April 30, 2012
Alexis Cooper leads Sheldon past Elk Grove 4-3 in softball

Sheldon's Alexis Cooper went four for four with a double, scattered four hits and overcame five Huskies errors as No. 9 Sheldon defeated No. 7 Elk Grove 4-3 in a nonleague softball game today at Elk Grove.

Sheldon had 10 hits, including a triple by MeShalon Moore. Cooper is headed to Arizona State; Moore to UC Santa Barbara.

The game was a rain-postponed matchup of last year's two Sac-Joaquin Section Division I finalists.

April 30, 2012
Brittany Shine of Sacramento High School transfers from Florida to Cal

shine.jpgBrittany Shine is headed West.

The former Bee Basketball Player of the Year out of Sacramento High School who played her first two collegiate seasons at Florida announced Monday evening the news that she has accepted a scholarship to Cal, making her transfer to the Pacific-12 Conference official. Shine also considered Washington and UNLV, among others.

A 5-foot-7 combo guard with myriad skills and just as much personality, Shine said she enjoyed her experiences at Florida but longed to be near home. She said she is especially excited to be able to compete in front of her mother, Shelia Haney, father Brian Shine, aunt Karin Shine and grandparents Rosa and Henry Haney and scores of other family, friends and former teammates and coaches such as Michele Massari, her Sac High coach.

"It's a positive move from Florida,and I just felt like I was really missing home and ready for a change," Shine said by phone. "Cal is the perfect place for me. It's a great school and I can play in front of my family. I went across the country, to Florida, branched out and gave a shot. Florida was fun. I learned, matured."

Shine said the only downer about the move to Berkeley is she will have to sit out a year, per NCAA Division I transfer rules.

"That'll be tough because I love to play but I'll work on my three-point shot, get quicker," said Shine, a communications major.
- By Joe Davidson
On Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

April 30, 2012
Cal sweeps UCLA in rematch of former Elk Grove softball stars

In a series that included a rematch of former Elk Grove-area softball stars, top-ranked Cal swept No. 14 UCLA in three games over the weekend in Berkeley.

Former Sheldon pitching star Jolene Henderson won two games and saved another as the Golden Bears climbed to 45-3 overall and 16-2 in the Pacific 12. UCLA fell to 33-15 overall and 9-9 in conference.

Henderson, a junior, went the distance and also drove in two runs in Sunday's 10-3 win as she upped her record to 26-1 with 1.12 ERA. On Saturday she earned a save with two innings of relief in Cal's 8-0, six-inning win. On Friday she struck out nine and allowed three hits in pitching the Golden Bears' to a 3-0 win.

April 30, 2012
Granite Bay wins golf tiebreaker over Del Oro at Cal Invitational

In perhaps a preview of what's ahead for the upcoming Sac-Joaquin Section divisional and Masters tournaments, Granite Bay and Del Oro carried their high-level rivalry to the Plumas Pines Golf Resort on Saturday in Graeagle.

The two Sierra Foothill League teams posted scores of 378 at the 15th annual Cal tournament.

Granite Bay won the title on a tie-breaker while two other SFL teams, Woodcreek (389) and Rocklin (397), placed third and sixth, respectively.

Woodcreek's Bryce Johnson was medalist with a two-under-par 70. Granite Bay's Alex Gibbs and Christian Brothers' Hunter Rappleye each shot 71s. Del Oro's Austin Smotherman and Woodcreek's Lee Gearhart both shot 72s.

Last year, Del Oro won the Masters title and Granite Bay the D-II section title where Smotherman and Gearhart were co-medalists.

All will duel again at the D-II sectionals May 8 at Rancho Murieta. The Masters is May 14 at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton.

The 18-team Cal tournament, which included four schools from Nevada, is considered one of the top prep golf events in the western United States, according to organizer John Davis.

Past participants have included current PGA pros Nick Whatney and Spencer Levin.

April 28, 2012
Monterey Trail's Higgwe is star of stars at Meet of Champions

Esther Higgwe hopes to use track and field as a springboard to bigger things.


Her goal is to earn a college scholarship, become a pediatrician and return to her native Nigeria to open a hospital.

The Monterey Trail High School senior sprinter's performance in Saturday's star-studded 32nd annual Sacramento Meet of Champions at American River College can only help.

Higgwe won the girls 100- and 200-meter races and anchored Monterey Trail's winning 4x100 relay to win the Girls Track Athlete of the Meet award.

April 28, 2012
Jesuit, Franklin, Elk Grove, Oak Ridge win Albie Swing for Cure baseball showcase games

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

April 28, 2012
Isaiah Frey of Jesuit and Nevada is drafted in 5th round by Chicago Bears

Isaiah Frey did a bit of everything while at Jesuit High School. Running back, kick returner, defensive back.

He went to Nevada to help shore up the defense and became a three-year starter in the secondary and played on returns.

On Saturday, Frey's body of work and potential resulted in a sixth-round NFL Draft selection to the Chicago Bears, where he will play on a defensive unit that includes six-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs of Elk Grove.

Frey wasn't invited to the NFL Combine, but he was clearly on the NFL radar with scores of teams talking to him. The Detroit Lions worked him out last week.

- By Joe Davidson
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

2007 Bee file photo by Randall Benton

April 28, 2012
Asa Jackson of Christian Brothers/Cal Poly picked in 5th round of NFL Draft

Asa Jackson expected to go in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft, and true to form, the cornerback from Christian Brothers High School and Cal Poly was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round on Saturday.

Jackson was a four-time All-Great West Conference pick who also excelled on kickoff and punt returns. Jackson was in the Greenhaven home of his parents when he got the draft call. Earlier this week, Jackson said he grew up watching the NFL Draft and fantasized about a Mel Kiper Jr. breakdown. Kiper on Saturday said Jackson has "terrific upside."

In Baltimore, Jackson will get to learn under Ed Reed, considered an all-time NFL great defensive back.

Also Saturday, former Vacaville and Oregon Ducks linebacker Josh Kaddu went in the fifth round to the Miami Dolphins.

- By Joe Davidson
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

April 28, 2012
Granite Bay High buddies Devon Wylie, Miles Burris picked in 4th round of NFL Draft

They grew up buddies with a football pact: see you on the same side in high school, maybe face off against you in college and meet up again in the NFL.

On Saturday morning within minutes of each other, two Granite Bay High School standouts from yesteryear were picked in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.

Linebacker Miles Burris of San Diego State went to the Oakland Raiders and receiver Devon Wylie of Fresno State was picked by the Kansas City Chiefs. Now they may indeed face off as these franchises mark one of football's longest standing rivalries.

Burris was a weight-room fanatic at Granite Bay where he played for coach Ernie Cooper and he set school tackling records. He led San Diego State in stops in each of his past two seasons.

Wylie has always been known for his big-play ability and speed as a wide out or special teams performer. He is the fastest 40-yard dash man in Granite Bay and Fresno State history, though he was sometimes slowed in college by nagging leg injuries.

Burris grew up a Raiders fan, so there is still use for all the Silver & Black garb he has compiled. His family erupted in cheers in Granite Bay home when draft call came. Burris has played his entire football career in California with a lot more to come.

Later on Saturday, another Granite Bay player received an NFL call. Undrafted defensive back Peyton Thompson of San Jose State signed with the Atlanta Falcons. and undrafted tight end Patrick Devenney signed with Seattle out of Colorado.

Other recent NFL draftees from Granite Bay include receivers Sammie Stroughter and Adam Jennings and linebacker Dallas Sartz. Patric Devenney of Colorado signed with Seattle in 2010.
- By Joe Davidson
For more draft and local-area news and notes, follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

April 27, 2012
Section shocker: Sierra Foothill League is bumped into D-I

In a move that will have a major impact on the Sac-Joaquin Section postseason landscape, the section will bump the Sierra Foothill League to Division I starting in 2012-2013.


The section's board of managers also decided on Wednesday to move girls basketball powerhouses Sacramento and St. Mary's of Stockton and the Modesto Christian boys into higher divisions next year.

The moves are part of an effort by Commissioner Pete Saco and the board of managers to try to even the playing field in the geographically large and diverse section that stretches from Merced to Yuba City.

The SFL traditionally has been a D-II league but its growing dominance of that division - it won 15 of 29 section titles in 2010-11 - forced the section's hand, say section officials.

April 27, 2012
Placer's Mason strikes out 12 and two hits Bear River in 2-0 win

Ryan Mason struck out 12, allowed two hits and didn't walk a batter to lead Placer to a 2-0 win over Bear River today at James Field in Auburn.

Mason, a 6-foot-6 righthander and Cal scholarship signee, threw 93 pitches in helping the Hillmen (15-6, 7-4) to move to within a game of first place Lincoln (11-11, 8-3) in the Pioneer Valley League.

A.J. Sanchez homered, Todd Valliere drove in a run with a base hit and Michael Reale had a double to highlight Placer's offense.

Placer plays host to Lincoln on Tuesday.

April 27, 2012
Cosumnes River beats Santa Rosa; wins Big 8 baseball title

Blake Harrison and Austin Ales combined for a three hitter and Garrett Heisinger had a double and two runs batted in to lead Cosumnes River College to a 4-0 win over Santa Rosa today at American River College to secure the Big 8 Conference baseball title.

Cosumnes River lost the second game of the doubleheader 4-3 in 14 innings to the Bearcubs (21-13, 13-10) to finish the regular season 15-9 in conference and 20-15 overall.

April 27, 2012
Akiem Hicks of Del Campo, Sacramento City goes in 3rd round of NFL Draft to Saints

By Joe Davidson

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks of Del Campo High School and Sacramento City College was picked by the New Orleans Saints in the third round of the NFL Draft on Friday evening, making him the region's highest pick this year.


The 6-foot-5, 335-pound Hicks is a well traveled soul known for his good cheer and enormous frame. He went from Sac City to national power LSU, then finished at Regina University in Canada, a journey he described as "a wild ride." Hicks did not play a single down for LSU. He left the program after he was targeted in minor recruiting violations, including impermissible phone calls and temporary lodging. Saints executives told media Friday night that Hicks was noted for his strong character.

After playing at Regina, Hicks impressed at the East-West Shrine Game practices and in the game that features top senior talents from across the country.

Former NFL executive Bill Polian raved about Hicks during draft coverage on ESPN, saying, "This is a powerful man. He ate it up in the East-West. This is a guy with a lot of upside. He showed that. This is a good pick."

Dave Hoskins coaches the offensive line at Sac City and he held keen interest on Hicks in practice. And in the weight room.

"He has all the physical attributes and he is humongous," Hoskins said. "In the weight room, he'd put plates upon plates upon plates on the bar, and when there was no more room for plates on the leg extension, he'd stack them up. That's how strong he was in the weight room. He was in the weight room every single day after practice, loved it. He's a great athlete. He can fly."

We will update with any more local NFL Draft prospects here and on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

Here's a look at some other area prospects who expect to be in an NFL camp this summer:

• ARMOND ARMSTEAD, DL, Pleasant Grove, 6-foot-5, 295 pounds:
Eager to compete after missing last fall at USC; impressed in pro day and can play DE or DT; very high football IQ and powerful and quick.

• MILES BURRIS, LB, Granite Bay, 6-3, 235:
Led San Diego State in tackles last two seasons after setting prep tackling records with Grizzlies; can bench 445 pounds, so imagine how easy it must feel to knock ballcarriers over.

• TAYLOR DEVER, OL, Nevada Union, 6-5, 295:
Fifth-year senior anchored Notre Dame's line last fall after three years as a reserve. Bright as he is brutish, Dever had pony tail snaking out of back of his helmet and was something of cult hero in South Bend.

• ISAIAH FREY, DB, Jesuit, 5-11, 195:
Nevada standout wasn't invited to NFL combine, but Lions have expressed interest, including recent workout. Very quick, smart, instinctive.

• ASA JACKSON, DB, Christian Brothers, 5-10, 195:
Academic honoree at Cal Poly has superb coverage skills and big-play ability; also played on return teams; considered quick if not blazing fast. Very bright.

• CHRISTIAN TUPOU, DT, Grant, 6-2, 300:
Returned to form for USC last fall after missing 2010 with knee injury; a run-stopping "plugger." Graduated with degree in political science and was motivated by father, a custodian, who told him as a child, "don't be like me."

• DEVON WYLIE, WR, Granite Bay, 5-9, 190:
Ran a school-record 4.25-second 40-yard dash at Fresno State and 4.39 at NFL combine; sometimes seemed too fast for his own good with nagging hamstring injuries. Giants brought him in for a look last week.

• LARRY WRIEDT, OL, Florin, 6-5, 340:
Out-of-nowhere prospect from West Liberty of West Virginia and Sacramento City College can play tackle or center; plans to be "the biggest police officer ever in Sacramento" after football

Photo: Akiem Hicks of Del Campo High School and Sacramento City College (54 in pursuit) is the highest local NFL draftee this year. Bee photo by Randall Benton

April 27, 2012
Former Del Oro softball player shatters Felician RBI record

Former Del Oro softball player Ciera Clark, a freshman first baseman at Felician College in Rutherford, N.J., has shattered the old school RBI record of 29 with 40 this season.

Clark, a Bee All-Metro second team selectee in 2010 as a junior, leads the Golden Falcons in batting (.343), slugging (.586), doubles (11) and home runs (7).

Another former area player also is contributing to the team as a freshman.

Macy Chase, a 2011 Bradshaw Christian graduate, is 6-8 with a 3.66 ERA. She has pitched in 21 games, starting 11.

Felician (18-33) is an NCAA Division II program.

April 27, 2012
Del Oro tops Woodcreek again despite Horbasch's 13 strikeouts

No. 2 Woodcreek's Amanda Horbasch struck out 13 and allowed two hits this afternoon but it still wasn't enough to stop top-ranked Del Oro's relentless roll toward another Sierra Foothill League girls softball title.

Del Oro, the three-time defending league champs, scored once in the fourth on an RBI by Jordan Courage and that held up for a 1-0 victory at Roseville's Mahany Park.

Courage struck out six and scattered three hits to pitch her fourth consecutive shutout and help hike the Golden Eagles' league record to 10-1, 15-3-2 overall. Woodcreek drops to 9-3 and 18-3 overall. The Timberwolves also lost 3-0 at Del Oro April 19.

Courage also drove in all the runs and pitched a shutout in that game, too.

The two teams have one more league meeting on May 8 at Mahany Park.

April 27, 2012
Former Center player named national softball Player of the Week

San Diego State sophomore infielder Hayley Miles, a graduate of Center High School, has picked up two national awards for her play during the past week.

Miles was named the Louisville Slugger Division I National Player of the Week and the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week, respectively.

Miles, also honored as the Mountain West Player of the Week, batted .727 (8-for-11) from the leadoff spot with five home runs, eight RBIs and 10 runs scored over four road wins by the Aztecs last week.

April 27, 2012
Top area boys golf teams to play in Saturday's Cal Invitational

The 15th Cal Invitational boys golf tournament - one of the top prep tournaments in the western United States according to organizer John Davis - will be held Saturday at Plumas Pines Golf Resort in Graeagle.

Current and former PGA pros Nick Watney, Spencer Levin and Tom Johnson are past participants as well as many current and former college standouts.

Among the teams participating this year is Del Oro, the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Masters and Cal Invitational champions.

April 26, 2012
CCSF site for spring showcase boys basketball event

The first annual Nor Cal Spring Showcase will be held Friday (6-10 pm), Saturday (9 am-9 pm) and Sunday (9 am-4 pm) at City College of San Francisco.

The event will be NCAA sanctioned allowing Division I basketball coaches to attend, making it Northern California's only NCAA sanctioned event of the spring, according to event director Gerry Freitas.

Forty club teams from Northern California and other areas are execpted to compete.

April 26, 2012
Nine area girls to compete in national lacrosse tourney

Players from St. Francis, Davis and Granite Bay high schools have been selected to participate in the US Lacrosse National Tournament May 26-27 in Stony Brook, N.Y.

Nine area players were selected from a tryout April 22 in Woodside.

Meagan Bennett, St. Francis; Kylie Drexel, Davis; and Katrina Reeves, Granite Bay, all juniors, were selected to the NorCal No. 1 Team. Davis' Jenn Morris will co-coach the team with Amy Harms of St. Ignatius of San Francisco.

Lauren Bryan, Natalie Dowd, Celeste Holben, Haley Kusserow and Tessa Oliaro, all from St. Francis, will join Davis' Catherine Tanaka on the NorCal No. 2 team. All are juniors except Kusserow, a freshman.

Dara Robbins of St. Francis will co-coach the team with Mona Mesbahi of Pioneer of San Jose.

April 26, 2012
Nationally ranked pole vaulter among Bear River Hall inductees

Nationally ranked pole vaulter Paul Litchfield is among six new members to be inducted into the Bear River Athletic Hall of Fame.


The 1999 Bear River graduate joins Mike Wilson, 1992, tennis; Ramon Barrios, 1992, football; Mindi Hopper, 1996, cheer; Tom Shannon, 1997, basketball; and Mary Volmer, 1997, basketball.

Litchfield, a former Idaho State All-American who overcame a serious back injury, hopes to qualify for the London Olympics.

Bear River Athletic Director Duwaine Ganskie said all the new inductees were honored at a dinner on Saturday.

Top Row left to right - Ramon Barrios, Tom Shannon, Mike Wilson; Bottom Row left to right - empty chair (Paul Litchfield - unable to attend because he is trying out for the US Olympic team in pole vault), Mindi Hopper, Mary Volmer.

April 26, 2012
Stiffer penalty to be enforced for stalling in prep wrestling

High school wrestlers who are called for a third stalling violation will receive a stiffer penalty beginning with the 2012-13 season.

In addition to the two-point penalty assessed for a third stalling violation, the opponent will now have his or her choice of position on the next restart.

The stalling penalty revision was one of eight rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations Wrestling Rules Committee at its April 9-11 meeting in Indianapolis, according to Bob Colgate, NFHS director of sports and sports medicine and staff liaison to the wrestling rules committee,

April 25, 2012
Jesuit coaching icon Dan Carmazzi steps down; headed to alma mater CBS

In a move as sudden as it was stunning, Dan Carmazzi informed his Jesuit High School football team on Wednesday that he is stepping down as head football coach to accept the position as co-athletic director at Christian Brothers, his alma mater.

Starting this summer, Carmazzi will teach and work as an assistant coach at CBS.

The longest tenured current coach in the greater Sacramento region known for his team's steady play, quarterback excellence and scholars as much as his classy demeanor, Carmazzi returns to his roots. He was a star quarterback for the Falcons in 1970. CBS is also where Carmazzi got his coaching start under Dick Sperbeck in the mid 1970s after graduating from UC Davis. Carmazzi has long maintained that he has always had a fondness for CBS. In the early 1980s, he looked into becoming the Falcons head football coach (as of this posting, we traded text messages with Carmazzi; we will talk to him later in the day and have a story in the print version of The Bee on Thursday).

Carmazzi took over at as head coach at Jesuit in 1981 after a four-year stint as an assistant to Red Smith. Carmazzi became a giant in regional coaching, winning 230 games with 17 playoff teams, nine league championship clubs, five City Championship appearances, two City titles and two Sac-Joaquin Section Division I titles. The only other regional coaches to win 200-plus games like Carmazzi are Max Miller of Cordova, Rio Americano and Johnson, Ed Lombardi of Elk Grove and Sheldon, Mike Alberghini of Grant and Frank Negri of Foothill and Natomas. Only Alberghini is still active as a head coach.

Said Carmazzi in a statement released by CBS, "I would like to thank Lorcan Barnes and Mary Hesser for extending to me the opportunity to return to Christian Brothers. I will always have tremendous respect for, and be grateful to, the Jesuit High School community for educating my sons and giving me the opportunity to teach and coach these past 35 years.

"But a part of me has always wanted to return to Christian Brothers. Christian Brothers provided me with an excellent education and athletic experience under the guidance of such outstanding teacher coaches as Dick Sperbeck, Ron Limeberger, Jack Witry, Dave Hoskins, Mel Fontes, John Zupan and Ralph Villanueva. This is a good time for me personally to make this transition and affords me the opportunity to give back to the school."

And CBS President Lorcan Barnes in a statement, "Bringing Dan on board is an investment in excellence that will serve our students well for years to come."

Carmazzi led Jesuit to its first playoff berth in 1988, a team quarterbacked by Greg Harcos, now the school's longtime varsity basketball coach. Carmazzi coached three of his sons at Jesuit in receiver Matt and quarterbacks Gio and Dominic, and he helped groom three eventual NFL quarterbacks in Ken O'Brien (fall of 1977), son Gio (1994) and J.T. O'Sullivan (1996). O'Sullivan, who went on to set passing records at UC Davis and played 11 NFL seasons, led Jesuit to the program's first D-I title in 1995 as a junior.

Jesuit endured seasons of 5-5, 4-6, 4-6 and 5-6 in the past four campaigns in the rigorous Delta River League that included area powers in Folsom and Pleasant Grove. The Marauders lower-level football teams have produced championship teams in recent seasons, generating high hopes for this fall for a team led by standout quarterback Thomas Sperbeck.

Jesuit athletic director Chris Fahey said in a statement released by the school, "We wish Dan well as he returns to his alma mater to finish his career. It was our expectation that Dan would return as our head football coach (this fall), so his decision came as a surprise. But we understand Coach Carmazzi's reasons for seeking new challenges and we respect the decision he has made."

Jesuit has not formally announced Carmazzi's replacement.
- By Joe Davidson
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

April 24, 2012
Cosumnes River forward Tony Gill signs with Pacific; second CRC player to sign this week

Cosumnes River College power forward Tony Gill of Oakmont High School has signed a national letter of intent to play at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.


The 6-foot-9 All-State sophomore averaged 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds for the Hawks, who made the playoffs in each of his two seasons. A biology major who aspires to become an orthopedic surgeon, Gill can shoot from three-point range, pass and score in the low post. He was an All-Metro pick by The Bee and a two-time All-Sierra Foothill League selection.

Gill would has studied hours of the Pete Newell Big Man series, with scores of post players working on moves. He shed close to 25 pounds since his high school days. CRC coach James Giacomazzi has raved about Gill, calling him a "coach's dream."

Gill was also heavily recruited by Boston College, visiting the campus earlier this month.
Also this week, CRC center Ryan Salmonson signed with the University of North Dakota of the Big Sky Conference.
- By Joe Davidson
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavison

Bee file photo, 2010, by Carl Costas

April 24, 2012
Sheldon football coach Josh Crabtree steps down; Herbie Berry takes over

Josh Crabtree is big into family and what it all stands for - his own and the football team he coaches at Sheldon High School.


Crabtree told his club in an emotional setting this week that he is taking a year absence as head coach to better focus on his own extended family, specifically his father, Bruce, who is courageously battling lung cancer. He spoke passionately about who and what his father is.

Crabtree will remain a history and geography teacher at the Elk Grove Unifed School District campus, but instead of afternoons coordinating weight sessions or practices, he will spend after-school time with his wife Onallee, two young children and his parents. Bruce and Claudia will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary this spring.

Herbie Berry, a charter staff member at Sheldon since the school opened in 1997, will take over as the Huskies head coach. He has been a longtime varsity assistant, including stints as a defensive coordinator. He is as highly regarded by players and peers as Crabtree.

"My dad, he's doing OK, withstanding the chemo, and he could out live me," Crabtree said. "He's always been my hero. From Day One, I looked up to him and wanted to be like him as a father, everything. They live 10 minutes away. We need to be there for them."
Crabtree said he wanted to be honest with his team about his father and not offer a basic, "I need time away."

"It's definitely an emotional time," Crabtree said. "The kids at Sheldon have always done what I asked of them and that's why I love Sheldon so much. When I demand the kids give me 100 percent and I can't give them that much, then I need to get out for awhile. Football season never ends, and when it really gears up, you're at the school six days a week. I can't be great at both jobs - be a son, a coach, a family man. Family comes first. I will always have football seasons but I only have one dad."
Crabtree praised Berry as a coach and teacher. He said the decision to step aside was made "a lot easier" knowing that Berry and the rest of the staff would return. Berry was a standout quarterback/running back at Elk Grove High in the mid 1980s who went on to play at Stanford.

Sheldon reached the playoffs last season and has sent a number of athletes onto the scholarship ranks the past two seasons, including tight end Mansel Simmons to Washington State, defensive tackle Marcus Paige-Allen to Cal Poly, receiver Kyi Thomas to Sacramento, lineman Antonio Perez to Idaho and tight end Nate Iese to UCLA.
- By Joe Davidson
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

Bee file photo by Brian Baer

April 24, 2012
Former Bella Vista wrestler qualifies for women's World finals

Former Bella Vista High wrestler Jennifer Page, now competing for Oklahoma City University, secured a spot on the United States women's wrestling national team by finishing third at 138 pounds in Sunday's Olympic Trials in Iowa City, Iowa.

Page, 19, defeated Erin Clodgo of Colorado Springs, Colo., 0-1, 1-1, 2-0 in the third-place match to land a Team USA spot in the Women's World Wrestling Championships Sept. 27-29 in Alberta, Canada.

The freshman also will be an alternate for the 2012 Olympics in London.

April 24, 2012
Elk Grove to host state youth soccer finals Saturday, Sunday

Some of the top youth soccer teams in Northern California will compete for state titles this weekend at Elk Grove's Bartholomew Sports Park, 10150 Franklin High Road.

The California Youth Soccer Association-North U-14-U-19 boys and girls teams will play Saturday and Sunday in President's Cup and State Cup matches.

The girls finals will be held Saturday; the boys finals on Sunday.

April 23, 2012
Yuba City's Hayes to play basketball for Dominican University

Matt Hayes, Yuba City High School's career scoring leader, has signed a letter of intent to play men's basketball at Dominican University in San Rafael.

The 6-foot-2 combo guard will join two other area players on the Penguins men's team.

Center graduate Connor Haysbert recently completed his sophomore season at the 2,200 Catholic school, and Bella Vista senior forward K.J. Logue recently announced his decision to play for the Penguins.

April 23, 2012
Del Oro football trio headed to Oregon college football power

lamb.jpgFrom a culture of success and winning in Placer County to another, Bobby Heatherington, Nick O'Sullivan and Logan Lamb are on the move.

The Del Oro High School teammates who helped key a 13-2 season last fall have signed to play football at small-school national power Linfield of McMinnville, Oregon.

How successful is that program? The Wildcats are coming off a 10-1 season and now seek an on-going, unprecedented 57th consecutive winning season, an all-colleges level record of success.

Heatherington was the steady, composed, durable quarterback for Del Oro last fall and O'Sullivan the hard-charging running back with good speed and a zest to compete. Lamb was an offensive line anchor, a scholar who appreciated the rigors of blocking and talked during the season of the pride of wearing his school colors.

Heatherington passed for 2,311 yards and 23 touchdowns, and O'Sullivan rumbled for 1,367 yards and 23 scores for a Golden Eagles program that won the Sierra Foothill League championship, repeated as Sac-Joaquin Section Division III winners and reached the CIF State D-II Bowl Game.

Del Oro earlier had Bee Defensive Player of the Year Alex Bertrando sign with Nevada, and fellow linebacker Tanner Huber announce he is headed to BYU.

Said Del Oro coach Casey Taylor of his latest two skill players off to Linfield, "We are proud of Bobby and Nick. They have been great ambassadors of Del Oro football. Linfield is a very successful program and feel it is a place Bobby and Nick can make an impact on the field and in earning their degrees."

And Taylor on Lamb, "Logan was the ultimate team player. He was outstanding on and off the field. He mentored our younger players and was a high-character guy. I really feel he will develop into a special player at Linfield."
By Joe Davidson
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson
For more on prep sports: www.surewestsports.com and www.ESPN1320.net

April 23, 2012
American River College's Diondre Batson has Olympic "A" marks in sprints

batson1.jpgDiondre Batson is hot and still warming up for more.

The American River College sophomore sprinter bettered his school-record marks in the sprints with second-place showings in the 100 and 200 meter dash at the Mt. SAC Relays on Saturday in Walnut in going against elite NCAA Divsion I athletes and charging right into Olympic Trials qualifying status.

A sophomore from Laguna Creek High School in Elk Grove, Batson clocked a 10.13-second 100, breaking his old mark of 10.27 at the Stanford Invitational earlier in the month. He ran a 20.50 in the 200 on Saturday. The national community college leader in both events will compete in the Big 8 Conference Trials and Finals today and Friday at ARC. The NorCal finals are May 5-6 at College of San Mateo. The Beavers are defending team state champions under coach Rick Anderson.

Batson's sprint times are Olympic "A" qualifying marks. His 100 time would place him fifth in the national among Division I college runners and his 200 time would rate him ninth.

"He has been making some great improvement this season," Anderson told Trevor Horn, the editor-in-chief for the ARC campus paper, The Current. "He was hoping to get into the ten-teens but we were hoping for a 10.17, a 10.18 and a 10.19 - but when he went from 10.27 to 10.13 - that's just an incredible jump."

Said Batson to Horn, "It was fun but I thought I could have gone faster. It felt easy."
As for Friday's Big-8 Finals at ARC, Batson said, "Come watch. It's going to be a show."
- By Joe Davidson
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson
Follow Trevor Horn on Twitter: @trevhorn or at www.arcurrent.com

April 20, 2012
Garcia dominates 3200 race at Woody Wilson track meet tonight

Oakmont mighty mite Karlie Garcia ran away from the field in the girls 3,200-meter race; Jesuit's Austin Mitsch and Monterey Trail's Esther Higgwe dominated the sprints; and Bear River's Kendal Nielsen posted a strong double in winning the girls long and triple jumps to highlight area performances at tonight's Woody Wilson Invitational at UC Davis.

The 5-foot Garcia, who uses an unusual arm-churning running style, ground down the field in winning the 3,200 in 10 minutes, 40.99 seconds. The junior beat the second place finisher by more than 30 seconds.

Higgwe, a senior, won the girls 100 (12.07) and 200 (24.90) dashes and also was a member of the Mustangs' winning 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.

April 20, 2012
Ponderosa linebacker Jeff Camilli gets a Fresno State scholarship offer

Jeff Camilli is Jason Tenner's kind of linebacker. Productive, fierce and improving by the month.

With spring ball in the air and scholarship news floating like so much pollun, Tenner, the Ponderosa High School coach, said his junior is rising fast on the recruiting radar. Fresno State offered this week with more expected to come.

"First and foremost," Tenner was saying this week, "Jeff is a great kid, a throw back - tough, hard-nosed and gets after it. You can see it in him when he's on the wrestling mat, too. Just a beast."

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Camilli had 126 tackles last fall. He had 91 stops as a sophomore starter. Longtime football followers wonder if Camilli isn't already one of the all-time greats to play in Shingle Springs, where Ponderosa football has been a big part of the region since the 1970s.

"I'm really excited for Jeff - he deserves (the scholarship attention)," Tenner said. "He's the emotional leader for our team, and I'm excited that people outside our community have noticed how special he is."
- By Joe Davidson
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson and on The SureWest Sports Radio Show each Saturday on ESPN1320 from 9-10 a.m. (and on ESPN1320.net for linked shows)

April 20, 2012
Cutts hired at Rocklin, Pope on the move, Beal steps down, Huizar to be honored

Some basketball quick-hit news and notes...
* Casey Cutts is the new boys coach at Rocklin.
Cutts was a key guard on the Thunder's 2007 team that went 26-4 and reached the Northern California playoffs. Cutts replaces Mike Lorente.
* Andy Beal has stepped down as the boys coach at Ponderosa after two seasons of rough sledding in the power-packed Delta River League that featured Sheldon, Jesuit, Oak Ridge and Folsom. Ponderosa did have a strong finish, stunning rival Oak Ridge in a season finale. Beal, the founder and president of MaxPreps.com, said coaching his sons and leading the program gave him "a great run with Ponderosa."
* Johnson girls basketball coach Jeanie Huizar will be recognized for her courageous efforts during a trying, winless season at the April 28 Character Combine event that emphasizes effort and sportsmanship. Huizar earned accolades and notes of appreciation from around the region from a Bee story detailing her season, including how spirited and eager the Warriors were to improve even after a 105-3 loss to Florin.
* Malik Pope, a 6-foot-7 sophomore center who helped power Burbank into the Division I playoffs this past season, has transfered to Laguna Creek. There was a lot of early speculation that Pope was headed to Sheldon, which three-peated as Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champions and won the large-school D-I NorCal title.
Sheldon returns a wealth of talent next season, including Bee Player of the Year D'Erryl Williams and Bee All-Metro forward/guard Dakarai Allen.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson
Davidson co-hosts with Mike Finnerty the SureWest Sports Radio Show each Saturday morning on ESPN1320 from 9-10 a.m.. The show is linked later in the day on ESPN1320.net.

April 20, 2012
Salmonson of Cosumnes River College signs with Big Sky Conference team

Ryan Salmonson, a 6-foot-10 center for Cosumnes River College out of Colfax High School, has signed a national letter of intent with the University of North Dakota, a program from Grand Forks that will compete in the Big Sky Conference next season.
Salmonson averaged 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds for CRC this past season for a playoff team after going for 4.2 and 2.6 as a freshman. He averaged 14 points and seven rebounds as a team captain for Colfax as a senior in 2010. That club went 27-6.
Salmonson scored 39 points on 16 of 19 shooting in a win over Chabot of Hayward in December. He was named the CRC Haw of the Year for his athletic and academic achievements.
Said North Dakota coach Brian Jones in a release, "He brings a high skill level and workman-like approach to the game that will allow us to continue to make strides as we move into the Big Sky Conference next season. His best basketball is ahead of him and we as a staff are excited about his versatility."
- Joe Davidson

April 19, 2012
Jordan Courage leads No. 3 Del Oro past No. 1 Woodcreek 3-0

Top-ranked Woodcreek and No. 3 Del Oro played seven innings of softball today in Loomis.

But the much-anticipated match-up between the two Sierra Foothill League powers was pretty much decided in the first inning, thanks to the pitching and hitting of Del Oro's Jordan Courage.

The senior had a three-run, two-out double in the bottom of the first and tossed a two-hitter as the Golden Eagles won 3-0.

April 19, 2012
USC football follows and films Placer national recruit lineman Eddie Vanderdoes in weight room, on baseball field

Eddie Vanderdoes lives for the moment, the bigger, the better.


Placer High School's national recruit defensive lineman was shadowed Thursday on the Auburn campus by USC assistant coach Clay Helton who studied his every move in the weight room. The entire weight room session was captured, with a lot of wide-angle work considering Vanderdoes fills a door frame at 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds.

In a Pioneer Valley League baseball game against rival Colfax later in the afternoon, Helton and camera were in tow. He filmed every at bat, every at bat, every hustle around the bases, every defensive play. Vanderdoes had three hits and crushed another titanic home run. For the season, the junior is batting .405 with 15 RBI and three home runs, two of which still have people in Auburn buzzing, specifically, "did you ever find that poor ball?"

He also struck out 16 in a six-inning outing against a team from Nevada.

As for the documentary-like filming and the poise of his son, Vanderdoes' father who goes by the same name said, simply, "How's that for handling pressure?"

Not to be outdone, UCLA will come for a peek at Placer next week. That would be the UCLA baseball team. UCLA in football has already offered Vanderdoes a football scholarship, as has an army of others, including: Cal, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and a host of others. USC has not offered, but the sense is it's only a matter of hours before that becomes reality.

Vanderdoes will attend the Cal spring game on Saturday in Berkeley and he will attend the Oregon spring game later in the month.
- By Joe Davidson
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson, Facebook: Sacramento Bee High School Sports and on www.surewestsports.com

Bee photo by José Luis Villegas

April 19, 2012
Oakmont wrestler Jake Elliott signs with Wyoming

Oakmont wrestler Jake Elliott, the CIF 2011 state champion at 145 pounds and this year's state runner-up at 152, has signed an NCAA letter of intent with the Unviersity of Wyoming, reports CalGrappler, a high school wrestling web-site.

Elliott recently placed fourth at the National High School Coaches Association Senior Nationals.

April 19, 2012
Top track athletes to compete at Woody Wilson Invitational

Many of the Sac-Joaquin Section's top track and field athletes will be entered in this Friday's Woody Wilson Invitational at Toomey Field on the UC Davis campus.

Competition begins at 3 p.m.

Cost is $7 for adults; $5 for students with student ID, Children younger than 5 are free.

April 19, 2012
Natomas High athletic program receives $1,500 grant

Natomas High School is one of 59 schools nationally to receive a Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant from California Casualty, an insurance company headquartered in San Mateo.

Natomas athletic director Anthony Agrella says the $1,500 grant will help provide essentials for the Natomas athletic program, including uniforms, equipment and CIF fees.

Natomas was one of only two high school in Northern California to receive the grant, according to Agrella.

April 19, 2012
Oakmont's Ryan Shields headed to alma mater of 49ers GM Baalke

Oakmont High School quarterback Ryan Shields is out of season with spring sports in the air, but he continues to refine his game and skill every Saturday morning.

The senior works under the tutelage of noted area quarterback mentors Bobby Fresques and Troy Taylor. By late summer, Shields will be enrolled at Bemidji State University in Minnesota, where he will play on scholarship for a Division II program. BSU is a picturesque setting on Lake Bemidji, a resot town that will remind California nativesof Lake Tahoe.

BSU went 8-3 last season and is the alma mater of 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke, who makes annual visits to BSU.

April 18, 2012
Forward switches to goalie to keep CBS in soccer playoff chase

Christian Brothers senior forward and team captain Madeline Walsh, struggling with an ankle injury that will be surgically repaired after the season, found a way to help her Falcons' girls soccer team that is battling for a playoff berth in the Capital Valley Conference.

When an injury sidelined the CBS starting goalkeeper, Walsh volunteered to move into the nets. The Falcons promptly won three league matches and she had nine saves before CBS lost 5-0 to front-running Bella Vista on Tuesday.

Walsh is a four-year varsity player who made All-Sierra Valley Conference second team as a freshman and first team as a sophomore.

Two concussions and an ankle injury limited her to eight matches last season, but she still scored six goals and had an assist.

Walsh is a standout student, singer and musician who will attend Santa Clara in the fall.

April 18, 2012
Baseball showcase to raise funds for breast cancer awareness

The fourth annual Albie Swingin' for Life Breast Cancer Awareness Baseball Showcase will be held April 28 at Sacramento City College.

Four games will be played, including The Bee's three top-ranked teams. The matchups:

10 a.m. - No. 11 Franklin vs. Antelope
1 p.m. - No. 2 Oak Ridge vs. Roseville
4 p.m. - No. 3 Elk Grove vs. No. 14 Pioneer
7 p.m. - No. 1 Jesuit vs. Christian Brothers

In three years the event has raised more than $25,000 to help support the Albie Carson Breast Cancer Foundation.

April 18, 2012
Former St. Francis tennis player Gaby Verspieren honored

Irina Morozova of San Carlos and Gaby Verspieren of Fair Oaks, the top two singles players for the Dominican University of San Rafael's women's tennis team, have been named to the Pacific West Conference Weekly Top 10 Honor Roll.

Morozova, a sophomore, and Verspieren, a junior who graduated from St. Francis High School in Sacramento, won their respective singles matches and combined for a doubles win on Sunday in a 6-3 loss at Sonoma State University.

April 18, 2012
Reede III is Monterey Trail's first golf scholarship recipient

Senior James Reede III has become Monterey Trail High School's first golfer to receive a college scholarship after signing a national letter of intent on Monday with Jackson State University.

Reede, who plans to major in mechanical engineering, will play for coach Eddie Payton, the brother of NFL Hall of Famer Walter Payton, who coaches both the men's and women's golf teams at the Mississippi college.

Reede is a four-year team captain at Monterey Trail. As a freshmen, he was Monterey Trail's first Sac-Joaquin Section Division I qualifier.

April 17, 2012
Eckels, Davis beat Elk Grove 5-4 in baseball showdown to honor fallen coach

A year ago Tuesday, the town of Davis was devastated by the loss of one of its own.

Scott Heinig, a Davis High School and UC Davis pitcher and then coach, died from injuries suffered from a fall. He was 22. Heinig last season was the pitching coach for his alma mater Blue Devils and players had his jersey No. 20 stitched into the back of their caps. They also made sure his jersey No. 20 was in the dug out, home and away, to serve as motivation and a reminder.

Blue Devils ace Ben Eckels was especially close to Heinig. He admitted that Tuesday was an especially difficult day and starting assignment, his mind elsewhere, though Bee No. 4 Davis beating No. 3 Elk Grove 5-4 in a key Delta Valley Conference certainly helped sooth matters. Eckels struck out two with the bases loaded in the sixth inning to escape his most serious jam, his seventh and eighth punch outs of the day.

"It was a pretty tough day," Eckels said, holding onto jersey No. 20. "It was hard to focus. I had to do what I could, had to focus."

Coach Heinig, Eckels said, meant more to him than he could articulate.

"He helped tutor me, he was a mentor, we worked on baseball, would go to UCD games," Eckels said. "I woke up this morning and said I'd win it for him."

Eckels said he wasn't at his best, but considering the situation and opponent, he was plenty pleased.

"I thought how Ben got out of the sixth inning was huge," Davis coach Dan Ariola said. "It hasn't been easy on Ben losing Scott. He was a freind, a mentor - everything to Ben, a big loss. Scott would be proud of what Ben has done."

Eckels gave Davis a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a run-scoring double. Batterymate and team captain George Hatamiya had an RBI for a 3-2 Davis lead in the fourth and Chris Gnos had a two-run single for a 5-2 lead in the sixth.

Dom Nunez had an RBI triple in the Elk Grove third and fellow junior national recruit/prospect Rowdy Tellez tied it 2-2 with a base hit in the same inning. Hatamiya earned the save.

Davis plays host to Grant on Wednesday and face Pacers ace Cameron Avila-Leeper, he of the 17-strikeout gem earlier this season. Avila-Leeper fanned 13 against Franklin last week in a victory. Elk Grove finishes the week week with two league games against Monterey Trail and a showcase game Saturday against Monte Vista of Danville in the Banner Island Classic in Stockton.
- By Joe Davidson
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson, www.surewestsports.com and www.ESPN1320.net

April 17, 2012
Del Oro football trio, O'Sullivan, Heatherington and Lamb headed to national small-school power in Oregon

From one place with a culture of success and winning to another, Bobby Heatherington, Nick O'Sullivan and Logan Lamb are on the move.

The Del Oro High School teammates who helped key a 13-2 season last fall have signed to play football at small-school national power Linfield of McMinnville, Oregon.

How successful is that program? The Wildcats are coming off a 10-1 season and now seek an on-going, unprecedented 57th consecutive winning season, an all-colleges level record of success.

April 17, 2012
Spencer Butterfield of Yuba College and Del Oro headed to Utah State

butter1.jpgSpencer Butterfield of Del Oro High School and Yuba College fame has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Utah State, a program with 13 consecutive postseason tournament appearances.

A guard, Butterfield was the emotional and physical heart and soul leader of Yuba College this past season. The sophomore could shoot with range, attack the rim and defend, and he had little regard for his body. Butterfield crashed for rebounds or onto the floor for a loose ball. Yuba coach Doug Cornelius called Butterfield the most competitive athlete he has coached, a "grinder and a grunt." Both powered the 49ers to the state championship game, just the third boys team in regional history to pull that feat.

The 6-foot-3 Butterfield averaged 15 points and seven rebounds.
- By Joe Davidson
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

April 17, 2012
Roger Blake named new CIF Executive Director; replaces the retiring Marie Ishida

Roger Blake has been named the new California Interscholastic Federation Executive Director, the CIF announced in a release today from its Sacramento headquarters.
Blake will take over for the retiring Marie Ishida on Aug. 1.

Blake has been in education for nearly 36 years as a teacher, coach, administrator, athletic director, assistant executive director and associate executive director. In the last 15 years, Blake has been with the CIF, including recent years as Associate Executive Director.

"I am extremely honored, excited and humbled to be selected," Blake said. "Marie may be small in physical stature, but I have big shoes to fill in following her and the great traditions of CIF."

Said CIF President Heather Daims in the CIF release, "Roger Blake has already demonstrated his capacity for fine leadership over his many years of involvement with high school athletics. We wish him the very best, and we are committed to working alongside him, in continuing to make positive change as he steps into this challenging position."

And Ishida, the longtime CIF Executive Director, "There is not a more qualified person for this job than Roger Blake. He is well prepared and will do an outstanding job. I'm leaving the CIF knowing it is in very capable hands."
- By Joe Davidson
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

April 16, 2012
Battenberg steps down after one season at Capital Christian

Terry Battenberg, who led Capital Christian to the school's first Sac-Joaquin Section Division V boys basketball title in March, has stepped down after just one season as the Cougars' coach.

"Yes, I know many of you will now think I am a John Calipari man - 'One and Done' - but that is all right," Battenberg said kiddingly in an email announcing his decision.

After stints at Jesuit, El Dorado, Ponderosa and Union Mine, the 65-year-old Battenberg came out of four-year prep head coaching retirement to lead a Capital Christian team that included nine underclass players to a 26-6 record.

April 16, 2012
Utah State coach thrilled to add Yuba College players to roster

Yuba College sophomore guard Spencer Butterfield has signed a National Letter of Intent and will join 49ers teammate Sean Harris on the Utah State men's basketball team next season.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Butterfield was named the California Community College Co-Player of the Year in leading Yuba College to a 33-4 record and an appearance in the state community college championship game at Cosumnes River College.

"We are excited about the signing of Spencer Butterfield and the talents he brings to our basketball program," said Utah State coach Stew Morrill on the Aggies' web-site. "Spencer is a hard-nosed, competitive player with very good perimeter skills. He is an excellent shooter who can handle the ball and is a willing passer. He also has the character and toughness to be a good defender."

April 16, 2012
Former San Juan player Dreier strikes out 16 in seven innings

Josh Dreierweb2.jpgFormer San Juan High School baseball star Josh Dreier, now at Phoenix's Arizona Christian University, is the Association of Independent Institutions Male Athlete of the Week.

Dreier set several Arizona Christian school records with a strong performance against La Sierra University of Riverside on Saturday.

He extended his school-record string of scoreless innings to 21 with a one-hitter while striking out a school single-game record 16 batters over seven innings.

April 16, 2012
Bella Vista's K.J. Logue to play at Dominican University

Bella Vista senior forward K.J. Logue has announced that he will play men's basketball in the fall at Dominican University in San Rafael.

The 6-foot-6 Logue, a two-time Capital Valley Conference Player of the Year, averaged 15.2 points and 6.4 rebounds last season in leading Bella Vista to the CVC title and a 26-6 overall finish.

Dominican University, a Division II program, finished third in the Pacific West Conference and 11-18 overall last season.

Former Center High star Connor Haysbert has been a key member of the Penquins the last two seasons.

April 16, 2012
NCOA to hold basketball officials camp at Sacramento State

The Northern California Officials Association will hold a basketball officials camp June 1-3 at Sacramento State.

The camp is for officials of all skill levels. Cost is $75 if registered by May 5; $85 after that date.

For more information go to the NCOA web-site at www.ncoa.arbitersports.com.

April 16, 2012
Former Rio Linda player Katie Bell, now at Sierra, signs letter

Former Rio Linda High School softball player Katie Bell, now at Sierra College, has accepted a scholarship offer from Simpson University in Redding.

A signing ceremony for the sophomore pitcher was held Thursday at the Rocklin community college.

Bell, who was primarily an infielder at Rio Linda, is 9-2 with 36 strikeouts in 65 innings in 18 appearances for the Wolverines.

April 14, 2012
Jesuit beats Oak Ridge two out of three times this week as Bee's top-ranked baseball teams face off; teams split Saturday

Jesuit beat Oak Ridge two out of three times this week in a high school baseball showdown in the Delta River League in what very much felt like a playoff series.

Oak Ridge came into the week top-ranked by The Bee with Jesuit at No. 2, and the teams performed like the region's best clubs with pitching, defense, timely hitting, coaching tactics and player leadership.

Jesuit won the opener Tuesday 1-0 on a Logan James gem and a last at-bat home run by leadoff hitter Andre Gregory.

April 13, 2012
Malik Pope of Burbank basketball transfers to Laguna Creek in surprise move

High school basketball transfers don't happen in Sacramento nearly as much as they do in Southern California, where all the title teams seem to be clogged with players coming and going.

But there was a stunner of a switch this week that could impact two Division I programs.


Malik Pope, a promising and still-growing 6-foot-7 sophomore defensive specialist center, left Burbank of the Metro Conference and enrolled into Laguna Creek of the Delta Valley Conference after his mother moved within that Elk Grove Unified School District residential boundary, The Bee learned Friday.

The Elk Grove Citizen published in its Friday print and online edition that Pope was transferring to Sheldon High, the program that stormed to D-I Section and NorCal titles and became the section's first large-school boys program to play for a state title. Burbank coach Lindsey Ferrell said that Pope was headed to Laguna Creek.

The coach said he was disappointed by the transfer but not crushed by the loss as he is known to always be perpetually upbeat. Still, Ferrell doesn't agree that Pope's move from a decades-long basketball force on Florin Road will suddenly enhance Pope's game, nor could he explain exactly why the transfer happened, except that perhaps Pope's family prefer that Pope started more this past season. Ferrell went with a senior-dominated lineup with Pope playing a lot of minutes.

Laguna Creek has had some strong teams in the past and it has a superb coach in Paul Casey, but the Cardinals are not postseason regulars. They could be now with Pope manning the middle.

The irony of the move is if there is an Open Division in the NorCal and State basketball playoffs next season, a team like Burbank could have seized the moment in D-I with heavyweights such as Sheldon and Jesuit likely slotted for the Open level. What about Laguna Creek now?

"I've been at this a long time so I won't let it get to me," said Ferrell, the veteran coach. "Malik's a great kid. I'm going to follow his career. He can play. He has so much upside, he's a great kid and he's very coachable. His mom said they just wanted to move.

"We'll be OK. We're still building a great program. Burbank will do great without me, with Malik. We'll always compete to the best of our ability and do well in the classroom. I wish the kid the best."
- By Joe Davidson
Twitter: @sb_jdavidson

Bee photo by Hector Amezcua: Malik Pope, 15, grabs a rebound against Valley High School on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.

April 12, 2012
Liberty Ranch of Galt football coach - and staff - resign after breakthrough 2011 season

After leading the Liberty Ranch High School of Galt football team to stunning success with its first first senior class last fall, Anthony Linebaugh resigned as coach Thursday afternoon.

Linebaugh is moving to Santa Barbara to teach and be the head varsity coach at San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara. His three assistants - the entire staff - also told Liberty Ranch athletic director Warren Schroeder they would not return, but not necessarily to follow Linebaugh. The assistant coaches decided they too were ready to move on.

"It is a shocker," Schroeder said by phone Thursday night. "It's late in the game. It's a positive move forward for everyone. Nothing negative with Liberty Ranch, just a new career opportunity for Linebaugh."

Linebaugh had a motto last fall of "Why not us?" and he led the upstart Hawks from a 1-9 mark in 2010 to a 9-win season last fall, a remarkable rise of power given that it generally takes new varsity programs several seasons to become competitive.

Schroeder said he was torn with his decision. He raved about the administrative support and said the school is in good hands, adding, "I am very grateful for the opportunity to have served as head coach at Liberty Ranch. The staff and I are most proud of the development that the players have made as students, athletes, and most importantly, as young men of character."

Schroeder met with the varsity team Thursday and ensured the athletes that better days lie ahead.

"There was definitely a lot of emotion - Linebaugh built a great program," Schroeder said. "The kids need to understand that life takes us in different directions. The kids are a tight-knit group. We focused on letting them know that they are the reason for the success - the players, attitude - and none of that will go away. We'll get someone of the same kind of character and integrity and continue to build the program - and we definitely can do that."

Quarterback Jacob Tibbetts will return for his third season as the starting quarterback, and he'll work with members of a 9-1 junior varsity team.

Colfax last fall stunned 11-0 Colfax on the road in a second-round Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff game. Senior tailback John Wiernicki led the section in rushing with 2,562 yards and 40 touchdowns. Wiernicki is headed to the Air Force Academy.
- By Joe Davidson

April 12, 2012
Jesuit's Pressley, River City's Ligons announce college plans

pressley.jpgBee All-Metro guard Bryce Pressley of Jesuit, left, has accepted a scholarship to the University of Portland. He helped lead the Marauders to the NorCal Division I finals as a combo guard who could score inside, outside, above the rim and defend. In one playoff game, Pressley had 22 points, nine rebounds and nine blocked shots.

Pressley had received recruiting interest from across the country, including Villanova, where his father Harold played before becoming a first-round pick with the Kings and teaching his son the game.

Pressley said he has mixed feelings about going to Portland. He is thrilled at the opportunity but added, "it's mixed feelings because it's hard to know that my high school career is over."

Also, River City guard Jordan Ligons, right, who helped power the Raiders to their first-ever girls basketball league championship, will play at Point Loma University in San Diego.ligons.jpg

A point guard with speed and a good shot, Ligons was a senior stabilizing force for one of the region's youngest teams. She said her time at River City was "the time of my life."

River City tied El Dorado for the Sierra Valley Conference championship then stunned traditional power El Camino in the postseason en route to the NorCal playoffs under coach Jamie King.

-By Joe Davidson

April 11, 2012
Josiah Turner leaves Arizona; UCLA's Lane to join Pepperdine

Add Josiah Turner to the list of area college basketball players who have decided to transfer.

The 6-foot-3 point guard announced Wednesday that he was leaving the University of Arizona after a turbulent freshman season in Tucson.

It comes on the same day that former Rocklin star Brendan Lane, a 6-9 forward, announced he will enroll at Pepperdine after playing three seasons at UCLA.

April 11, 2012
Grant baseball beats No. 7 Franklin; Avila-Leeper strikes out 13

A year ago, the Grant High School baseball team went to Franklin in Elk Grove and got clobbered 18-1.

With the same group a bit older and a lot more seasoned, The Bee-ranked No. 15 Pacers pulled an 8-3 road victory over No. 7 Franklin 8-3 in a Delta Valley Conference game, issuing a formal statement that the league race goes well beyond heavyweight programs such as Elk Grove, Davis and Franklin.

Sophomore left hander Cameron Avila-Leeper produced yet another strong effort, pitching with power and composure. He struck out 13 and walked two and now has strikeout games of 13, 13, 16 and 17.

With the bases loaded on an infield hit, an error and a walk with no outs in the bottom of the first, Avila-Leeper promptly struck out the side to get out of it. He also struck out the side in the second in working with a freshman catcher in Sammy Revalis, who got his first varsity start after junior starter Sammy Si separated his shoulder in a game last week.
Grant scored six runs on seven hits in the second off RBI singles by Michael Lee, Brandon Nunn, Omar Pina and Vinnie Wright. A senior outfielder, Wright had four hits and two RBI, including two triples.

Grant at 10-2 is off to its best start since 1991 under coach Danny Chavez, a Bee All-Metro pitcher for the Pacers in the late 1980s. The Pacers play host to dangerous Laguna Creek on Friday then plays Elk Grove and Davis next week.

Franklin, meanwhile, is up against the backstop. The Wildcats got off to a slow start this season while taking on top-tier competition, then went 4-0 in the Fresno Easter Tournament. Elk Grove beat Franklin 5-4 on Monday. The Wildcats still expect to make a run for the title behind Ryan Sarginson, Trent Spallas, Kyle Von Ruden, Tyler Blake, Nick Frei and Josh Pigg, among others.

As for Grant, the rise to respectability continues. Grant hasn't won 10 ore more games since 1991.

"We're coming together," Chavez told his team. "We're forming a bond, becoming brothers. Where we came from a year ago....we lost here 18-1 the last time we were here. All the dedication, the hard work is paying off. Now keep it up in the classroom, too. There are 35 days left of school, and we're nothing without education."
- By Joe Davidson

April 11, 2012
Jessup soccer lands current, former Granite Bay players

Granite Bay senior Avery Hutchinson and former Granite Bay player Catie Miller, now at Sierra College, have signed letters of intent to play for the William Jessup women's soccer team in the fall.

Hutchinson was a member of the Grizzlies' Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship team last season and had six goals and two assists. The three-year varsity player has the Grizzlies off to a 5-1-2 start this year.

"Avery is a versatile player that can play any position on the field," said William Jessup women's soccer coach Jamie Howard. "She is extremely athletic and will be an asset to our team. We have been recruiting Avery for the past several years and are very excited that she has signed with the Warriors."

Miller was the team MVP at Sierra College in helping the Wolverines to a 25-12-7 record the last two seasons.

"She is a great player with incredible field vision and work ethic," Howard said. "She has a commanding presence on the field and ability to dictate play. We are excited to have Catie on the team and look for her to have an immediate impact on the field."

William Jessup finished 2011 as co-Champions of the California Pacific Conference. It was the Warriors' third title in four years. The Warriors start practice on Aug. 6.

April 11, 2012
Another Lincecum lookalike, Christopher Rost, pitches at Dixon

In response to our Thursday PrepsPlus feature on Tim Lincecum lookalike Ryan Mason of Placer, former Inderkum baseball coach Todd LaClasse says to take a look at Dixon's Christopher Rost.

"Not only does he look like him, his pitching motion is almost identical," LaClasse said in an email. "And, of course, he wears No. 55. We played them last year, and he pitched like Lincecum too. Very good."

Rost, who is hitting .476, recently tossed a three-hitter in a 12-1 five-inning win over Marysville.

Dixon is 5-1 in the Golden Empire League.

April 11, 2012
CBS to hold ceremony for first home run at renovated field

The Christian Brothers baseball program this season is playing on a newly renovated diamond that includes, for the first time we're told, an outfield fence.

On March 7, the Falcons' standout sophomore shortstop Brandon Hunley belted the first home run over that fence in the Falcons' 10-0 nonleague win over Kennedy.

So at 4 p.m. on Monday, as part of new-field celebration, Hunley will present the home run ball to school officials so it can be put in the school's trophy case.

After the festivities, CBS will play a Capital Valley Conference game against Casa Roble.

April 11, 2012
CIF and Time-Warner Cable TV rights deal is worth $8.5 million

The California Interscholastic Federation's 15-year deal with Time-Warner Cable to broadcast state and regional championships in all sports is worth $8.5 million.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the rights fee is $550,000 for year one and will increase by 4 percent yearly under the 15-year deal.

The contract, which was first announced last September, gives Time-Warner exclusive rights to all state and regional championships and allows it to resell its content to local outlets.

April 10, 2012
Fresno State star receiver Jalen Saunders of Pleasant Grove to transfer

Former Pleasant Grove High School and Fresno State receiver standout Jalen Saunders will transfer at the end of the academic year, the family confirmed Tuesday night.

Saunders notified first-year coach Tim DeRuyter of his plan Tuesday afternoon, The Fresno Bee reporterd. The junior-to-be told the coach that he did fit in the new no-huddle, spread offense and his role as a slot receiver as compared to being a wide receiver under previous coach Pat Hill's pro-style set.

Saunders caught 50 passes for 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns last fall in earning All-Western Athletic Conference honors. He averaged 21.4 yards per catch, second best in the country. He had 10 passes of at least 44 yards and also made plays on special teams.
For more news, notes, updates and story links, follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

April 10, 2012
Stilwell strikes out 15, Folena has four hits in Pleasant Grove's 5-0 win over Sheldon

In the spirit of dominating pitching of late, say hello to Zack Stilwell.

The Pleasant Grove High School senior tossed a complete-game two-hitter with a school-record tying15 strikeouts to beat rival Sheldon 5-0 in a Delta River League game Tuesday.

Stilwell shares the record with Kyle Devore against Woodland in 2009.
Last week, Eddie Vanderdoes of Placer struck out 16 in six innings against Churchill County of Nevada and Grant sophomore Cameron Avila-Leeper struck out 17 in a complete-game gem to beat Inderkum.

Stilwell has had recent strong outings against Davis, Franklin and Buchanan of Fresno, allowing one run in four games, stretching 26 innings.

"He's been a big-time pitcher for us since his 10th grade year," Pleasant Grove coach Rob Rinaldi said. "He's definitely been through it all. He has great command. He's always been a good strike thrower but he's got a fastball, a curve, slider and changeup, and he's been a great leader."

J.Q. Folena went 4 for 4 from his leadoff spot to pace the Eagles on offense. He has recovered from an ankle injury to resume his stellar play at short stop.

Pleasant Grove plays Sheldon on Thursday and on Saturday.
For more news, updates and story links, follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: sb_joedavidson

April 10, 2012
Bee No. 2 Jesuit beats top-ranked Oak Ridge 1-0 on last at-bat home run; Logan James pitches a gem

By Joe Davidson

Andre Gregory interrupted his father's freshman baseball game, but no worries. They can now share the memory of a lifetime.

Jesuit High School's leadoff hitter slugged a first-pitch fastball in the bottom of the seventh inning over the left-field fence Tuesday afternoon to beat Bee No. 1 Oak Ridge 1-0 in a Delta River League showdown. The junior deposited the ball into the general vicinity of his father Quinn's event in the neighboring field. Quinn Gregory is the 5th-year Jesuit freshman coach and a veteran player agent who tells his son to seize the moment. Message received, pops.

And about that interruption?

"I think he'll take it," cracked Jesuit varsity coach Joe Potulny, whose team enters the week ranked No. 2 by The Bee with two more games scheduled against the Trojans of El Dorado Hills.

Gregory has come on strong in recent weeks, securing the lead-off spot with steady play and consistent at-bats. The utility player had one of five hits off of impressive Oak Ridge sophomore starting pitcher Austin Root, who matched fastballs and outs with Jesuit's super ace Logan James. The Stanford-bound James was exceptional, firing a three-hitter with seven strikeouts. Potulny told his team after the game that the Marauders were fortunate to beat Root, who is a fast-rising prospect in the region.

Gregory's late heroics prevented extra innings. Potulny said he was ready to pull James due to a pitch count. James threw 105 pitches.

"Feels pretty good," the humble Gregory said of his home run.

A 10th grader taking chemistry, algebra and English, among other courses, Gregory said his home-run blast was the most memorable of his life. He mentioned a walk-off grandslam for the Folsom Flames summer travel team in 2009, but this one carries a bit more clout.
Oak Ridge will play host to Jesuit on Thursday and could go with any number of stout pitchers: Sacramento State-bound Alex Fitchett, Nevada-bound Lance Berringer or Jared Ross. In short, the Trojans are long in pitching depth, as is Jesuit.

Should it rain on Thursday as projected, the teams have discussed the idea of a home-and-away double-header on Saturday, the first game at Jesuit and the second in El Dorado Hills to avoid a crammed-in four-game schedule next week.

Oak Ridge cleanup hitter Zach Mahon had a single and double off James. Mahon gave Oak Ridge life in the seventh with his double, but James struck out the next two batters to get out of it.

James entered last week's national tournament in Anaheim expecting to up his game, and he has. He pitched well in beating Serra and he impressed all comers against Oak Ridge.

James, Louis Mejia, Joe Williams and Josh Falco each had hits for Jesuit. Oak Ridge lead-off man Alec de Watteville had a single.
For more news, updates and story links, follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

April 10, 2012
Del Campo suspends five players, coach for part in JV brawl

Five Del Campo junior varsity baseball players and an assistant coach are being suspended as a result of a brawl with Yuba City during a tournament April 2 in Granite Bay.

Two players are being suspended for two games; three for one game and the coach for one game, according to San Juan Unified District spokesman Trent Allen.

No names were released.

The email did not say when the suspensions would take place.

Del Campo was scheduled to play this afternoon against Casa Roble.

Del Campo principal Vera Vaccaro and athletic director Gary Summerhays conducted the investigation, which Allen said was concluded this afternoon.

Last Thursday, eight Yuba City players were removed from the team because of their participation in the brawl, according to sources.

Yuba City Unified School District officials have declined to confirm that information, citing "federal confidentiality laws."

April 9, 2012
No. 3 Elk Grove beats rival Franklin; Herd coach ejected in odd turn of events

Dom Nunez would play right field, center or first base if asked to do so. He'd sit on a bucket in the dugout and chart pitches, too, but that would be out of sheer loyalty to the program, not from desire. This is a player, and few have his overall skill set.

Nunez is one of the most versatile talents in high school baseball in the Sac-Joaquin Section - effective with a bat, dangerous with a glove and respected as a leader. The junior for the Bee-ranked No. 3 Elk Grove Thundering Herd on Monday afternoon started at short stop, played some catcher and then got the save on the mound in relief with an emphatic game-ending strikeout to lift his club to a 5-4 victory at rival No. 7 Franklin in a key Delta Valley Conference showdown that included a large crowd, some scouts and a bizarre ejection.

Nunez also had two hits, an RBI, a run and a stolen base as Elk Grove improved to 30-1 in the DVC lifetime.

April 9, 2012
Davis runner among area's top performers at Stanford meet

Davis' Jack Scranton, who won the mile in 4 minutes, 17.04 seconds, also ran the second fastest time in the United States in finishing second to Piner of Santa Rosa's Luis Luna in the boys 3,000-meter race at Saturday's Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto.

Scranton, a junior, finished in 8 minutes, 41.07 seconds. Luna, running in a separate flight, won with nation-leading 8:38.72.

In other area Stanford meet highlights:

• The Cosumnes Oaks girls won the 4,100 relay in 48.16, defeating second place Monterey Trail (48.23).

April 6, 2012
Cordova makes huge rally to win own Easter baseball tourney

The No. 17 Cordova Lancers made veteran coach Guy Anderson proud on Thursday.

Trailing Menlo-Atherton from the Bay Area 10-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning of the Cordova Easter Baseball Tournament, the Lancers scored four runs, then added three more in the bottom of the seventh to take an 11-10 walk-off victory.

Nathan Jacobson and Jonanthon MacMonagle each drove in three runs and Nigel Robinson had a double, single and two RBI.

April 6, 2012
Strong nonleague start readies Pleasant Grove for tough DRL

No. 6 Pleasant Grove appears ready to challenge top-ranked Oak Ridge, No. 4 Jesuit and No. 8 Sheldon in the ultra competitive Delta River League baseball race that gets underway on Tuesday.

The Eagles are 9-3 heading into Tuesday's game at Sheldon.

Coach Rob Rinaldi's Eagles went 3-1 in this week's Fresno Easter Baseball tournament, defeating West of Bakersfield 11-0, Buchanan of Fresno 8-1 and North of Bakersfield 5-0.

Their only loss was to state power Clovis West 4-0. Clovis West is 18-3 and ranked No. 13 in California by Cal-Hi Sports.

April 6, 2012
Bella Vista beats No. 1 Oak Ridge for Surewest tourney title

Senior pitcher Cody Haley struck out six, walked four and allowed three hits in leading No. 10 Bella Vista to a 3-2 win over top-ranked Oak Ridge in the championship game of this afternoon's Gina Montes/Surewest Easter Baseball Invitational at Raley Field.

Ryan Locke went two-for-three, drove in a run and had a stolen base and Dylan Svoboda and Jack Cronin also had RBIs for the Broncos.

Bella Vista (9-3) scored all its runs in the second inning. Oak Ridge (8-3) had single runs in the first and fourth.

Bella Vista defeated Ponderosa 10-0, Union Mine 8-7 and No. 8 Sheldon 13-3 in earlier tournament games.

April 6, 2012
Grant pitcher strikes out 17 to lift Pacers to 7-2 season start, best in 21 years

By Joe Davidson

This was so good, we are in the midst of digging through the archives and picking old brains to see if it is a record.

It appears history was made.

Cameron Avila-Leeper of Grant High School struck out 17 in seven innings of blistering work in a 3-2 nonleague victory today over Inderkum in what is believed to be a Pacers record.

Just a sophomore, the hard-throwing left-handed Avila-Leeper struck out the side three times, delighting scores of Grant fans who have come out in full force in this revival season for the Pacers, who are off to a 7-2 start, the program's best since Mike Alberghini last coached the team in 1990. One of Alberghini's top arms in his baseball career before his monstrous ongoing run as the Pacers football coach was Danny Chavez, a key player for Grant's 1989 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship team that went 37-5.

Chavez is now the Grant coach who has worked wonders in rebuilding a Pacers program that won nearly 500 games under Alberghini in the 1980s, through 1991. The Pacers in the 1960s and '70s were also regional powers under famed names such as Leron and Leon Lee and Tony Pepper. Still, for all of those great teams and great arms, no one struck out 17 in a game, Alberghini said tonight. Alberghini also raved about the job Chavez has done, thrilled to see the Pacers back on track after years of misery.

Chavez points to his players for their efforts, including a strong pitching staff anchored by Avila-Leeper and 6-foot-3 junior Brandon Nunn.

"Those kids have been great," Chavez said. "The whole team - everyone's getting better. We're trying to get baseball back to where it once was, to get that Pacer Pride, that Pacer four Life back into baseball. To see all the people come out and support us, it feels so good. They're watching real baseball again."

And a real live arm in Avila-Leeper, all of 5-10 and 160 pounds of gas. In addition to the 17 strikeouts he had against Inderkum, Avila-Leeper fanned 16 against Rio Linda and 13 against Folsom.

"Those are really big numbers," Chavez said.

Nine games in, so is the team's 7-2 showing.

* Grant coach Danny Chavez joins Joe Davidson and Mike Finnerty on the SureWest Sports Radio Show on Saturday morning from 9-10 a.m. on ESPN1320. The show will link on demand to ESPN1320 later in the day.
* Also check surewestsports.com for Finnerty's game report of Grant's win over Inderkum.

April 6, 2012
At least one player disciplined for Yuba City High baseball brawl

By Bill Lindelof

A Yuba City parent said her son has been kicked off the team and suspended in the wake of a fight during a high school baseball game earlier this week.

The brawl between the Del Campo and Yuba City junior varsity baseball teams erupted at a tournament Monday in Granite Bay.

Video of the fight was posted on the internet and drew national attention.

A Del Campo fan captured the scene and posted it on YouTube that shows more than a dozen Yuba City players sprinting across the field toward first base after the Honkers' pitcher fired a ball at a Del Campo coach.

The Yuba City Unified School District, citing confidentiality reasons, has not said if any punishment has been meted out to the players.

Parent Stacy Todd, who said she was at the game, said Friday that the coach was totally out of line by insulting the pitcher's mother.

She said she could only speak for her son, Camryn Danna, a third baseman, for Yuba City. She said her son was kicked off the team and been suspended from school for five days.

The Marysville Appeal-Democrat, citing an unnamed source, said that 8 players have been removed from the team. In addition, the newspaper said, players will serve a five-day suspension, and there may be expulsions.

San Juan Unified School District spokesperson Trent Allen said the district is still conducting an investigation of Del Campo players' behavior during the incident and expects to have "something early next week."

Read the full story at appealdemocrat.com

Here is the raw video of the brawl, posted on YouTube. Warning: The footage contains foul language.

April 5, 2012
Yuba City school district press release short on brawl details

Although Yuba City Unified School District officials report that they have conducted a "thorough investigation" into Monday's fist-swinging brawl between Yuba City High School and Del Campo JV baseball players, they do not indicate what, if any action, they have taken against the players involved from Yuba City.

"Due to state and federal confidentiality laws, the district cannot release information specific to any student," the district said in a press release emailed late this afternoon. "... However, the behavior displayed at the game will, in all applicable circumstances, subject players to both removal from the team and suspension or expulsion from school."

In a YouTube video that went viral, it shows more than a dozen Yuba City players sprinting across the field at Granite Bay High School toward first base after the Honkers' pitcher threw a ball at a Del Campo assistant coach in the sixth inning with the game tied.

At least three Yuba City players are seen throwing punches at a handful of Del Campo players as they try to turn their backs to dodge the blows.

The Yuba City team already has been suspended from play until this Monday.

"The district expects that student athletes will represent their schools with character and respect," the release also said. "We hope that this incident is a reminder to all involved - students, parents, coaches and umpires - that sportsmanship is a shared responsibility. As a community we must work together to teach our children that high performance requires self restraint and an unwavering display of good sportsmanship."

San Juan Unified School District spokesperson Trent Allen said they are still conducting their investigation of Del Campo's behavior during the incident and expect to have "something early next week."

April 5, 2012
24 area athletes receive CIF section scholarship awards

Twenty four area athletes have been awarded CIF Sac-Joaquin Section A. Dale Lacky/California School Employees Association scholarships for their outstanding athletic, academic and community service performances.

They and 26 other section recipients will be honored at a breakfast 9 a.m. April 17 at Hutchins Street Square in Lodi. Sacramento State athletic director Terry Wanless will be the keynote speaker.

Capital Christian's Tanner Nissen received a special $1,500 scholarship as the male recipient of the Clark Coover Scholarship Award.

April 5, 2012
CIF honors Capital Christian team for helping wounded Marine

The Capital Christian girls basketball team has been selected as the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section's winter Community Service Award recipient.

This is the first year for the award, which is given three times during the school year - once per season.

Capital Christian will receive a banner and $500 and the players and coaches will be honored April 25 at the section's Board of Mangers meeting.

April 5, 2012
Coin flip factors into Antelope winning Woodland tourney title

Antelope won the ExecOne/Woodland Easter Baseball Tournament in unusual fashion.

The Titans defeated Vanden 10-3 in Wednesday's championship game, but it took a coin flip to get coach Javy Valdivia's team into the finals.

On Tuesday Antelope played Winters to a 2-2 deadlock through 15 innings in a game called just before the 10 p.m. curfew as rain started to pelt the two teams.

April 5, 2012
Former Troubadour goalie's career at Princeton winding down

Kristen Ward's brilliant Ivy League women's water polo career at Princeton is winding down.

The senior from St. Francis has helped the Tigers to a 21-4 record heading into their final regular season match on Friday against visiting Hartwick.

Next up will be the Southern Championships April 13-15 in Lewisburg, Pa., and the CWPA Eastern Championships April 27-29 in Providence, R.I.

Ward has 177 saves for the Tigers this season, including 12 on Saturday in a 7-6 loss at Maryland and 12 more on Friday in a 13-9 win over conference rival George Washington in Washington, D.C.

April 4, 2012
Placer scores twice in seventh to beat Colfax for River City title

Placer rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Pioneer Valley League rival Colfax 4-3 in today's River City Classic Tournament baseball championship game in West Sacramento.

Ryan Mason pitched the five-hit, seven-strikeout, two-walk complete game win, and sophomore Austin LeBleu had two hits and an RBI. Mason also drove in a run; Zac Hersh doubled; and catcher Michael Reale had three stolen bases.

Placer is now 10-5; Colfax 9-5.

April 4, 2012
Investigations are underway in Yuba City-Del Campo JV brawl

School officials are continuing to investigate a fist-swinging brawl between the Del Campo and Yuba City junior varsity baseball teams at a tournament Monday in Granite Bay.

Video of the fight and its aftermath has gone viral and gained national attention.

A Del Campo fan captured the scene and posted it on YouTube that shows more than a dozen Yuba City players sprinting across the field toward first base after the Honkers' pitcher fired a ball at a Del Campo coach.

At least three Yuba City players are seen in the video throwing punches at a handful of Del Campo players as coaches for both teams stepped in to try and break things up.

April 4, 2012
Five questions to ponder in girls softball this season

Longtime Bee contributor John Parker offers five questions to ponder for high school softball this season.

Which league is the area's toughest?
The Delta River League has long been the gold standard of area softball and should be once again this year. At least one deserving team will be left out of the postseason shuffle, even with the Delta River League sending three teams to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.

Is Division I still superior?
In terms of top-end strength, yes. The final rounds of the D-I playoffs should once produce stalemates matching pitching strength and offensive might. But beginning to end the D-II playoffs figure to be a spectacular showcase. Cosumnes Oaks and Bear River have posted impressive early wins over larger schools as well should stage a hearty battles in D-IV and D-III, respectively.

April 3, 2012
Brawl halts junior varsity game between Yuba City and Del Campo caught on tape; suspensions forthcoming

Members of the Yuba City High School junior varsity baseball team engaged in a vicious brawl with Del Campo athletes on Monday afternoon in an Easter Tournament game in Granite Bay, sullying a program that has produced championship varsity teams for decades.

A Del Campo fan captured the scene with images that have gone viral on YouTube. In the sixth inning of a game tied 3-3, the footage reveals Yuba City players sprinting across the field toward first base to throw punches, including the pitcher who fired a fast ball toward first base at a Del Campo coach.

The footage also shows a Yuba City parent going onto the field to try and calm matters, and then get into an expletive-filled exchange with Del Campo fans.

The Bee has learned that the Yuba City JV team suspended play for the remainder of the week and that there could be as many as six Yuba City players suspended. Some could also face expulsion. Del Campo coaches could not be reached for comment regarding any Del Campo suspensions.

The Sac-Joaquin Section office, big on sportsmanship and accountability, said Tuesday that it will let the schools handle disciplinary action.

Email, Twitter and text concerns to me that this melee will ruin the Yuba City baseball tradition are an impulse reaction. Yuba City is one of the giants in prep baseball in this section.

The Yuba City varsity won four consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Division III baseball championships in going 116-9 from 2007-2010 under famed coach Jim Stassi, who retired following the 2010 season with a sparkling reputation as a coach and sportsman.

A Bee 1978 All-Metro player for Yuba City, Stassi coached 18 years at his alma mater. He mentored his three sons at Yuba City in Brock, Max and Jake. Max was The Bee's Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009.

The Honkers, again ranked by The Bee with a win over current Bee No. 1 Oak Ridge this season, seek the program's eighth consecutive league championship. Dave Rodriguez is the current coach for the varsity team that is 9-5.

Here is the raw video of the brawl, posted on YouTube, between Yuba City and Del Campo junior varsity baseball teams. The footage contains foul language.

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

April 3, 2012
Olympians expected at area youth water polo club fund-raiser

Four-time U.S. women's water polo Olympians Brenda Villa, Heather Petri and Heather Moody are expected to appear at the American River Water Polo Club's Spring Fling 5:30 p.m. April 13 at the Dante Club in Sacramento.

The dinner, dance and auction is the main fund-raiser for the area's renowned youth water polo club. The club director is Rafael Ruano, the longtime Rio Americano girls water polo coach.

Villa and Petri will be competing in the upcoming London Olympics. Moody, a former player, is the national team's assistant coach.

April 3, 2012
Vanderdoes fans 16; Placer in River City title game vs. Colfax

Fueled by some impressive pitching and timely hitting, Placer will play Pioneer Valley League rival Colfax 4 p.m. Wednesday for the River City Classic Tournament baseball championship in West Sacramento.

National football recruit Eddie Vanderdoes, the Hillmen's 6-foot-4, 295-pound lefthander, got his team off to a great start on Monday.

The junior struck out 16 batters in six innings while making only his second start of the season in a 9-3 win over Churchill County of Fallon, Nev.

April 3, 2012
St. Francis athletes to sign college letters of intent April 11
vball.jpg    polo.jpg

St. Francis athletes Paige Folger and Kathleen Menz will sign NCAA national letters of intent on April 11, Troubadorus athletic director Kolleen McNamee has announced.

Folger (above, left), headed to Gonzaga, was a member of the Troubadours' Sac-Joaquin Section Division I girls volleyball championship team. The 6-foot-1 senior middle blocker and outside hitter led the 38-6 Troubadours in blocks with 121.

Menz (above, right), a goalie who will sign with Cal, helped the St. Francis girls water polo team reach the D-I section championship match for the eighth consecutive season. The Troubadours lost 8-5 to Davis in the finals.

April 3, 2012
Former Cosumnes Oaks star named WAC Pitcher of the Week

Former Cosumnes Oaks softball standout Madison Fish of San Jose State has been named the Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week for March 26-April 1.

Fish, a freshman, pitched a one-hitter in a 7-0 win over Louisiana Tech. She struck out two and walked two.

It was her fourth start and first complete game for the Spartans.

Fish is 5-2 with a 2.65 earned-run average for the 19-18 Spartans.

The 5-foot-7 right-hander was a four-year letter winner at Cosumnes Oaks High School for coach Lynda Bettencourt. She was the Sierra Valley Conference MVP last season and a Bee All-Metro first team selection as an outfielder.

About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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