the mercy rule when a team leads by 10 or more after at least five complete innings. Herd freshman infielder Nick Madrigal had four hits and two RBI, Derek Hill had two hits and three RBI, David Smith had two hits and Michael Wright drove in two.
The Thundering Herd is battling Davis and Franklin for Delta Valley Conference top honors. How many teams in Northern California can match Elk Grove's offensive clout with Tellez and Nunez, the versatile junior lead off hitter?
Pioneer earlier this season beat Jesuit in a nonleague game when the Marauders started ace Logan James. The Patriots certainly loom as a threat in the Division III playoffs.
* Jesuit 6, Christian Brothers 5 - Josh Falco doubled, advanced to third on a hidden-ball trick that was resulted in a balk and scored on a sharp single by Andre Gregory in the top of the ninth inning to lift the Marauders in the nightcap.
CBS loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth before Max Eggleston struck out the final two batters to seal it.
Louis Mejia had four hits, including a double, and Lorenzo Arcuri had two RBI for Jesuit, the top-ranked team by The Bee.
Hunter Dodson had four hits for CBS and Jeff Johnson and Jared Cottini combined for four hits for CBS, which is in a three-way tie for second place in the Capital Valley Conference with Oakmont and Del Campo behind Bella Vista.
Jesuit and Pleasant Grove are tied for first in the Delta River League with both teams facing each other in a three-game series to close out the regular season starting May 7.
* Other breast-cancer survivors who threw out a first pitch included: Tina Machua, Tami Jones, Cheri Person, Thelma Lazano, Patricia Nannini, Dianna La Motta, Maureen Feirera, Noelle Malone, Michele Muinn, Ellen Grant and Sandra Cummings, the grandmother of Jesuit catcher Jordan Hanlin.
- By Joe Davidson
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson. Listen to radio link on www.espn1320.net
Bee file photo of Rowdy Tellez by Andy Alfaro