May 31, 2012
Woodcreek duo helps North softball stars to beat South 10-5

The North defeated the South 10-5 in the Evening Optimist Club's 35th annual all-star softball game Wednesday night at Capital Christian High School.

Woodcreek's Courtney Johnson hit a three-run homer; Woodcreek's Paige Davis a two-run single; and Bear River's Alyssa Reina a solo home run for the North.

Elk Grove's Carlee Gray had a three-run homer and Cosumnes Oaks' Taylor McClanahan a two-run double for the South.

Gray was named the South MVP, and Del Oro pitcher Jordan Courage was the North MVP.

For a more complete account of the game, see Mike Finnerty's report at Sure West Sports

May 31, 2012
Devon Jones to coach Capital Christian boys varsity basketball

Junior varsity boys basketball coach Devon Jones has been elevated to the varsity job at Capital Christian High School.

He replaces Terry Battenberg, who stepped down after leading the Cougars to a 26-6 record and the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V title in his only season with the team.

Former head coach Phil Oates, who assisted Battenberg last season, will return to assist Jones.

May 31, 2012
Keen competition readies Del Oro's Brie Simmons for state track

In-section and intra-team battles have steeled Del Oro's Brie Simmons for the 94th annual State Track and Field Championships Friday and Saturday at Buchanan High School in Clovis.

Simmons has competed throughout the season against Fairfield's Daje Pugh and Vacaville's Daria Cook, two of the state's top hurdlers. In practice, she also runs against standout boys hurdler Casey Wheeler.

Wheeler will run the 110, while Simmons starts the race at the same time from the 100-meter mark, giving both an excellent challenge.

May 30, 2012
Former Sac State assistant coach to lead Natomas High football

Jeff Remington, a former Sacramento State assistant, has been hired as Natomas High School's new football coach, replacing Frank Negri.

Remington, 43, also was an assistant at Minnesota-Morris, an NCAA Division III school, and at Foothill community college in Los Altos Hills, where he was an assistant coach and offensive line coach to Marshall Sperbeck, now the Sacramento State coach.

Remington was a head coach at Gunn of Palo Alto from 1998 to 2001, turning a perennial loser into a Central Coast Section playoff team.

During that span, he produced a 27-12-1 record and led the team to a league title in 2000. His 1999 team advanced to the section playoffs for the first time in school history.

Natomas athletic director Anthony Agrella says that Remington will teach special education at Natomas.

May 30, 2012
Del Campo's softball girls of iron make a little bit of history

It was one of the feel-good stories of the Sac-Joaquin Section softball playoffs.

After upsetting league rival and defending D-II champion Casa Roble 3-2 in eight innings on May 22, Del Campo (16-9-1) reached its first section championship game since it started playing softball 39 years ago.

Coached by former El Camino and Oregon State pitcher Sharon Props, Del Campo almost forced Woodcreek into an if-necessary game on May 23 before the Timberwolves rallied for three runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh for a 3-2 win.

May 29, 2012
Section softball champion players to compete in Optimist Game

Alexis Cooper, MeShalon Moore and Danielle Wiltz from Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion Sheldon will lead the South team against the North in the Evening Optimist High School All-Star Softball Game 6 p.m. Wednesday at Capital Christian High School.

The charity benefit features the area's top graduating seniors.

Courtney Johnson and Paige Davis of D-II section champion Woodcreek and Stephanie Ceo, Erin Nichol and Alyssa Reina of D-III section champion Bear River will lead the North team.

May 28, 2012
Nogosek leads Woodcreek past rival Granite Bay to win D-II baseball title

nogosek.jpgStephen Nogosek (left) understands anxiety away from the playing field.

His father and idol Troy is a Sacramento firefighter who has carried babies out of burning buildings and then collapsed at his family's feet at home in exhaustion. Troy also races cars in his free time, crashing into walls and cracking ribs and blowing out knees with ensuing ambulance rides to the hospital.

So what's a seven-inning effort in the biggest high school moment of his life? A breeze.
With Nogosek tossing a complete-game two hitter with six strikeouts on Monday night, the Woodcreek Timberwolves capped an improbable playoff run with a 9-2 victory over rival Granite Bay to win the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship at coolish, gusty Sacramento City College.

A full crowd at Union Stadium, many huddled in blankets as if attending a Giants game at old Candlestick Park, saw two aces start and one finish unbeaten. Nogosek finished his junior season 8-0 after recording a 1-2-3 sixth inning and striking out two in the seventh. After the final out, Nogosek hugged all comers. Before all that, Nogosek's mother Jennifer paced nervously in the stands. Troy studied every at bat intently.

"Moms always freak out when their sons pitch - it's a mom thing," Nogosek said. "My dad is laid back. My dad is amazing. We worry that he'll get hurt as a firefighter, and he tells us that when little kids or any kids get hurt he thinks of us. No matter what happens, we're glad when he makes it home safe. It's real life."

Woodcreek (24-7) overcame injuries and a brutally competitive Sierra Foothill League to fight and claw its way through the postseason, including beating Rocklin twice in one day to reach this stage. Thin on pitching due to injuries, Woodcreek leaned heavily on Nogosek and a superb supporting cast of Shaun Mize, Austin Haggarty, Alex Montes, George Corp, Perry Beaber, Austin Blatnick, Brandon Raposa and Bobby Paser. Mize was especially strong at shortstop and Corp at catcher.

Woodcreek chased Keeney in the fourth with a 7-1 lead. Keeney came in 7-0 and was hoping to end his stellar prep career with a baseball championship to match his D-I football title. Granite Bay finished 23-8.

Division II
Rodriguez 3, El Camino 0 - Jesse Scholtens, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound power pitcher headed to Arizona, tossed a complete-game three-hitter with nine strikeouts for the Fairfield team's first championship. Scholtens (7-1) outdueled El Camino ace Mike Frantz, who allowed six hits and struck out five. El Camino came in winners of 10 consecutive games and 15 of 16 games under first-year coach David Brown. The Eagles (20-11) were in their first title game for any division. Rodriguez (23-9) lost to Benicia in the D-III finals last season. Scholtens lost only to Placer and ace Ryan Mason 2-1, in the playoffs.

Division VII
Valley Christian 6, Millennium 0 - The Lions of Roseville scored five in the first, and sophomore Jeremiah Moore tossed a complte-game two-hitter with four strikeouts for the program's fourth title in five seasons. Moore and Bronson Buljan each had two-run singles in the first for Valley Christian (23-6), which ended the season on a 19-game winning streak. Lions coach Brad Gunter Jr. said he was pleased for his seniors and thrilled for his father of the same name who founded the school and serves as a lead administrator and pastor.

"He nearly died twice on us with heart trouble," Brad Jr. said. "Watching him carry that blue championship banner, hugging all these players, his happiness, that's what makes this so special. I am so happy for him."

Lions players ribbed their coach for his long, red-dyed beard, which hasn't been touched during the winning streak.

"I need the dye otherwise I'd look like Santa with all that gray, and that's no good," Gunter Jr. said. "Coaching high school kids makes you gray. Don't be surprised if it's down to my waist next year. Can't cut it now."
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
On Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 28, 2012
Rodriguez-Fairfield ace Scholtens beats El Camino in D-III baseball title game

Jesse Scholtens craves the mound and the big stage.

He's thrown five no-hitters in his life, and though he didn't approach another no-no on Monday, the Rodriguez High School senior ace was too much for El Camino.

Striking out 11 and allowing very little otherwise, Scholtens powered the Mustangs of Fairfield past the Eagles 3-0 at Sacramento City College to capture the program's first Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship.

Rodriguez snapped the Eagles' 10-game winning streak. El Camino, winners of 15 of 16 coming in under first-year coach David Brown, beat four-time D-III champion Yuba City in two games to reach this stage.

In Scholtens, the Eagles faced one of the top pitchers on the West Coast. At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Scholtens threw fastballs and sliders in yielding three hits to finish 7-1. He set the Mustangs school record with 116 strikeouts last season and fanned 122 this season. He is headed to Arizona on scholarship.

Scholtens' only loss was to a pitcher he may encounter again. Placer and Cal-bound ace Ryan Mason beat Rodriguez 2-1 in a playoff game last week.

"He definitely did a good job," Scholtens said. "We said to each other in the hand-shaking line, 'see you in college.' I'm looking forward to it."

El Camino had one of its best seasons in years, thanks to senior leaders in Mike Frantz, who pitched admirably in Monday's loss. Other key seniors include Darryl Ball, Colton Freeman, Dustyn Macaluso, Dee Kuwabara, Joey Thompson, Eric Bates and Gabe Quinterros. All started Monday for the Capital Athletic League champions.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
On Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 28, 2012
Valley Christian of Roseville wins another baseball title; emotional day for Gunter family

The emotions were genuine and sincere Monday afternoon for the Gunter family.

Tears, hugs and more tears and deeper hugs.

Brad Gunter Sr. founded Valley Christian High School, serves as the school pastor, lead administrator and general good-will ambassador. Sixteen years ago, he hired his son Brad Jr. to coach the baseball team at the small school tucked in a back alley in Roseville, and Gunter Jr. hired himself - he's the athletic director, after all - five years later to double as the men's basketball coach.

There has been a legacy of winning ever since. The latest championship blue banner came as the result of a 6-0 win over Millennium of Tracy in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII title game at Sacramento City College's Union Stadium. It is Valley Christian's fourth such title in five years.

Capping the season with a 19-game winning streak isn't what kicked open the floodgates for father and son. The fact that father is even here is what triggered the emotions.

"He nearly died twice on us with heart trouble," Brad Jr. said. "Watching him carry that blue championship banner, hugging all these players, his happiness, that's what makes this so special. Wow. And he's doing outstanding now. He's fine."

Gunter Sr., 61, had a blood infection that attacked his main heart valves in September. In bed, entering surgery, he sang "Amazing Grace." His sons Brad, Mark and Nathan feared he was dying and that he was OK with it. And he was. One problem. The family wasn't quite on board.

"As a Christian, I was ready to go," Brad Sr. said, tears welling up. "I was OK with it, but my family wasn't ready for it. I worried for them. Doctors told me they didn't understand how I was still alive. I am so glad I am. I'm emotional for my kids - all these kids - and my son and grandson (Micah), who is on the team."

Asked about the impact of his son as a teacher, coach and mentor, the elder Gunter exhaled deeply. More tears. More reflection.

"Unbelievable pride is what I feel," Gunter Sr. said. "There isn't a better man. His grace, handling things under pressure, he's fantastic."

But the beard? Oh the beard.

Gunter Jr. sports a hearty thatch of hair growth on his face, all rooted in superstition. He hasn't plucked even a single hair since the winning streak. He's applied a lot of red dye, too. He looks ready to join ZZ Top as an emergency fill in. Wife Megan and 11-year old twin daughters Claudia and Cloe roll their eyes at the view of "The Beard."

"I need the dye otherwise I'd look like Santa with all that gray, and that's no good," Gunter Jr. said. "Coaching high school kids makes you gray. Don't be surprised if it's down to my waist next year. Can't cut it now."

Valley Christian seized control against the Falcons of Tracy in the first inning, scoring five runs. Bronson Buljan and Jeremiah Moore each had two-run singles.

Moore, just a sophomore, also pitched a complete-game two-hitter with five strikeouts to cap a 23-6 season. Bryan Roush, Teagan Mowry, Jimmy Shaw, Quentin Moore and Zach Sween all had hits for the Lions.

"Moore has a very, very bright future," coach Gunter said. "We've had 23 guys move on from our program to college over the years but he may have the biggest arm."

Valley Christian also offers more proof that small-school programs are small in enrollment only. The goals are just as large as anyone else. What's more, the Lions played bigger schools and more than held their own. Valley Christian lost to D-II finalist Woodcreek 4-0 and to D-III finalist El Camino 4-2 in nine innings.

"We don't have a lot of blue-chip guys, though we have some," coach Gunter said. "We have some freshmen who come in and we hand them a glove and practice pants for the first time. But in time, it all works. We've had an unbelievable run."
- By Joe Davidson
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 28, 2012
Granite Bay, Woodcreek, El Camino and Valley Christian play for section baseball titles today at Sac City


Here's a quick peek at the three Sac-Joaquin Section championship baseball games today at Sacramento City College:

Division II
Granite Bay (23-7 )vs. Woodcreek (23-7), 6 p.m. - It seems fitting that this comes down to two Sierra Foothill League teams. That has been the case in each of the past four seasons and five of six. Since 1988, an SFL team has played for the D-II title 11 times. Granite Bay won it in 2001 and fell to Rocklin in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Woodcreek made the finals in 1999 and won it in 2004.
Granite Bay has beaten Woodcreek two out of three times this season to win the SFL in a tight race that also included Rocklin. The Grizzlies are led by Aaron Knapp (.434), who has an interesting stat line. The junior has 33 hits - and get this - 32 runs scored. On the mound this season, actual Grizzly-sized Brendan Keeney (6-2, 225 pounds) is 7-0. He is headed to Cal to play quarterback so this very well may be his final baseball moment.
Woodcreek, meanwhile, is powered by ace Stephen Nogosek, who has been almost perfect this season. With seven wins, zero losses and 94 strikeouts in 68 1/2 innings heading into tonight's game, Nogosek is ninth in the section with a 0.92 ERA. He leads the section in ERA of any pitcher with more than 65 innings pitched. At the plate, senior shortstop Shaun Mize is batting .459 and flies around the base paths with a team-high six triples.

Division III
El Camino (20-10) vs. Rodriguez (22-9) - The Eagles are in a championship game for the first time in program history, and it's been a rich history. Two of the highest-drafted players in regional history hail from El Camino - power pitcher Butch Edge from 1974, a first-round pick, and slugger Derrek Lee, a first-rounder in 1993.
El Camino is the hottest team around with a 10-game winning streak and winners of 15 of last 16. The Eagles are led by senior Mike Frantz on the mound (8-3, 1.48 ERA in 80 1/3 innings). Also led by senior Colton Freeman, who leads team with .451 batting average and 41 hits. Senior Darryl Ball brings the power for the Eagles with four home runs and 27 RBI. And don't sleep on junior Matt Kintz, (.419, team-high 11 doubles).
Rodriguez of Fairfield is led by sophomore standout Dante Golden (.436, 3 HR, 23 RBI) and top-double threat in the section with senior Jesse Scholtens and junior Dylan Dumapay on the mound. Scholtens is third in the section with 113 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings. Dumapay's 11 wins are second most in the section. The Mustangs beat Eddie Vanderdoes and Ryan Mason and Placer in three games to advance. -

Division VII
Valley Christian (22-6) vs. Millennium (20-7)
Small school or not, these are skilled programs, and it's a rematch from last year's title game, won by Valley Christian of Roseville 3-1.
What's more, the defending champion Lions are used to playing in title games after regular seasons that include games against programs considerably larger.
The Beard has faded in San Francisco with the Giants but it's hearty and well here with Valley Christian coach Brad Gunter Jr., who hasn't touched his whiskers since the team last lost - 19 games ago.
VC seeks its fourth section title in five years, having reached the finals five consecutive seasons.
The Lions have hitters and arms. Jimmy Shaw is hitting .418 with 23 RBIs to lead Teagan Mowry (.476, 22), Quentin Moore (.300, 21), Jeremiah Moore (.327, 21) and Bronson Buljan (19 RBI).
Jimmy Shaw is 6-2, Jake Sween is 4-2 and Jeremiah Moore is 4-1. Sween looks the part of power pitcher at 6-foot-5.
Millennium of Tracy also played some larger schools to prepare for all of this. It is led by Gavin Compton (.410, 33 RBIs), Austin Larson (.435, 31), Tanner Carroll (.439, 22). Austin Larson is the ace at 9-1 and six complete games. Spencer Blackwell is 6-3.
- By Joe Davidson and Trevor Horn
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson; @trevhorn

May 27, 2012
Jesuit High School football names Blanton as new football coach

Jesuit High School has named Marlon Blanton as its new football coach.

A De La Salle High graduate who graduated from St. Mary's College in Moraga, Blanton was the head coach at St. Patrick's/St. Vincent's High in Vallejo the previous 14 seasons.

His teams reached the North Coast Section playoffs seven times and won three Bay Shore Athletic League championships. Blanton was named the Bay Shore Athletic League Coach of the Year in 2004, 2006 and 2007. Those teams went 8-3, 11-2 and 12-1, respectively. St. Pat's went 9-2 in 2010.

Blanton replaces Dan Carmazzi, who accepted a coaching position with Christian Brothers, his alma mater. Carmazzi had been the longest-tenured head varsity football coach in the Sac-Joaquin Section, since the 1981 season.

A three-year varsity player at De La Salle in the late 1980s, Blanton later coached the national super power program in Concord at various levels.

We will have more on Blanton - his goals, his tough upbringing - in Tuesday's Bee.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 25, 2012
Mitsch battles through injury to lead Jesuit relay into state finals

When it comes to putting relays together, injuries kept Jesuit sprint coach Rod Jett on edge all season.

He lost key relay sprint standouts Thomas Sperbeck (ankle) and Kaba Alkebulan (broken wrist) during the season, though Sperbeck continued to compete in other events.

Then on the eve of Friday's Sac-Joaquin Section Masters track and field championships at Elk Grove High School, Jett thought star junior Austin Mitsch might also be done.

May 25, 2012
Sacramento State baseball beats Fresno State to reach Western Athletic Conference Tournament finals

Sacramento State's thrill ride season continues.

On the heels of their first Western Athletic Conference baseball championship, the Hornets on Friday night beat Fresno State 8-3 in the WAC Tournament semifinals in Mesa, Ariz. to reach its first title game.

Second-seeded Sac State jumped to an early lead on a Clay Cederquist three-run double in the first inning. The former Fresno State player had three hits, as did Derrick Chung and Will Soto. David Del Grande and Brent Hottman each had two RBIs for the Hornets, who had nine hitters record a hit and seven score a run.

Freshman Brennan Leitao retired 13 consecutive Bulldogs at one point and struck out three, and relievers Garrett Kraemer and Tyler Hoelzen tossed shutout innings to advance the Hornets to Saturday night's title game against the winner of Saturday's Fresno State-Louisiana Tech consolation winner.

Sac State is in the midst of its best Division I season, having moved up from D-II in 1991. Sac State's 31 victories also mark the most the program has had in D-I.
- Joe Davidson
On Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 25, 2012
Franklin-Elk Grove baseball beats Davis to its first win Division I North championship

The wheel buckled a bit here and there, but they never came off.

Franklin High School overcame a slow start to this baseball season, dodged pitfalls and pot holes during a bumpy regular season amid injuries and stout competition and capped it Friday night with a slice of school history.

The Wildcats beat Delta Valley Conference rival Davis 3-2 to win their first Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North championship at Sacramento City College in Candlestick Park-like chilly conditions.

Davis stunned Franklin 5-3 earlier Friday on a Chris Gnos two-run triple in the bottom of the sixth inning to force the deciding game. Gnos had a chance to repeat his effort with two outs and two on in the bottom of the seventh in the clincher but he went down looking on a Kyle Von Ruden strikeout, eliciting a celebration months in the making.

True to form, Franklin's team bus had a blow out on the way home from a 6-2 outbracket win over Vintage of Napa to open this tournament, a complete-game effort for Von Ruden, and sat stranded on the freeway for two hours. On Tuesday, Franklin beat Davis 8-6 in eight innings in a winner's bracket final, and Wildcats first-year coach Bryan Kilby found his pickup with a flat in the parking lot.

On Friday, in Game 2, no such detours and no flats later.

"It's been an interesting road, but it's been a fun road," Kilby said. "I'm so happy for these kids and these coaches. We played two great games here today. Every game with Davis is like this. We wanted to put the ball in our senior's hands and let them decide it."

Decide it they did. Brandon Keup allowed five hits and struck out four. He hadn't pitched in nearly three weeks but looked the part of fresh, eager performer here. The Franklin juniors also had big moments, including Tyler Blake, whose RBI single in the third put Franklin up 2-1. Catcher Nick Frei had an RBI single to make it 3-1. Ryan Sarginson had three hits in the early Friday game and two more with an RBI in the clincher.

Freshman shortstop Hank LoForte threw out a runner at third base to end the sixth with that 3-2 lead. Von Ruden, the senior leader, came on in relief in the sixth. Up and down the lineup, the Wildcats received big efforts.

"What can you say about Von Ruden - a super kid, a great student," Kilby said. "And Hank LoForte plays beyond his years. His baseball IQ is unbelievable. You can tell he's a coach's kid."

Now LoForte and the gang want what LoForte's father has. Brian LoForte coached McClatchy to the 1998 section D-I championship, beating freshly drafted first-round pick C.C. Sabathia and Vallejo.

Franklin plays two-time defending D-I champion St. Mary's of Stockton in Game 1 of the best-of-three series on Friday at Pacific.

Davis, meanwhile, finishes a trying season that included a DVC championship and a spirited run in this postseason. Blue Devils coach Dan Ariola offered a lot of hugs for departing seniors such as ace Ben Eckels and leader George Hatamiya, the catcher and scholar who played gallantly despite losing his mother Nancy to cancer last week.

Hatamiya got the save in the first game Friday after a strong starting effort by Reinert Toft. Hatamiya tossed three more solid innings in the night cap. Franklin coaches congratulated Hatamiya for his career and resolve after the late game Friday. The senior was moved by the gesture.

"I can't ask any more than what these guys gave me, every one of them," Ariola said, exhaling. "Give credit to Franklin. Keup was pretty impressive, and Von Ruden was good. We can't complain. We had a great season."

Davis will lose some key seniors in Eckels, Hatamiya, Gnos, Reinert Toft, Jack Shelledy and Pat Kreidler, who epitomized his team's grit in laboring through a bad ankle down the stretch of the season. Kreidler played strong defense in center field in the playoffs.

Those returning for Davis for another run: Joe Murray, Ryan Plumb, Bobby Young, Hayden Duer, John Ariola, Chris Daunt and Matt Trask.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Joe Davidson co-hosts with Mike Finnerty on the SureWest Sports Radio Show on
Saturday on ESPN1320 from 9-10 a.m. The show will also link later in the day on ESPN1320.net

May 25, 2012
Mitsch's status is uncertain for tonight's Masters track meet

Jesuit sprint standout Austin Mitsch's status for tonight's Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Track and Field championship is uncertain.

The section 100- and 200-meter leader strained a groin muscle running anchor on Jesuit's 4x100 relay during Thursday night's trials at Elk Grove High School.

Mitsch later qualified for the finals in the 100-meter prelims but showed obvious discomfort after running tentatively in the race.

May 24, 2012
Foothill's Dobbins wins third girls masters high jump title

Foothill's Lawre'll Dobbins beat Rocklin's Leah Carter in jumps to win her third consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Masters track and field girls high jump championship tonight at Elk Grove High School.

Both competitors cleared five feet, five inches.

It was one of six field-event finals held during an afternoon and evening of mostly trials.

In other finals highlights:

May 24, 2012
Eckels strikes out 11 and Davis eliminates Vacaville 2-1 in D-I North baseball thriller

Today is Senior Ditch Day at Davis High School, meaning those closing in on graduation can play hooky and go hang out at, say, the library for kicks and giggles.

Rest assured, the seniors for the Blue Devils baseball team will be in the front row of classes with their minds on the urgency for Friday night's engagement with rival Franklin.

With Ben Eckels dueling Elway Santistevan in a terrific, fast-paced pitching duel, Davis beat Vacaville 2-1 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North loser's bracket final at blustering Sacramento City College on Thursday night.

May 24, 2012
Sacramento State baseball beats Nevada 15-5 to open WAC Tournament play

Sacramento State beat Nevada 15-5 on Thursday afternoon in Mesa, Az. to open Western Athletic Conference Tournament play.

Justin Higley had a two-run home run in the sixth inning, Will Soto had three hits and Rhys Hoskins had three RBIs, including a two-run double in the first for the second-seeded Hornets.

Reliever Tyler Hoelzen got the win, allowing two hits and no runs in 2-plus innings.

It is Sac State's first WAC Tournament appearance since losing to Nevada by that same 15-5 score - exactly four years to the date.

Sac State plays the winner of Thursday's late Fresno State-New Mexico State game at 7 p.m. on Friday with the winner advancing to the WAC title game.

Sac State is riding a feel-good wave with Reggie Christiansen earning WAC Coach of the Year honors, Andrew Ayers WAC Player of the Year and Hoskins Freshman of the Year.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 23, 2012
Sheldon, Bear River win, Woodcreek rallies in section softball finals

Mary Jo Truesdale has been coaching high school softball for more than 30 years.

But she has never quite seen a team like this season's Sheldon bunch.

The Huskies confounded her as they sputtered throughout the regular season. Then they wound up finding a special place in her heart.

Sheldon, completing one of the Sac-Joaquin Section's most impropable playoff runs, beat Ponderosa 8-1 for its second consecutive Division I title Wednesday at the Sacramento Softball Complex.

May 23, 2012
Woodcreek, El Camino reach Section baseball title rounds with inspired efforts

It's playoff time in the Sac-Joaquin Section and nothing comes easy with every win greatly appreciated.

Here's a run-down on some of the Wednesday action:

* Woodcreek 4, Rocklin 3 - The Timberwolves beat their Sierra Foothill rivals twice at American River College to advance to the Division II title game against a familiar foe in SFL member Granite Bay on Monday at Sacramento City College.

Stephen Nogosek came on in relief to earn the save, ending it with a strikeout after earning a complete-game 5-0 win in Game 2 of this best-of-three series. He at one point retired 12 consecutive Rocklin batters.

May 22, 2012
Franklin baseball beats rival Davis in extra innings behind Zanzi, Von Ruden, Waters, Pigg; play for first D-I North title

pigg.jpg
Kyle Zanzi is a scholar who packs the sort of of GPA that makes you nod and wonder just how large and active his brain is.

The Franklin High School junior takes Advanced Placement physics and calculus, and he's a pretty fair baseball talent, too.

The junior outfielder chugging with all his might scored the go-ahead run with two outs in the top of the 8th inning off a Taylor Waters single, and Josh Pigg slammed the door in relief from there to key an 8-6 victory over Davis on Tuesday night in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I-North semifinals at Sacramento City College.

As if that wasn't reason enough for the upstarts for Elk Grove to celebrate, cup cakes anyone? Zanzi's father John blushed when his 50th birthday was announced early in this rivalry rematch of Delta Valley Conference foes by public address voice Steve Gill. Zanzi family members gleefully handed out frosted eats.

Pigg, the team ace, devoured all comers, too. The powerful senior earned the win in relief, striking out seven, including the side twice. He spelled fellow senior leader Kyle Von Ruden, who struck out nine and really only struggled in the first inning, a frame that ended with a 4-4 tie.

Pigg tied it with a two-out hit up the middle in the seventh. He may start the title game on Friday against the winner of the Thursday loser's bracket finale between Vacaville and Davis. Or Franklin could go with Tyler Blake, who tossed a complete-game gem to beat Elk Grove 9-1 on Saturday. Or perhaps Brandon Keup. In other words, a lot of arms and possibilities for first-year coach Bryan Kilby, whose pitching coach is brother Brad Kilby. Brad Kilby logged several pitching seasons in the A's organization and is hopeful of a return when his arm returns to health.

Bryan Kilby said he he delighted with the makeup and poise of his young team.

"Zanzi's a brilliant kid, way smarter than us coaches," the coach said. "Von Ruden is our guy, the leader. He wants to do everything right. Pigg is a super athletic kid. He'd be unbelievable in football and basketball but he loves baseball. You want the ball in his hands because he gives you everything he's got. So many great guys. It's a joy to coach them."

Ryan Sarginson had two hits, Pigg two RBIs and Adams had a two-run single for Franklin. Ben Eckles had a three-run triple in the first for Davis and John Ariola had two hits and three RBIs. Eckels will likely start against Vacaville on Thursday. He struck out 12 on Thursday to beat Oak Ridge 5-2.

* Granite Bay 12, McClatchy 7 at American River College - Sophomore designated hitter Justin Lehman continued his hot playoff hitting, belting a three-run home run for the Grizzlies, who closed out the Lions in two games to reach the Division II title game Monday at Sac City. The Grizzlies, who led McClatchy 11-0 after two innings, play the winner of today's other D-II semifinal between Sierra Foothill League rivals Rocklin and Woodcreek.

* Valley Christian 7, Elliott Christian 5 - Jake Sween, a 6-foot-5 senior who just signed a letter of intent with Westmont College, went the distance, walking none and escaping jams, and Isaac Van Patten had three hits for the Lions of Roseville, who advanced to the D-VII title game for the fifth consecutive season. VC seeks its fourth title under coach Brad Gunter Jr. Gunter, a man with personality and pride, has been sporting an ever-growing beard, one he won't touch as long as this 18-game winning streak grows.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

PHOTO CAPTION: Franklin thirdbaseman Josh Pigg readies for the pitch during the Delta Valley League game wth Elk Grove at Franklin High School in Elk Grove April 25, 2011.

May 22, 2012
Woodcreek, Sheldon advance to section softball title games

Woodcreek softball coach Art Banks thought it was fortuitous his team opened the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs Friday with the late game.

Shortly before the Timberwolves met Kennedy, they watched as unheralded Christian Brothers shocked Del Oro 8-3, ousting the Golden Eagles from the playoffs.

Del Oro was one of the tournament favorites and had won the Sierra Foothill League by beating Woodcreek (25-4) three times.

May 22, 2012
Sac State baseball earns Coach of the Year, Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year - all D-I firsts

A season of firsts continues for the Sacramento State baseball team.

The Hornets on Tuesday learned that Reggie Christiansen was named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for guiding his program to a WAC tri-championship a year after finishing last, Andrew Ayers was named WAC Player of the Year and Rhys Hoskins is the WAC Freshman of the Year, all voted by WAC coaches.

The only other Division I program to go from worst to first this season was Cornell of the Ivy League. Christiansen, in his second year as head coach, said he will continue to build his program with "80 to 85 percent local players."

Christiansen calls Hoskins the most mature freshman he has coached, saying, "he has no upside. It's limitless. I think he'll be playing this game for a long time."

Since entering D-I play in 1991, the Hornets have not gained any of these honors.
Ayers, a junior from Eureka, played the infield and outfield and batted in every spot in the lineup except cleanup. He led the WAC in hitting with a .427 average and had 18 RBIs in 18 WAC games. Hoskins of Jesuit High School led Sac State in batting (.355), home runs (10) and RBIs (49).

Christiansen calls Hoskins the most mature freshman he has coached, saying, "he has no upside. It's limitless. I think he'll be playing this game for a long time." He said Ayers provided leadership, versatility and clout all season.

Ayers led the WAC with 32 hits, 18 RBIs and a .627 slugging percentage in 18 games. He was second in the WAC with seven doubles. He batted .335 overall this season with 32 runs, 15 doubles and three home runs. He started 43 games at second base, six at shortstop, three in left field and one in right.

Despite all the movement, Ayers made just three errors all season. The last honor similar to this for the Hornets was Mike Eby earning WAC Western Division Player of the Year in 1995.

Christiansen, a defensive-minded coach, saw his Hornets finish in the NCAA top 10 for fielding percentage and was top ranked for four weeks.

Making first team All-WAC for the Hornets: senior catcher Derrick Chung and sophomore outfielder Justin Higley. Senior designated hitter Trevor Paine and sophomore pitcher Dallas Chadwick earned second-team All-WAC honors.

Paine of Jesuit batted .340 in WAC play. He missed most of last season with a wrist injury. Chadwich had a 3.06 ERA in six WAC appearances

Sac State opens WAC Tournament play on Thursday in Mesa, Az. - The Hornets made a journey of it, heading to Arizona by bussing to Pasadena, then to Phoenix to catch the Diamondbacks-Dodgers game.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com

May 22, 2012
Diondre Batson, Aaron Tombleson earn NorCal Track and Field honors

batson.jpgAthletes and coaches from American River College and Sacramento City were well represented in gaining 2012 Northern California Track and Field honors.

Diondre Batson (left) of ARC is the Male Track Athlete of the Year after the sophomore won Northern California and State championships in the 100 and 200-meter dashes. His wind-aided 10.10-second 100 in the NorCal finals at College of San Mateo set a meet and NorCal title record, regardless of conditions.

Batson won the state 100 in 10.30 in Norwalk on Saturday, running into a 2.3 meters-per-second headwind. He took the 200 in 20.60 in a 1.1-meters per second head wind. ARC won the NorCal team title under coach Rick Anderson, the NorCal Coach of the Year. Anderson's team placed second in the state meet a year after winning it.

The Male Field Athlete of the Year is Aaron Tombleson of Sac City. The sophomore increased his national shot put lead with a 58-foot, 7 1/2-inch effort to win the state title. He also won the NorCal title. Tombleson also won the state discus with a 171-04 toss.

Ashton Purvis of Laney College in Oakland is the NorCal Women's Track Athlete of the Year. The sophomore set meet and NorCal records in taking the NorCal 200 and then set the American community college and state-meet record in the 200 to key a state team title repeat. She ran a wind-legal 22.86, the only JC woman to run under 23 seconds.

Purvis also won the 100 in 11.43 and ran a leg on Laney's victorious 400 relay team that clocked a 45.15 effort. The all-time JC record in the 200, including foreign athletes, is 22.39, set by Jamaica's three-time Olympic gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown in 2001 for Barton County, Kansas Community College. The American JC record was 22.12 by Zelda Johnson of Mt. San Antonio College in 1981.

Laney Coach Curtis Taylor is the NorCal Coach of the Year.

Jazmin Porter of Shasta College is the NorCal Women's Field Athlete of the Year. The sophomore was a three-event winner in throwing events in the NorCal finals and placed second in all three in the state meet - the discus, shot and hammer.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com

May 21, 2012
Granite Bay, four area individuals advance to state golf finals

Granite Bay qualified as a team and two golfers from Del Oro and one each from Ponderosa and Christian Brothers have qualified as individuals for the CIF State Golf Championships June 6 in San Gabriel after stellar performances in today's NorCal finals at Butte Country Club in Chico.

Granite Bay, the Sac-Joaquin Section D-II and Masters champion, finished third to land the last team state qualifying spot.

The Grizzlies shot 373, finishing three strokes in front of Sierra Foothill League rival Del Oro.

May 21, 2012
Sheldon's bats batter Elk Grove 10-2; Thundering Herd and Ponderosa remain alive in D-I section softball playoffs

The Sheldon High School softball players decided it was time to flush away the bad karma - figuratively and literally.

The Huskies had been through a brutally tough season.

They lost their last game of the regular season and backed into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs as the Delta River League's No. 3 seed. They survived a tough 5-3 outbracket win at Tracy on May 15.

May 21, 2012
Vacaville eliminates Elk Grove in Division I baseball playoffs; Tellez hits 425-foot home run

Tony Gonsolin has had a monster playoff run and promises he isn't finished yet.

Neither are his gritty Vacaville Bulldogs.

Gonsolin tossed a complete-game three-hitter, struck out six and smacked two doubles, and teammate Elway Santistevan had a two-run home run to key a 7-3 victory over Elk Grove on Monday night in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I elimination game at Sacramento City College.

Santistevan pitched a gem against two-time defending North champion Jesuit in a playoff opener on Saturday, with Gonsolin earning the save when he struck out Zach Green swinging to seal that 3-2 win in the bottom of the seventh inning. That was Vacaville's first playoff win in nine years. Elk Grove eliminated the Bulldogs in a playoff opener last season.

Gonsolin and Santistevan bat 1 and 2 in the Bulldogs lineup and got things going in a hurry against Elk Grove. They combined for six hits.

The only pitch Gonsolin truly regretted was the first-inning meat pitch he offered Rowdy Tellez, who drove it over the right-field fence some 425 feet onto the Sac City softball field. Tellez going yard is nothing new. He has scouts wildly intrigued about his power and potential.

Vacavile advances to Thursday's semifinal against the loser of Tuesday night's Davis-Franklin winner's bracket contest at Sac City.

Elk Grove bows out after another strong season. The Thundering Herd entered the season top ranked by The Bee and tied Davis for the Delta Valley Conference. Elk Grove tossed a no-hitter to beat Napa 1-0 in a playoff opener behind David Smith before falling to Franklin 9-0 on Saturday.

Elk Grove will return a wealth of talent next season under veteran coach Jeff Carlson, including Tellez, Dom Nunez, Smith, Nick Madrigal, Michael Wright, Derek Hill and Robert Ortega, among others.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com

May 21, 2012
Dorner runs 2nd fastest girls 400 in state at D-II-III section final

Rosemont junior Nia Dorner ran a season-best 54.94 seconds in setting a new girls 400 meter meet record on Friday at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II-III finals at Bella Vista High School.

Dorner's time bettered Vallejo's Derrhea McLiechey's 55.44 in 2007 and it ranks as the second best in the state behind Serra of Gardena's Renetia James, who ran 54.77 on Saturday at the CIF-Southern Sectional divisional finals.

Dorner's time is No. 28 in the United States this season.

In other highlights from the section championships on Thursday and Friday:

May 20, 2012
Cosumnes River College makes history, wins State JC Baseball Championship in 12 innings

When Cosumnes River College opens its new baseball complex next season, the Hawks of Sacramento will be able to decorate the place a bit with a spiffy, new banner and a reminder of a road well traveled.

Specifically, a California Community College Athletic Association State championship, courtesy of today's dramatic 8-6 victory over nationally ranked No. 3 Rio Hondo of Whittier in Bakersfield.

In the top of the 12th inning, Josh Silver scored Colby Brenner with a single for a 7-6 lead. Brenner got on with a bunt single and then stole second. Phillip Roa then doubled off the wall to score Silver for the score.

May 19, 2012
Sheldon, Elk Grove start strong in D-I softball playoffs

While Sheldon High School had a rollar coaster regular season and barely slipped into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I softball playoffs, the Huskies didn't waste any time today in letting folks know they plan a rigorous title defense.

The Huskies combined for five home runs and 37 hits in beating Pitman of Modesto 16-1 and Tokay of Lodi 18-1 in mercy-rule-shortened five-inning games in today's opening rounds at the Sacramento Softball Complex.

Alexis Cooper hit home runs in both games and was three-for-three against Tokay; Nikki Miles had six hits in seven at bats; and MeShalon Moore had five doubles.

The wins move Sheldon into Monday's 5 p.m. winner's bracket game against rival Elk Grove, the team the Huskies beat in last season's D-I championship game.

May 19, 2012
Tyler Blake, Josh Pigg, Kyle Von Ruden lead Franklin past Elk Grove in Division I baseball

By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com

A month ago, Tyler Blake wasn't sure how many innings he would pitch this high school baseball season. Or how effective he would be.

He has a pretty clear indication now.

With the 6-foot-7 junior lefty looking fit and focused and his teammates smacking 10 hits, the Franklin Wildcats belted rival Elk Grove 9-1 on Saturday afternoon in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North playoff game at Sacramento City College.

Blake rested a tender pitching elbow most of the season, tossed a complete-game 4-0 shutout against Grant to help secure a playoff berth and looked even better here. Blake threw six consecutive shutout innings in negating a Thundering Herd lineup known to light up all comers.

Blake wasn't overpowering with just two strikeouts, but he was beautifully effective. Yet there he was running back and forth on the warning track, between the foul poles, after the Wildcats of Elk Grove improved to 3-0 in the postseason for the first time. Turns out the conditioning drill is mandatory for all pitchers, win or lose.

"I'm tired but I feel good," said a winded Blake, who also had two hits and drove in a run. "I love pitching and this team. Glad to be back on the mound."

Josh Pigg had a two-run single and Kyle Von Ruden had a three-run triple to highlight a six-run Franklin third inning. Von Ruden earned the win in an opening 6-2 playoff victory over Vintage of Napa and Pigg was the winning pitcher in an 11-5 effort against Pleasant Grove on Wednesday.

Now the Wildcats have a sudden surplus of arms. They will face another familiar foe Tuesday night in Davis, which tied Elk Grove for the Delta Valley Conference championship. Franklin finished third, though it did have wins over Elk Grove and Davis.

"The guys are playing well," Franklin coach Bryan Kilby said. "Tyler Blake was phenomenal on the mound, Pigg had a great game at the plate, Kyle was unbelievable (at second base) and his three-run triple was a back breaker."

* Davis 4, Vacaville 3 - Hayden Duer had a no-out, walk-off hit in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Blue Devils, who moved to 2-0 in this increasingly tense tournament that has featured surprise blowouts and outcomes. A junior designated hitter batting seventh, Duer pumped after his fist as Davis overcame three errors and used a double play in the Vacaville eighth to avoid the loser's bracket.

"That was a great game," Davis coach Dan Ariola said.

Davis received strong pitching from starter Matt Trask, who allowed no hits and left with a 3-2 lead in the third, and Reinert Toft, who struck out five and allowed two hits. Vacaville starter Deandre Casovia struck out four and walked four. Chris Gnos, Bobby Young and Ben Eckels each had an RBI for Davis.

Vacaville beat two-time defending North champion Jesuit 3-2 in a playoff opener on Wednesday and now plays Elk Grove on Monday night in an elimination game. Davis opened this event with a 5-2 victory over Oak Ridge with Eckels striking out 12.

* Granite Bay 4, McClatchy 3 at American River College - Devin Lehman had the go-ahead RBI single in the fifth inning and Gabe Meza tossed two close-out innings for the Grizzlies, who took Game 1 of the best-of-three Division II series. Lehman had six RBIs in an 11-3 opening-round win over Del Campo on Friday.

* Rocklin 9, Woodcreek 0 - Austin Dick tossed a complete-game four-hitter with four strikeouts and one walk, and Timberwolves pitchers hit eight batters in the other D-II three-game series opener.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 19, 2012
Woodcreek belts Del Oro 4-0 in D-II girls soccer shocker

The previously undefeated Del Oro girls soccer team picked a bad time to play its worst match of the season - today's Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship game at Cosumnes Oaks High School and against Sierra Foothill League rival Woodcreek, to boot.

Woodcreek came out fast, strong and focused in scoring three first-half goals en route to a stunning 4-0 win over a a rival that had allowed only three goals total entering the match.

Del Oro (9-1-7) nosed out second-place Woodcreek (13-2-7) for the league title in the highly competitive SFL. Del Oro went 4-0-6; Woodcreek 4-1-5.

May 19, 2012
Cosumnes River College beats Big 8 Conference rival Sierra to reach state JC championship gameeball game

Another win, another step closer to a unique piece of state and school history.

Cosumnes River College beat Big 8 Conference rival Sierra College 12-8 on Saturday afternoon in the California Community College Athletic Association State Baseball semifinals in Bakersfield behind Colby Brenner (four RBIs) and Josh Silver (two RBIs). CRC scored three runs in each of the fifth and sixth inning to take a 7-2 lead.

The Hawks advanced to their first state-title game Sunday and need to win once against Rio Hondo, which eliminated Sierra with a 4-1 triumph Saturday night, to become the only team to win a championship without the benefit of playing any home games. CRC is undergoing a facilities upgrade and hasn't even had a home practice. A second game Sunday follows, if necessary.

Will Gilliland scored four runs for CRC and Nick Smart earned the win to improve to 6-5. Smart struck out four and gave up five earned runs.

Though Sierra beat CRC two out of three meetings in Big 8 play, the Hawks surged late and won the conference, which crowned state champions in 2008 (Sierra) and last season (Delta College of Stockton).

CRC under coach Tony Bloomfield started league play at 2-5 and celebrated the Big 8 title by having a pool part at the coach's house in Davis. CRC has gone 6-1 in this postseason with two Regional titles and a 3-1 state-opening win over Rio Hondo to snap the Whittier team's national-leading 33-game winning streak.
Kaden Kamoe drove in two for Sierra.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 19, 2012
With timely assist, Rio Americano wins girls section soccer title

It's been a pretty eventful playoff for Rio Americano girls soccer coach Jennifer Smiley.

On Saturday, she coached the Raiders to a 3-0 Sac-Joaquin Section Division III win over Capital Athletic League rival Antelope. It was the Raiders' fourth section title in six years and second in a row. The Raiders reached the title match the two years they didn't win.

So Smiley was plenty happy for her girls after overcoming several early season injuries and a brief bump in league en route to their sixth consecutive league title. The Raiders tied Antelope 2-2 and lost 2-1 to El Camino, the Raiders' first loss in two seasons.

May 19, 2012
Hayden Duer beats Vacaville 4-3 with walk-off hit in 8th in Division I baseball playoffs

Hayden did it.

Hayden Duer - pronounced do-er - had a no-out, walk-off hit in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift Davis High School past Vacaville 4-3 on Saturday afternoon in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I-North playoff game at Sacramento City College.

Davis moved to 2-0 in this increasingly tense tournament of large-schools chock full of odd twists, turns and upsets and moves to Tuesday's winner's bracket final to face the winner of Saturday's Elk Grove-Franklin second-round game.

A junior designated hitter batting seventh, Duer admitted he was trying to "do too much" with earlier at-bats" but relaxed in this situation. He pumped his fist as the winning run scored. Davis overcame three errors and used a double play in the Vacaville eighth to avoid the loser's bracket.

"That was a great game," Davis coach Dan Ariola said.

Davis received strong pitching from starter Matt Trask, who allowed no hits and left with a 3-2 lead in the third, and Reinert Toft, who struck out five and allowed two hits.

Vacaville starter Deandre Casovia struck out four and walked four. Chris Gnos, Bobby Young and Ben Eckels had RBIs for Davis.

Vacaville beat two-time defending North champion Jesuit 3-2 in an opener on Wednesday and now plays Monday night against the loser of the Elk Grove-Franklin game. Davis opened this event with a 5-2 victory over Oak Ridge with Eckels striking out 12.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 19, 2012
Woodcreek's Lexi Wilkerson pitched shutout against Kennedy

We credited the wrong Woodcreek pitcher in the Timberwolves' 3-0 win over Kennedy Friday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II softball playoffs.

It was junior Lexi Wilkerson who struck out 12 batters and earned the shutout, not Amanda Horbasch.

With the win, Wilkerson ran her record this season to 10-0.

May 18, 2012
Unsung CBS knocks top-ranked Del Oro out of softball playoffs

The shocking upsets in baseball earlier this week spilled over to softball Friday at the Sacramento Softball Complex.

Unranked, under-the-radar Christian Brothers defeated Del Oro 8-3, knocking The Bee's No. 1-ranked team out of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs.

That upset followed No. 1 Pleasant Grove and No. 2 Jesuit being toppled in the baseball playoffs.

May 18, 2012
Granite Bay baseball beats Del Campo 11-3 behind Lehman and Kenney

Sophomore designated hitter Devin Lehman has a three-run double in the first inning and a three-run triple in the second, and Brendan Keeney toessed five consecutive shutout innings for Granite Bay in an 11-3 Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff win over Del Campo at American River College on Friday night.

Keeney, a Bee All-Metro quarterback for the D-I section champion Grizzlies last fall, improved his record to 6-0 this spring. After sitting out last baseball season to focus on football, Keeney has provided leadership and pitching depth for the Grizzlies. Keeney will walk on at Cal this fall to play quarterback.

Four Del Campo pitchers walked 13. Mitch Hart had two RBIs for the Grizzlies, who made some spectacular defensive plays, including second baseman Vinny Esposito, son of veteran coach Pat Espisoto. Granite Bay plays McClatchy on Saturday at ARC to start that best-of-three series.

Granite Bay, winners of the brutally competitive Sierra Foothill League, played for the D-II section title in 2007, 2009 and 2010 and won it in 2001. All told, an SFL team has won the D-II title in seven times since 2000, including three in a row. An SFL team has placed second five consecutive seasons in a show of league superiority.

- By Joe Davidson
Davidson and Mike Finnerty co-host the SureWest Sports Radio Show on Saturday morning from 9-10 a.m. on ESPN1320 and linked later to ESPN1320.net. Topics include the prep playoffs, the latest in area football news and the SureWest Coaches of the Year.

May 18, 2012
Cosumnes River College baseball snaps national-leading 33-game winning streak to open State JC playoffs

The Road Warriors have invaded Bakersfield and now they aim to make more history.

Cosumnes River College snapped Rio Hondo's national-leading 33-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory in an opening-round California Community College Athletic Association State Championship contest in Bakersfield on Friday night.

tony.jpg

Ace Austin Ales (11-2) tossed a complete game with three strikeouts and one walk for the Hawks (26-15-1), who are attempting to become the only team to win a state title without the benefit of a single practice or game at home due to construction for facilities upgrades.

Josh Silver, Phillip Roa and Ryan Case each had an RBI for CRC, in the state tournament for the first time. Rio Hondo came in 38-3, last losing in mid February.

CRC won the Big 8 Conference over rival Sierra College, which beat nationally ranked No. 1 Orange Coast 4-0 in the early game (see link on Sacbee.com).

CRC coach Tony Bloomfield and Sierra skipper Rob Willson are the best of friends, but they joke that they are also like competitive brothers, badly wanting to beat each other.

Never have the stakes been higher, of course. Sierra (26-15-1) won the state title in 2008. The Big 8 has had a team in the state finals in three of the past five years, with Delta of Stockton winning it last season.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

Bee file photo of Tony Bloomfield by Andy Alfaro

May 18, 2012
Greg Correa continues family name for McClatchy baseball, beats Oakmont in D-II baseball playoff opener

The Correa name resonates at McClatchy High School.

Brothers Dom and Howie Correa spearheaded championship baseball teams in the 1990s, with Howie and friends beating C.C. Sabathia of Vallejo to win the 1998 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship. Their father Steve has been a decades-long fixture as a youth coach that fed talent into the Freeport Boulevard school.

These days, it's Greg Correa, nephew of Dom and Howie and grandson to Steve, who has inspired his teammates with a refocused effort in the classroom and bulldog results on the mound.

Now competing in the Division II postseason, Correa put the clamps on free-swinging Oakmont in relief by retiring seven of the nine batters he faced in a 6-5 opening-round playoff triumph Friday night at American River College.

A stout 6-foot-1 senior, Correa picked off the only man who managed a hit off of him at first base, and he struck out two in the seventh inning for the Metro Conference champions. The relief and pride was evident on his face, and his coaches raved about his drive to be a student to match his athletic feats.

Correa had to take extra classes to get back on track academically. He worked with teachers and counselors after considering getting his GED before his head coach Mike de Necochea and teammates convinced him to finish as a Lion.

"I had to get on it academically, and I realized that education is important and graduating with these guys would be special," Correa said. "And baseball is something I live for. I'll never forget this. It's all come together."

Said de Necochea, "Greg stuck with it, a testament to him. He's a hard-luck story who earned this. He's been our big guy."

jared.jpg

McClatchy is also known for being an academic powerhouse with its renowned HISP offerings - Humanities, International Studies Program. Senior leaders Alex Jang, Rod Mackey, Kevin Krause and Kenny Nishimura are all HISP students with 4.0 GPAs headed to college. The power and personality comes in the form of another solid student in Jared James, pictured, a senior slugger who expects to be drafted next month. Add it all up and it's no wonder the Lions are all grins.

"We can be pretty good," De Necochea said.

Nelson Muniz and Nishimura each had two hits and Krause double.d Muniz had an RBI double for a 5-4 Lions lead in the fourth inning and James had a ground-out RBI in the fifth to make it 6-5.

Jimmy Lunardelli, Justin Garvin and Robert Walton combined for seven hits for Oakmont, which bid farewell to retiring coach Dean Perkins. Perkins helped guide 17 playoff teams in 25 years with the Roseville school.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Joe Davidson and Mike Finnerty will break down the baseball playoffs and offer football talk on the SureWest Sports Radio Show on Saturday from 9-10 a.m. on ESPN1320 (linked later in the day to ESPN1320.net).

Bee photo of Jared James by Manny Crisostomo


May 18, 2012
Sierra College ace beats national No. 1 Orange Coast 4-0 in state JC playoff opener

The improbable journey continues for Sierra College baseball.

Josh Eagle didn't allow a hit until there were two outs in the fourth inning, and Kaden Kamoe had a two-run home run as the Wolverines of Rocklin beat nationally ranked No. 1 Orange Coast 4-0 in a California Community College Athletic Association State Championship opener in Bakersfield on Friday afternoon.

Eagle (11-2) struck out seven, walked three and allowed six hits in moving to 3-0 this postseason while handing Orange Coast (36-6-1) its first shutout in 95 games, dating back to 2010. Sierra (26-15-1) is 6-0 in this postseason and seeks its second state championship since 2008 under coach Rob Willson. The Wolverines finished fourth in the Big 8 Conference, with Cosumnes River winning it. CRC plays Rio Hondo tonight at 6 p.m.

Orange Coast, state champions in 2009, move into the loser's bracket phase of the event.

For Sierra, Jared Snow had two hits and Eddie Mora-Loerra drove in a run. Eagle struck out Pirates cleanup hitter Stefan Sabol two times as he left three runners on base. Eagle walked three. The inspirational sophomore from Antioch was born with a left-foot abnormality that required five major surgeries before his 10th birthday. Doctors once suggested to his parents that they amputate. Baseball, Eagle said in a recent Bee interview, "made me feel normal, like one of the guys."

Eagle walks with a slight limp and his left foot points toward third base when he's in the wind up. Eagle is know as "The Bulldog" by his teammates and coaches. Willson says of his humble star, "he's just amazing."
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com

May 18, 2012
SureWest Sports names Sheldon basketball coach Rollings and Union Mine volleyball coach Yates as Coaches of the Year

SureWest Sports has named Joey Rollings and Mike Yates as its High School Coaches of the Year for the 2011-12 academic year, SureWest.com host Mike Finnerty announced Friday.

The honors are based on achievement, leadership and sportsmanship.

Rollings led Sheldon to a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I three-peat and to a Northern California large-school championship, the only public school in regional history to do so. Sheldon reached the state title game before losing to national power Mater Dei of Santa Ana. Rollings was also named The Bee's 2012 Boys Basketball Coach of the Year following the season.

Sheldon returns a wealth of talent next season and will attempt to become the first boys team in section history to four-peat in D-I.

Yates led Union Mine of El Dorado to a CIF Division IV State Championship, beating La Jolla Country Day near San Diego 3-1 to cap a 32-5 season. Union Mine played - and beat - a number of larger-school teams during the season.

Winning a state volleyball title is difficult as the only other area team to win a state championship at any level was St. Francis in 2005 at Division III. Yates retired from coaching on top. Yates was also The Bee's 2011 Volleyball Coach of the Year.

Also: we join Mike Finnerty on the SureWest Sports Radio Show on Saturday morning from 9-10 a.m. to break down a wild week of baseball playoffs, including several pitching gems such as David Smith tossing a no-hitter for Elk Grove to beat Napa 1-0. Guests include Elk Grove coach Jeff Carlson.

We will also talk about the SureWest Coaches of the Year, the latest on the Jesuit football coaching search and other news and notes.

Here is the link to the SureWest Sports Show page.


May 18, 2012
Cosumnes Oaks to host five section girls soccer championships

Five Sac-Joaquin Section girls soccer championship matches will be held Saturday at Cosumnes Oaks High School. Two others will be held at Lincoln of Stockton.

Here is the schedule as released by section media director Will DeBoard:

At Cosumnes Oaks HS, Elk Grove
Division VI: Forest Lake Christian vs. Bradshaw Christian, 10 a.m.
Division V: West Campus vs. Dixon, noon
Division III: Antelope vs. Rio Americano, 2 p.m.
Division IV: Cosumnes Oaks vs. Vista del Lago, 4 p.m.
Division II: Woodcreek vs. Del Oro, 6 p.m.

At Lincoln HS, Stockton
Division VII: Millennium vs. Trinity Prep, 10 a.m.
Division I: St. Mary's vs. Franklin-EG, noon

May 18, 2012
Davis, Del Oro are entered in CIF NorCal boys tennis playoffs

Davis and Del Oro are entered in the 10-team CIF Northern California Regional boys tennis championships that will be held Friday and Saturday at the Natomas Racquet Club.

Davis, which beat Jesuit 5-4 for its fourth consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title last Friday, plays Monte Vista of Danville at 11:30 a.m. today.

Also playing at the same time on a different court, Del Oro will play Bellarmine of San Jose.

The Golden Eagles defeated Sierra Foothill League rival Granite Bay 5-4 last week for the D-II section championship.

The championship match will be held 2 p.m. Saturday.

May 17, 2012
Del Oro, Woodcreek wins set up all SFL D-II girls soccer final

Del Oro's Jordan McDaniel scored three goals tonight to lead the Golden Eagles to a 4-0 win over Casa Roble in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II girls soccer semifinals in Loomis.

The win sets up an all-Sierra Foothill League championship final on Saturday at Cosumnes Oaks High School.

Woodcreek defeated Bella Vista 1-0 in the other semifinal. Lauren Hayano scored from an assist by Erien Matsueda while goalie Alyssa Rushing had four saves in posting the shutout.

In other semifinals today:

May 17, 2012
David Smith of Elk Grove no-hits Napa in 1-0 Division I baseball playoff classic

David Smith suspected he might get some work Thursday night, but not with this sort of entry and with these results.

When Elk Grove High School starter Rowdy Tellez walked off the mound with a tweaked sore left elbow after hyperextending it in a fall earlier in the week, Smith was immediately summoned to action.

The 6-foot-3 junior with a breaking pitch, changeup and fastball calmly delivered one of the most memorable efforts in Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North playoff history, tossing an unusual combination no-hitter to beat Napa 1-0 at Sacramento City College.

Tellez recorded one out before switching to first base. From there, it was a duel with Napa's Brett Obranovich, who came in 10-1 and allowed two hits against the mashing Thundering Herd before departing in the seventh. Smith struck out nine and walked two, and then he worked over a lollipop after the game to ease his nerves.

"I didn't expect this," said Smith, who improved to 6-0 and moved the Thundering Herd into Saturday's double-elimination round against Delta Valley Conference rival Franklin.
Elk Grove coach Jeff Carlson said of all his years playing and coaching it, he can't recall being more frantic.

"I've never been more nervous than that last inning; I wanted him to have (that no-hitter) so bad," Carlson said. "It's crazy. It's not how I drew it up. I can't say enough about David and his composure."

Nick Madrigal scored the lone run in the first inning on a Dom Nunez infield groundout. Madrigal walked and reached third on a wild pitch. Tellez could return to the mound as early as Saturday.

Said deflated Napa coach Todd Pridy, "It was a tough spill swallow. You get 21 outs and you can't manage a hit. But I'm proud of these guys."

* Davis 5, Oak Ridge 2 - Ben Eckels struck out 12, and batterymate George Hatamiya had a leadoff single in honor of his late mother as the Blue Devils knocked out the third and final Delta River League heavyweight from this D-I tournament. Pleasant Grove and Jesuit lost openers on Wednesday.

Eckels pitched what he and coach Dan Ariola deemed his best game of the season. Hatamiya's mother Nancy died Tuesday after a year-long battle with lung cancer. She pleaded with her son to continue playing. Joe Murray had two hits and two RBIs, Chris Gnos had three hits and drove in a run, Bobby Young had an RBI double and Eckels and John Ariola each had RBIs for Davis, which plays Vacaville on Saturday at noon.

"That's why I'm out here because mom wanted me to play, and I needed to play," Hatamiya said. "Feels good to win this."

Said Davis coach Dan Ariola, "We wanted to win it for Nancy and Ben was in control, outstanding."

* Rocklin 1, Rosemont 0 - Tanner McVey struck out 11, allowed two hits and overcame three Thunder errors in Division II opener at American River College. Christian Bennett had two of Rocklin's five hits, including scoring Jake Faulkner in the fifth. Faulkner doubled with two outs. McVey struck out the last batter in the fourth after his only walk. Rosemont's Sam Long allowed five hits and walked two.

* Woodcreek 4, Bella Vista 0 - Despite the flu, Stephen Nogosek struck out 10 and allowed three hits to eliminate the Broncos in another D-II opener. Woodcreek will play Sierra Foothill League rival Rocklin in a best of three series
starting on Saturday. Nogosek's performance came nearly a year after his 16-strikeout,
one-hit 2-0 win in the Timberwolves' 2011 D-II opener against Casa Roble.

* Placer 12, River Valley 1 - A.J. Sanchez slugged a grandslam, Kevin Giles had four RBIs and Ryan Mason allowed two hits, walked two and struck out nine for the Hillmen in a Division III opener. Mason, the Cal-bound senior ace, also had two hits.
- By Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson.
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 17, 2012
Nogosek strikes out 10 in leading Woodcreek past Bella Vista

Stephen Nogosek is a formidable pitcher any time of year. But the 6-foot-2 junior seems to hit an even stronger stride once the playoffs start, even when he's not 100 percent.

Nogosek struck out 10 and didn't allow a hit after the first batter in the second inning to lead Woodcreek to a 4-0 win over Bella Vista in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II do-or-die baseball opener tonight at American River College.

The performance came nearly a year after his 16-strikeout, one-hit 2-0 win in the Timberwolves' 2011 D-II opener against Casa Roble.

While not quite as sharp as last year's outing because he was battling the flu - Nogosek walked five and hit a batter - Bella Vista couldn't get much going after getting two singles in the first and another to lead off the second.

Shaun Mize's first-inning run on a passed ball after he tripled to lead off the game was all Nogosek needed.

But Woodcreek added plenty of insurance with three runs in the third inning on three hits, three walks and a steal of home by Alex Montes. That's no surprise. Woodcreek stole 73 bases during the season.

May 17, 2012
Davis baseball beats Oak Ridge to honor mother of team captain Hatamiya; Eckels strikes out 12

George Hatamiya honored his mother with a lead-off base hit and his pitching pal batterymate Ben Eckels honored her even more with his best effort of an already impressive season.

With its two anchor stars leading the way, Davis High School eliminated Oak Ridge from the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North baseball playoffs on Thursday afternoon with a 5-2 victory at Sacramento City College to cap an emotional week that went well beyond balls and strikes.

Hatamiya's mother Nancy succumbed to lung cancer Tuesday after a courageous year-long battle. She pleaded with her son the to continue his catching duties and to represent his family, school and town. Eckels struck out 12 in a complete-game two-hitter against a lineup that generally feeds off fastballs to advance the Blue Devils into Saturday's double-elimination round.

And just like that, the Delta River League is on vacation. DRL heavies Pleasant Grove, Jesuit and Oak Ridge each bowed out in the first game here. Each spent time as The Bee's top-ranked team.

Davis of the Delta Valley Conference came in No. 2 by The Bee and features the sort of senior leadership and pitching staff to make a title run. Players embraced Hatamiya before and after the game. There was a moment of silence, and Hatamiya's father Lon was among those who applauded every Davis run and Eckles strikeout.

"That's why I'm out here because mom wanted me to play, and I needed to play," Hatamiya said. "Feels good to win this."

Said Davis coach Dan Ariola, "We wanted to win it for Nancy. Our guys were on. Very resilient."

Said Eckels: "I felt great. I feel really good for George."

Eckels said he also thought of Scott Heinig, his pitching coach at Davis last season who was also a close friend. A former Davis High and UC Davis pitcher, Heinig died last spring.

Davis won section titles in 2001 and 2004 in compiling a streak of seven consecutive opening-round wins in this event. The Blue Devils lost its last three openers coming in, including to Oak Ridge last season.

"Great win, and now we're in it," Airola said. "Oak Ridge can really rip the ball, but Ben was in control. Best game he's thrown. Outstanding."

Joe Murray had two hits and an RBI, Chris Gnos had three hits and drove in a run, Bobby Young had an RBI double and Eckels and John Ariola each had RBIs for Davis, which plays Vacaville on Saturday at noon. Vacaville beat Jesuit 3-2 on Wednesday.

Oak Ridge finished 20-8. Leadoff hitter Alec de Watteville had a home run and Lance Berringer a triple for the Trojans of El Dorado Hills.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter @sb_joedavidson

May 17, 2012
Franklin tops Turlock; will play for first girls section soccer title

It's a busy day today for Franklin senior Crystal Vega.

There is the 6 p.m. graduation at Power Balance Pavilion, then the post-grad party tonight at an area bowling alley.

But there was another piece of business to take care earlier this afternoon - helping her Franklin girls soccer team achieve history.

The Wildcats defeated Turlock 1-0 in the Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals to advance to their first championship finale.

Franklin (18-4-2) will play the winner of tonight's Folsom-St. Mary's game Saturday at either Cosumnes Oaks or Lincoln of Stockton.

Vega is the captain and one of only two seniors on a team that has grown up fast.

Franklin beat and tied perennial power and defending D-I champion Davis to win the Delta Valley Conference. In the playoffs, Franlin beat another perennial power, St. Francis, 2-1, and edged Vintage of Napa 5-4 on penalty kicks in Tuesday's quarterfinals.

Today's match, which started at 1 p.m. to accommodate the graduations of Vega and Ashley Matarelli, wasn't nearly as close as the score indicated.

Although junior Tatyana Garrett scored the game's only goal midway through the first half, the Wildcats dominated play against Turlock (4-4-5) with at least a half-dozen near misses on goal.

"That was a little frustrating," said Vega, who missed several close shots, including a blast that bounced off the far post. "But we played well. This was fun to be able to make a little bit of history for girls soccer at our school."

Franklin coach Eliseo Lopez enjoys watching his team play.

"I didn't think they were going to be this good because we are so young," said Lopez, in his eighth season as coach. "But they have chemistry, and they are hungry."

They also have depth.

Lopez' JV team went undefeated even though he elevated freshmen sensations Lauren Williams and Kyra Taylor to the varsity seven matches into the season.

Both made all-Delta Valley Conference, and Williams leads the team in scoring with 23 goals, although the forward wasn't in the lineup Thursday.

She was participating in a 5 versus 5 international tournament in Munich, Germany. But she's expected to fly back to Sacramento early Saturday morning.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll have her for the championship," Lopez said. "But either way I think the girls are ready to show their talent."

May 17, 2012
McVey hurls gem as Rocklin beats Rosemont in D-II opener

Tanner McVey struck out 11, allowed two hits and overcame three errors to lead Rocklin to a 1-0 win over Rosemont in the do-or-die Sac-Joaquin Section Division II baseball opener today at American River College.

Christian Bennett, who had two of Rocklin's five hits, singled in Jake Faulkner with the game's only run in the fifth inning. Faulkner doubled with two outs.

McVey struck out the last two batters in the first inning after Rocklin errors put Rosemont runners at second and third with one out.

He struck out the last batter in the fourth after his only walk and another error put runners at second and third again.

Rosemont's Sam Long pitched well in losing effort. He allowed five hits and walked was a hard-luck loser for Rosemont. He allowed five hits and walked two.

May 16, 2012
Franklin-Elk Grove eliminates Bee No. 1 Pleasant Grove in D-I baseball opener

By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com

It hasn't been a breeze of a season by any measure for the Franklin Wildcats baseball team.

There was the slow, out-of-the-gates start when the bats were as cool as the weather, followed by an 4-0 effort in the Fresno Easter Tournament. A third-place finish in a power-packed Delta Valley Conference that includes Elk Grove and Davis placed Franklin in a play-in Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North contest Monday in Yountville. Surviving that, Franklin played like a team that has come of age and fears no obstacle in belting Bee No. 1 Pleasant Grove 11-5 on Wednesday at Sacramento City College to formally enter the serious contender category.

"I really liked our chances and think we can be the best team in the section if we play like we can," Franklin coach Bryan Kilby said. "Our guys really respond to adversity. They're fired up. It's a super group of kids."

The Wildcats (19-9) led 11-1 after their half of the third inning. They scored five in the first off ace Zach cq Stilwell, who has been dominant at times this season but hit three, walked three and surrendered three hits in that five-run first. All told, Franklin smacked 15 hits, and Josh Pigg struck out five to earn the win.

With Tyler Blake and Kyle Von Ruden now with healthy arms to go with Brandon Keup, the pitching staff is poised for a title run. Blake had three hits and three RBIs, Kyle Zanzi had three RBIs, Kyle Von Ruden drove in two, Connor Adams had two hits and Taylor Watersr had two doubles.

Pleasant Grove (22-6) had beaten Franklin 8-6 and 3-0 in nonleague games, and the Eagles also beat Oak Ridge twice and previous No. 1 Jesuit twice to win the Delta River League. But somewhere on the way to this venue, the wheels fell off on Highway 99.
"I didn't see this coming, and give credit to Franklin," Pleasant Grove coach Rob Rinaldi said. "Matt Stafford pitched well (in relief) and had four zeroes on the scoreboard, but it was too late. It was a slow torture for us."

J.Q. Folena, superb at shortstop and the plate all season for Pleasant Grove, homered in his final appearance for the Eagles.

* Vacaville 3, Jesuit 2 - Elway Santistevan scattered six hits and his defense threw out a runner at home and picked off two on the bases to stun Bee No. 3 Jesuit, eliminating the two-time defending North champions.

The Bulldogs of the Monticello Empire League played relaxed and aggressive, executing double steals and behaving like a team that fully expected to win this. It is Vacaville's first playoff win since the 1990s after some crushing opening-game, elimination losses, including 5-3 to Jesuit in 2007.

Vacaville (18-9) lost to Pleasant Grove 4-3 and beat Davis 4-3 and Franklin 3-1 early this season in nonleague games.

"We showed up here, we competed and we played well," Vacaville coach Abe Hobbs said. "Elway doesn't pass the eye test, but that's a competitive young man."

Vacaville reliever Anthony Gonsolin struck out Zach Green swinging with a man on and two outs in the bottom of the seventh to end it. Logan James struck out eight for Jesuit (20-8). For Vacaville, Gonsolin and Ben Gamba had RBIs and Santistevan had two hits.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 16, 2012
Vacaville stuns Jesuit 3-2 in Section D-I North playoff opener

He doesn't pass the look test, but he certainly passes with flying colors otherwise.

Say hello to Elway Santistevan, a 5-foot-6 junior pitcher for Vacaville High School who introduced his off-speed pitches and drive to the two-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North champions on Wednesday night.

With Santistevan scattering six hits against a formidable lineup and his teammates playing superb defense and taking advantage of four errors, Vacaville stunned Jesuit 3-2 to bounce Big Red and suddenly elevate itself into Saturday's double-elimination phase
at Sacramento City College.

Santistevan only struck out two, but he piled up shutout innings, thanks in part to a defense that picked off runners at first base or threw out runners at home. The Bulldogs of the Monticello Empire League played relaxed and aggressive, executing double steals and behaving like a team that fully expected to win this. It is Vacaville's first playoff win since the 1990s after some crushing opening-game, elimination losses, including 5-3 to Jesuit in 2007.

Vacaville lost to Pleasant Grove 4-3 and beat Davis 4-3 and Franklin 3-1 early.
"We showed up, we competed and we played well," Vacaville coach Abe Hobbs said. "Elway doesn't pass the eye test, but that's a competitive young man."

So was the man who relieved him in the bottom of the seventh. Jesuit, ranked third by The Bee and second by NorCalPreps.com, cut it to 3-2 on a Louis Mejia fielder's choice RBI, setting up Zach Green with two outs. Jesuit's senior slugger struck out swinging to end it on a high, hard fastball by Anthony Gonsolin.

As for Santistevan, he said his lifetime baseball highlight was a no-hitter in Texas as part of a summer All-Star travel team as an eighth grader. This might wind up topping that.
"Fearless," he said of his mentality. "Compete against anyone."

Jesuit's four errors led to two unearned runs for Vacaville. Gonsolin and Ben Gamba had RBIs and Santistevan had two hits.

Julian Barron and Andre Gregory had two hits each for Jesuit, which spent several weeks this season top-ranked by The Bee after beating previous No. 1 Oak Ridge two out of three times in one week.

Jesuit will bid farewell to seniors such as Green, Mejia, Parker Abercrombie, Max Eggleston, Nick Viola, Joe Williams, Gabe Araj and Logan James, who struck out eight in his final Marauders appearance. He is headed to Stanford.

Jesuit will return a wealth of talent, including Gregory, Barron, Lorenzo Arcuri, Jordan Hanlin, Dan Johnson, Alex Larivee and Josh Falco.

Jesuit coach Joe Potulny, winner of five section championships at his alma mater, offered long embraces to his players. He said that if you coach this sport long enough, you experience the wins and the crushing quick-exit losses. Here, the engine seized up.

"It did today," the coach said. "I feel bad for the seniors. This is a tough way to go out. We as coaches get to come back and do it again next year. Vacaville was tough. I was very impressed with (Santistevan). He competed his rear end off."
-By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 16, 2012
Henderson sisters land All-Pac 12 softball honors for Cal

Former Sheldon High School softball players and sisters Jolene Henderson and Danielle Henderson, now teammates at top-ranked Cal, have received All-Pacific 12 Conference honors.

Jolene, a junior, repeated as the Pac-12 Conference Pitcher of the Year. Danielle, a third baseman, made the All-Pac 12 Freshman team and also was All-Pac 12 honorable mention.

Jolene is 29-2 with a 1.22 earned run average; Danielle is hitting .299 with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs.

May 16, 2012
Sacramento AAU teams to participate in Bay Area Classic

Some of Northern California's top players, including a number from Sacramento, will perform in the second annual Bay Area Memorial Day Classic boys basketball tournament May 26-28 in Martinez.

The event features 64 AAU teams and is an evaluation event for four-year and community college coaches, according to organizer Gerry Freitas.

Elite division games will be played at Nor Cal Courts, 360 Ferry St., Martinez, and varsity division games at Alhambra High, 150 E. St., Martinez.

May 16, 2012
Antelope's Ashley Hawkins to join sister at Indiana JC

Antelope High School senior Ashley Hawkins has signed a letter of intent to play volleyball and basketball at Vincennes University, a junior college program in Indiana.

Hawkins will join her older sister Taylor, a former Antelope standout who played basketball as a freshmen this past season for the Trailblazers.

May 16, 2012
Optimist All-Star volleyball games are Friday at Capital Christian

The Sacramento Evening Optimist Club will hold boys and girls all-star volleyball games on Friday at Capital Christian High School.

The 5 p.m. boys game - the 15th annual - and the 25th annual girls match to follow feature many of the areas top graduating seniors.

Mike Yates, who led Union Mine to the CIF State Division IV volleyball championship and was The Bee Volleyball coach of the Year last fall, will coach the Girls South Team that includes his own Maddy Berridge, Lea Howton, Jacqueline Swarbrick and Mikayla Tucker, The Bee Girls Volleyball Player of the Year.

May 15, 2012
Folsom knocks defending D-I champ Davis from soccer playoffs

Another perennial power has been ousted from the girls soccer playoffs while another area team needed a late overtime goal to prevail on penalty kicks in today's Sac-Joaquin Section Division I quarterfinals.

Folsom knocked defending D-I section champion Davis from the postseason with a 2-0 win in Folsom. Alyssa Jara and McCall Madriago had goals for the Bulldogs.

With Franklin beating D-1 section runner-up St. Francis 2-1 last Thursday, it means a team other than Davis or St. Francis will win this year's D-I title for the first time since Beyer of Modesto in 2002.

May 15, 2012
Ponderosa takes aim at first D-I section softball championship

DIVISION I

FAVORITE

• Ponderosa (17-7): With Delta River League teams taking four of past five D-I section titles, the Bruins are favorites after winning the "Super League."

CONTENDERS

• Sheldon (15-9): The defending D-I champs remain dangerous behind pitcher Alexis Cooper (Arizona State), catcher MeShalon Moore (UC Santa Barbara) and outfielder Danielle Wiltz (Nevada).

• Pleasant Grove (17-9): The Eagles finished strong in the DRL as junior slugger Lindsey Willmon (.448 average, 23 RBIs, eight homers) led the way.

May 15, 2012
Rodriguez, Nelson to play women's basketball at William Jessup

Whitney's Alexandra Rodriguez and Ponderosa's Olivia Nelson have signed to play women's basketball at William Jessup University.

Rodriguez, a 5-foot-9 shooting guard, was a three-time All-Capital Athletic League first team player and led the league in scoring as a senior, averaging 18.5 points per game.

Nelson, a 5-4 point guard, played four varsity seasons at Ponderosa and was twice named to the All-Delta River League team. As a senior, she averaged 13 points, 3.3 steals and two assists.

May 15, 2012
Franklin-Elk Grove beats Vintage in Division I baseball opener; takes on Bee No. 1 Pleasant Grove next

Franklin High School beat Vintage 6-2 on Monday in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I outbracket game, and now the real fun starts.

The Wildcats of Elk Grove received a complete-gem effort Kyle Von Ruden, allowing one earned run as he rounds back into form after an early season saw him slowed by an arm strain. Von Ruden also had three hits and drove in a run, Ryan Sarginson had two hits and scored a run, Taylor Waters had a triple and two RBIs and Kyle Zanzi had two hits for Franklin, which not takes on Pleasant Grove on Wednesday at Sacramento City College at 1 p.m.

That game is followed by Jesuit-Vacaville at 4 p.m.

On Thursday at Sac City, Davis takes on Oak Ridge, followed by Elk Grove-Napa.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com

May 14, 2012
Breaking down the Sac-Joaquin Section baseball playoffs, all divisions

Here's a closer look at the Sac-Joaquin Section baseball playoffs. This is a more indepth preview than the one that will run in the print version of The Bee on Tuesday (more space online allows for such luxuries)

Division I
Favorite
Pleasant Grove (22-5) - The Eagles have played beyond their years under veteran coach Rob Rinaldi with two wins over Jesuit, two over Oak Ridge and two over Franklin; seek first title under coach Rob Rinaldi, who won his first at Woodland 20 seasons ago. Senior leaders include ace Zach Stilwell (6-2), Tyler Rathjen (5-1) and JQ Folena, who is superb at the plate and at shortstop. Open with Franklin on Wednesday, a team they have beaten twice this season.

Contenders
Jesuit (20-7) - The Marauders seek their fourth North title since 2008 and seventh overall, all under coach Joe Potulny. Big Red has a strong lineup with Zach Green, Louis Mejia and Logan James, and there are plenty of arms for another push. Team is steaming from losing to Pleasant Grove twice down the stretch. Open with Vacaville on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
St. Mary's-Stockton (21-6) - The Rams seek a three-peat and their fifth title-round appearance since 2007, all under coach Pete Pijl. The Rams have a win over Elk Grove this season and lost to Jesuit.
Elk Grove (19-7) - There is excellent production with Rowdy Tellez (.587, 46 RBIs, eight doubles, six home runs), Dom Nunez (.447, 18 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs) and Derek Hill (.452, 19 RBIs). Can the pitching match the bats? Coach Jeff Carlson seeks a seventh North title and fourth section banner since 2002.
Davis (20-6) - The Blue Devils have a strong staff with ace Ben Eckels (5-2), Matt Trask (3-2) and Reinert Toft (4-1, 5 saves); catcher George Hatamiya is the leader. Coach Dan Ariola, a Davis graduate, seeks his third North title.
Oak Ridge (20-7) - There are hitters in Alec de Watteville (.415, 28 RBIs, 35 runs), Zack Mahon (.400, 25 RBIs), Mason Watkins (.373, 22 RBIs) and plenty of pitchers Alex Fitchett, Lance Berringer, Jared Ross and Austin Root to make a run to the title. The Trojans and coach Todd Melton reached the North finals last season.
Franklin (17-9) - The Wildcats beat Vintage of Napa 6-2 in a play-in game on Monday and now draw Pleasant Grove. With Kyle Von Ruden and Tyler Blake now back in the pitching rotation after resting sore arms, Franklin has a lot of arms to go with ace Josh Pigg. Leadoff hitter Hank LoForte sets the table for coach Bryan Kilby.

Division II
Favorite
Granite Bay (20-6) - The Sierra Foothill League champion Grizzlies are led by Aaron Knapp (.434 20 RBIs), Ryan Rosa (.453, 22), Nick LeBeau (.312, 20), Devin Lehman (.364, 27) and Brett Bautista .306, 26); Brendan Keeney is 5-0. He was the star quarterback for the football team in its D-I championship run.
Contenders
Rocklin (16-10) - The Thunder seek their fourth title since 2007 under coach Roc Murray, who has a young, yet talented roster. The SFL races prepare teams here as SFL teams have played in the title game five of the last six seasons.
Bella Vista (20-6) - The Broncos can pitch with Ryan Locke and David Dellaserra a combined 9-1. Locke (.463, 22 RBIs) and Dellaserra (.358, 14) also hit. The Broncos as a team smacked 52 doubles.
Woodcreek (20-6) - The Timberwolves have a staff ERA of 2.52 with ace Stephen Nogosek (5-0) facing Bella Vista in the opener; Woodcreek battled Granite Bay and Rocklin in SFL.
McClatchy (19-7) - The Lions open with equally as strong Oakmont and will look to unleash slugger Jared James (section-leading seven home runs).

Division III
Favorite
Yuba City (21-6) - The Honkers seek their fifth title since 2007. Jake Cormier (.333, 27 RBIs) and Robbie Kunkle (.341, 20 RBIs) are the top hitters; Zach Oakley and Chandler Eden area a combined 14-1.
Contenders
Placer (18-7) - The Hillmen have two aces in Ryan Mason (6-0) and A.J. Sanchez (7-3) and a slugging threat with Eddie Vanderdoes (.397, four homers) and a base stealer in Austin LeBleu (eight steals).
Rodriguez (19-8) - The Mustangs of Fairfield lost to Benicia in the final last season and are led by pitchers Dylan Dumapay (9-3) and Jesse Scholtens (5-0).
El Camino (17-10) - Despite decades of good teams, the Eagles have never played for a section title. Mike Frantz, Alex Morales, Chad Hirano and Derek Ruff have combined for 15 wins.

Division IV
Favorite
Oakdale (23-4) - The Mustangs seek a title three-peat and the program's fifth banner since 2007. Ace Logan Handzlik is 9-1.
Contenders
El Dorado (24-2-1) - The Cougars placed second in this event in 2009 and 2010 and look to program's first title in any division.
Vista del Lago (19-8) - The Eagles of Folsom have two wins over El Dorado from the competitive Sierra Valley Conference and seek first title appearance.
Central Catholic (19-5) - The Raiders of Modesto have won an all-levels record 11 section titles. Coach Mike Glines has also won 12 championships as the school's football coach.

Division V
Favorite
Capital Christian (23-3) - The Cougars won the title in 2009 under coach Nelson Randolph after runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2008. Aces Ben Ritchey and Terrance Bremby have gone a combined 16-3. Mauricio Dubon has hit .563 with nine doubles, eight triples, four homers and 45 RBIs. Ben Ritchey has hit .515 with 11 doubles and 31 RBIs.
Contenders
Escalon (23-1-1) - The Cougars seek a three-peat under coach Greg Largent on a campus rich with a culture of winning. The football team has long been a small-school state power. Pitchers Brent Montgomery, Vince Valencia and Nathan Chunn are a combined 22-1, so pick your ace. Escalon has 15 homers.
Calaveras (13-10) - Never mind the overall record as the Redskins of Calaveras have played a lot of larger schools, and they beat Linden in Mother Lode League play twice.
Linden (22-4) - The Lions have rely on arms Justin Giovannoni (8-2) and Brandon Taylor (5-1) and leading hitter Mikey Clark (.442, 30 RBIs).

Division VI
Favorite
Bradshaw Christian (23-4) - The Pride of Sacramento seeks a repeat and the program's third title, regardless of division, under coach Drew Rickert. Leading arms Blake Stassi and Austin Ragsdale are a combined 13-2 and Grant Heisinger is batting .600 with 26 RBIs.
Contenders
Woodland Christian (17-3) - The Cardinals are led by arms Castaneda (7-1) and Norton (6-0). Castaneda is batting .500 with 25 RBIs. The Lions did not win a game in 2008 or 2009 as a new program and went 10-9 last season, so progress has been swift.
Mariposa (15-5-1) - The Grizzlies have three losses by three or fewer runs and have scored 10 or more runs 11 times.

Division VII
Favorite
Valley Christian (19-6) - The Lions of Roseville seek their four title since 2008 under coach Brad Gunter, he of the gnarly beard in the team's quest to "Fear the Beard." Valley Christian has won 15 consecutive games, has pitchers, sluggers and a good defense - and a culture of winning.
Contenders
Millennium (17-7) - The Falcons of Tracy are led by Jose Avila (21 RBIs), Austin Larson (24 RBIs) and Gavin Compton (30 RBIs)

May 14, 2012
Smotherman; Granite Bay golf enjoy record-breaking days

Del Oro's Austin Smotherman and Granite Bay turned in record
performances at today's Sac-Joaquin Section boys golf championships at
The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton.

Smotherman shot a seven-under-par 65, the lowest score in the history
of the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters/Section championships dating back
to 1944.

Granite Bay shot the lowest Masters round (which began in 2007) and
the second-lowest score in section championship history with a 363.

May 14, 2012
Halsted, Whittle help lead Davis to overall section swim title

Matt Whittle, a sophomore, and Tara Halsted, a junior, each won two events and were members of first place relay teams that helped Davis to win the team title at Saturday's Sac-Joaquin Section swim championships in Lodi.

The Blue Devils had 541 combined points to finish well ahead of Granite Bay with 470 points.

The Davis girls won their 17th section team title with 307 points while the Davis boys took third with 234 points.

Whittle repeated as a section 100 breast champion with a winning time of 55.74 seconds, tying the section record set by fellow Blue Devil Keenan Newman in 2002. Whittle also won the 100 fly in 48.98.

Freshman Riley Hickman, who attends Harper Junior High because Davis does not have a ninth grade, edged Del Oro senior Brain Westlake in the 200 free. Hickman swam 1:40.30; Westlake was second in 1:40.91.

But Hickman's bid for an individual double was squashed when he was disqualified for a false start in the 100 free. Hickman teamed with Whittle, Connor Stapleton and Jonathan Pun to win the 200 medley relay title in 1:33.94.

Halsted won the 500 free (4:55.70) and 100 back (55.63) and swam on the winning girls 200 medley relay team - along with Alex Rieger, Princeton-bound Beverly Nguyen and Kathlee Benjamin - that broke a 17-year-old section record with a time of 1:44.66. Davis set the old mark of 1:45.49 in 1995.

Rieger, a sophomore, also won the 100 free in 51.68 and took second in the 50 free, an event she won last year as a freshman at St. Francis.

May 13, 2012
Winning yet again on the road, Cosumnes River College baseball wins Super Regional and reaches State Final 4

tony.jpgSAN MATEO - They have traveled near and far, so what's one more road trip to cap what's developed into a record season?

Cosumnes River College, the ultimate road-warrior crew, beat host City College of San Mateo 13-3 on a blustery, coolish late Sunday afternoon in conditions better suited for sailing in the nearby Bay to capture the program's first Northern California Super Regional baseball championship.

CRC lost to San Mateo in the first game Sunday here, forcing a winner-take-all finale, and the Hawks typically rallied against any form of adversity. Next is the California Community College State Championships in Bakersfield, a locale that promises to be a good five-hour drive and a great bit warmer.

At this point, CRC would trek to the Canandian border by horse and buggy if it meant more games. The Hawks of South Sacramento became the only team to win a NorCal Super Regional without the benefit of a single home practice or game as their campus is undergoing a significant athletic facilities upgrade.

"It's amazing what these kids have done," CRC coach Tony Bloomfield said. "I don't know if playing every game on the road and still making the state championships will be done again. We're a small group, and we don't carry that many guys with 19, but we're like a family, like brothers. It's such a resilient group."

The resiliency certainly includes winning pitcher Chris Smart. He went six strong innings after being pulled in the third inning of Friday's Super Regional opener. Bloomfield wanted a fresh, motivated Smart ready in case it came down to this, and he reveled in the results.

"He was eager, and he was great," Bloomfield said of Smart.

Also for CRC, Colby Brenner had four RBIs and Jake Schu, Josh Silver and Luke McDonald each drove in two. Silver also had some more superb plays at shortstop, making spectacular plays look routine.

CRC won the brutally competitive Big 8 Conference title, holding off rivals such as Sierra College, which won the other NorCal Super Regional in Quincy by beating Fresno City in 11 innings (see earlier posted report on Sacbee.com).

Now the Hawks and Sierra College take on what Bloomfield deems "the big boys" from down south. Sierra (25-15-1) opens with Orange Coast College (36-5-1) on Friday at 3 p.m. in Bakersfield, followed by CRC (25-16) taking on Rio Hondo College (38-3). This is a double-elimination, round-robin tournament with the title game set for Sunday.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com

May 13, 2012
Sierra College baseball beats Fresno City in 11 innings to win Super Regional, advancing to State Final 4

Sierra College is back in the California Community College State Baseball Championship Final 4, feeling as if it can still play even better ball.

Four years after winning the title, the Wolverines are greedy for a bit more after winning their Northern California Super Regional in Quincy with a 10-6, 11-inning effort. Sierra scored four times in the 11th, and seldom-used Collin Monagle pitched a scoreless 10th and 11th.

Sierra is 5-0 in the playoffs and now aims for the program's second state championship since 2008 under coach Rob Willson. Brady Steiger had three hits and three RBIs, and Travis Israel, Brad Gerig and Casey Friederich each had two hits for the Wolverines, who turned five double plays.

Sierra beat top-seeded and host Feather River 5-3 in this Super Regional opner on Friday behind ace Josh Eagle, who struck out eight of the first 13 batters he faced in moving to 10-2 on the season.

On Saturday, Sierra beat Fresno City 5-4 on a two-out, two-run home run by Brad Gerig in the eighth inning. Gerig had a bottom-of-the-11th homer to eliminate - and stun - Laney of Oakland in a NorCal Regional playoff opener a week earlier. That put Sierra into Sunday's title game where Fresno City had to win twice to take the title.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 13, 2012
Sierra College softball wins fourth Super Regional title; leads state in home runs with 75

SAN MATEO - Needing to win this the hard way, the Sierra College women's softball team beat Ohlone College twice Sunday afternoon to win its California Community College Northern California Super Regional Championship here in blustery conditions that made routine pop-ups an exercise.

The Wolverines of Rocklin downed the Renegades of Fremont 9-0 in a loser's bracket final early Sunday and then followed with a 16-12 slug fest triumph over the same club to advance to next weekend's State Championship Final Four in what should be toasty warm Bakersfield, a far cry from Sunday's wintry feel.

Sierra has now won four Super Regional titles under coach Darci Brownell, in her 12th season. Sierra played for the state title in 2009.

"We're going to finish it this time," a jubilant Brownell said, her giddy players behind her. "That's our motto - finish. We started this season in Bakersfield in a tournament and now we get to finish."

Brownell said she is continuously amazed by her team's resolve. Sierra played its poorest game of a record dream season in the opener of this Super Regional in the Peninsula, losing to Ohlone 7-3, a team the Wolverines beat three times in the regular season. But Sierra responded with three consecutive wins in the loser's bracket, no easy feat given the competition and toll.

"They did it," Brownell said of her crew. "We've been a team that has overcome so many weird, bizarre things all year. We do well with adversity. Last night, we had to scramble to find new hotel rooms. In the Big 8 Conference championship game, the umpires didn't show up. In another earlier this year, we had a player who got really ill. Things like that, but it's brought us together."

Winning does wonders for adversity good, certainly, and the Wolverines generally win with good defense, stout pitching and the long ball. Brownell also said that of all her years in this sport, this team is also her best in terms of chemistry.

Sierra has hit a state-leading 75 home runs, including two blasts by standout catcher Annette Merjano in the clinching game, finishing with seven RBI. Andrea Martin also had a three-run triple and Leesha Shoemaker had a three-run double in five in that contest.

In the 9-0 early win over Ohlone, State Co-Player of the Year Ashley Osier clubbed a three-run homer and a two-run blast. She has a state-leading 22 homers. Osier also pitched "two outstanding games" in this event, Brownell, including a complete-game, 1-hitter in the 9-0 win.

And catching every single inning of ever game this season after the opener has been Merjano.

"She's been outstanding, amazing," Brownell said. "Against San Mateo (on Saturday) she had four hits and six RBIs. They're all contributing."
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 12, 2012
Records tumble; boys title battle keen at section swim finals

Four new girls records were set and one boys record tied and the Granite Bay boys won one of the most competitive team title battles in Sac-Joaquin Section Swim Championship history today in Lodi.

The highlights:

•The Rio Americano girls set new records in winning the 200 free (one minute, 35.94 seconds) and 400 free (3:28.44) relays, breaking the old marks, respectively, of 1:36.71 in 1995 and 3:28.56 in 2011, both by Davis. It was a nice farewell present to retiring Raiders coach Chris Nissen.

• Granite Bay's Sophie Weber lowered her own section record in winning the 200 individual medley in 2:00.50. She bettered a 14-year-old record last season in swimming 2:01.15.

May 12, 2012
Sierra College softball holds off San Mateo to reach Super Regional finals

SAN MATEO - Now a chance for a bit of payback.

Annette Merjano drove in three and Ashley Osier tossed a complete-game six-hitter with five shutout innings to power Sierra College past host College of San Mateo 6-4 in a Northern California Community College Super Regional loser's bracket final on Saturday.

Sierra will face Ohlone on Sunday here, needing two wins over the Renegades of Fremont to earn the program's second Super Regional title in four years.

Sierra beat Ohlone three times this season but lost to the Renegades 7-3 in a Super Regional opener on Friday in what the coaching staff deemed the downer effort and moment of the season.

The Wolverines were much more spirited and active Saturday, right down to the final out when Bell induced a ground-out to escape a bases-loaded jam. The Bulldogs scored three in the bottom of the seventh to add a degree of drama in a game Sierra otherwise dominated in the first six innings.

Taylor McGregor had a solo home run Saturday against San Mateo, her team's 74th bomb of the season. She had a three-run blast against Ohlone on Friday.

Sierra beat College of the Sequoias 5-4 earlier Saturday to stay alive and is in its fourth Super Regional final and ninth playoff trip under coach Darci Brownell, in her 12th season at the Rocklin school. Sierra reached the state finals in 2009.
-By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com

May 12, 2012
Cosumnes River and Sierra won second-round Super Regional baseball playoff games and are a win away from titles

SAN MATEO - Josh Silver took two years off from college academics and the baseball grind to rediscover himself and grow as a man. Silver missed it too much to stay away, and his return to the sport has been a significant story line for the surging Cosumnes River College Hawks this improbable season.

bloomfield.jpg

The sophomore shortstop from Franklin High School in Elk Grove roped three hits, including two towering doubles, and played more superb defense in inching CRC closer to a bit of school history.

With ace Austin Ales tossing seven consecutive shutout innings and allowing four hits, the Hawks clubbed City College of San Mateo 8-1 on Saturday afternoon in a winner's bracket Northern California Community College Super Regional playoff.

San Mateo (31-11) eliminated Diablo Valley later Saturday 5-2 in a double-elimination finale and now must beat CRC twice today here to deny the Hawks their first Super Regional title in school history.

CRC (24-15) has been in a Super Regional in seven of the past eight seasons, the most of any team in the North. Now they want that one elusive milestone victory.
"It's all coming together and we know that we've got more to do," Silver said, adding that he is delighted to be a student/athlete again. Silver played one season at San Jose State after his prep career before the hiatus.

"I couldn't stay away," Silver said. "I'm a better player, more mature. And it's fun."
Fun also comes in the form of watching Ales work. The freshman from Oak Ridge struck out four and moved to 10-2 on the season with a 1.10 ERA. With Silver and centerfielder Colby Brenner, CRC often makes spectacular plays.

"Silver's the best shortstop I've ever coached, and Brenner is so good out there," CRC coach Tony Bloomfield said. "And Ales - that's our guy. Poised and confident, that's what you want. He looks like a polished veteran out there."

Ales will only be at CRC this season. He will go on a yet-to-be-determined Mormon Mission starting in the fall.

"It's something I really want to do and something I'm ready for," Ales said. "But it'll be hard to leave. We've had so much fun this year."

Bryan Case had two hits and three RBIs for CRC. CRC took a 3-1 lead in the first inning on three hits and two errors. Brenner had an RBI to make it 7-1 and Silver an RBI double for an 8-1 lead in the CRC sixth.

The Hawks are attempting to become the first team to win a Super Regional without the benefit of having a single practice or game at home. CRC is undergoing a massive facilities upgrade.

* Sierra 5, Fresno City 4 - Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning with two outs at Feather River College, Brad Gerig crushed a two-run home, and Ryan Millison tossed his first complete game to put the Wolverines a win away from the program's second Super Regional championship since 2008, when they won the state championship.

Gerig had a bottom-of-the-11th homer to eliminate Laney of Oakland in a Regional playoff opener a week earlier. This time, Wolverines coach Rob Willson cq fantasized about more heroics.

"I swear, I called both his majestic bombs and I do not say that every pitch or opponent," Willson said. "This one was a no-doubt bomb."

Sierra finished second to CRC in the Big 8 Conference, which is looking to produce its fourth state champion since 2004. Sierra and CRC are a combined 8-0 in the playoffs this season.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

Bee file photo of Tony Bloomfield by Andy Alfaro

May 11, 2012
Cosumnes River College, Sierra baseball win NorCal Super Regional openers

Sierra College used another monstrous and inspired outing from ace Josh Eagle and Cosumnes River used a big inning as the Big 8 Conference rivals won Northern California Super Regional baseball openers Friday.

eagle.JPG

Josh Eagle (pictured) struck out eight of the first 13 batters he faced in pitching seven superb innings to improve to 10-2, and Kaden Kamoe stole home with two outs in the eighth inning for an insurance run in a 5-3 victory over top-seeded Feather River, the host school.

Sierra plays Fresno City at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Kamoe's steal made it 4-1. Chris Daniels earned the save for the Wolverines, who won the state title in 2008.

Eagle now has 98 strikeouts, second in the state by three.

"He was great again," Sierra coach Rob Willson said a week after Eagle tossed a complete-game, 9-strikeout gem to beat Laney of Oakland 4-2 in a NorCal Regional opener.

CRC, the Big 8 champion, beat Ohlone 10-4 at San Mateo, scoring three in the top of the sixth for a 5-2 lead. Jake Schu, Phillip Roa and Josh Silver each had three hits. Garrett Heisinger had a sacrifice fly to put CRC up for good at 3-2, scoring Roa. Luke McDonald drove in Shawn Wheeler to make it 4-2, and Blake Harrison earned the win.

CRC now takes on City College of San Mateo on Saturday at 11 a.m. CRC continues to impress as the ultimate road warrior team. Due to construction of a new field on their south Sacramento Campus, the Hawks have not had a single practice or game at home. They are attempting to become the first team in state history to win a Super Regional with the entire season played on the road.

CRC and Sierra can reach the Super Regional finals with a win Saturday in inching closer to the State Final Four. Each program would have to lose twice to be eliminated.

* In women's Super Regional softball action at San Mateo, Ohlone upset Sierra 7-3 to put the Wolverines into the loser's bracket. The Wolverines have to win three consecutive games to win this event.

Sierra had beaten Ohlone three times this season. It now plays College of the Sequoias on Saturday at noon, a team the Wolverines crushed 17-3 earlier this season.
Taylor McGregor had a three-run home run for Sierra, giving her team 73 homers for the season.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

Bee photo of Josh Eagle by Paul Kitagaki Jr.

May 11, 2012
El Camino beats Lincoln on PKs to advance in girls D-III playoffs

El Camino has moved on to the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III girls soccer playoffs after winning a thriller, 3-1 on penalty kicks, Thursday night in Lincoln.

El Camino tied the match 1-1 late in the second half on a goal by Jaqui Ortega off a crossing pass from Carly Nelson. The match remained tied through two 10-minute overtimes before El Camino prevailed on PKs.

El Camino, the third-place finisher in the Capital Athletic League, will play Solano County Athletic Conference champion Benicia 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

In other Division III matches Thursday, Brianna Valencia's 70th minute goal proved the difference as Yuba City beat Vanden 3-2; Rodriguez defeated Natomas 4-1 and Antelope topped Bear River 5-0.

Antelope will play at Inderkum; Rodriguez at Colfax and Yuba City at Rio Americano in other Tuesday matchups.

Rio Americano is the defending section champion.

May 10, 2012
Franklin knocks St. Francis out of girls soccer playoffs

Goals by senior captain Crystal Vega and freshman forward Lauren Williams led Franklin to a 2-1 win over St. Francis in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I girls soccer playoffs today in Elk Grove.

The win knocked the 12-time D-I champions out of the postseason. St. Francis (5-8-4) had played in eight of the last nine D-I finals, winning seven times.

Franklin (17-4-2), the top seed from the Delta Valley Conference, will play Vintage in Tuesday's quarterfinals. Vintage jumped to a 3-0 lead, then held off Oak Ridge 3-2 today. Mandi McBroom and Hannah Miller scored for Oak Ridge.

Defending D-I section champion Davis (20-2-2), runners-up to Franklin in league play this season, also advanced to the quarterfinals with a 4-0 win over visiting Napa (10-8-2).

The Blue Devils' opponent Tuesday will be Delta River League champion Folsom (14-0-3), which beat visiting Laguna Creek (6-6-3) 1-0 on Creighton-bound senior Alyssa Jara's goal.

The match will be played in Folsom.

May 10, 2012
Dominican makes signing of three area basketball stars official

Dominican University of San Rafael men's basketball coach Booker T. Harris has taken a liking to Sacramento area high school players.

Harris has recruited three of the area's top players to compete for his emerging NCAA Division II program.

Bella Vista's K.J. Logue, Yuba City's Matt Hayes and Sacramento Waldorf's Christopher Schwartz-Edmisten have all signed letters of intent with Dominican.

May 10, 2012
SFL showdown for boys team tennis title and free food, too

The Del Oro athletic department is doing everything it can to promote today's Sac-Joaquin Section Division II boys team championship between Sierra Foothill League rivals Granite Bay and Del Oro.

According to section media director Will DeBoard, Del Oro hast tweeted that it will provide free hot dogs and hamburgers to those who attend. The match begins at 3:30 p.m.

The D-I boys team tennis final will pit Jesuit at Davis 3:30 p.m. on Friday. That's no surprise. Those two teams have met for the D-I title the last 14 seasons. During that span Jesuit has won nine times; Davis five times, including the last three.

The D-III coed team tennis final has Escalon playing Placer 3:30 p.m. on Friday at Oak Park in Stockton. Placer has won three of the last five coed titles.

May 9, 2012
Pleasant Grove freshman's walk-off grand slam sinks Sheldon

Freshman Kaylen Minnatee's two-out, walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning today lifted No. 4 Pleasant Grove to a stunning 4-2 win over No. 5 Sheldon in the Delta River League girls softball finale.

With the win, the Eagles (17-9, 7-3) secured the competitive league's No. 2 seed for next week's Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

Defending Division I section champion Sheldon (15-9, 6-4), despite the loss, gets the No. 3 seed because of its two wins over No. 6 St. Francis (15-9-1, 6-4) in head-to-head play.

The Troubadours lost at home today 1-0 to league champion and No. 3 Ponderosa (17-7, 8-2).

May 9, 2012
Vanderdoes, Smith nominated for Army all-star football game

Defensive linemen Eddie Vanderdoes of Placer and Sam Smith of Cosumnes Oaks are among 39 California football players nominated for the Army All-American Bowl Jan. 13 in San Antonio's Alamodome.

May 9, 2012
Rocklin's Zachary Dahla receives CIF Spirit of Sport honor

Rocklin's Zachary Dahla has been named a CIF Spirit of Sport Award boys winner for the spring.

The award is given to those athletes heavily involved in their school and community.

Dahla, a three-year player on the Thunder boys volleyball team who made all-Sierra Foothill League honorable mention this season, is Rocklin's student body president and serves as a student representative to the Rocklin Unified School District Board.

He helped Rocklin to a 16-4 record and runner-up SFL finish to Granite Bay this season. The Thunder plays host to Jesuit in Thursday's D-I playoffs. It's a rematch of teams that played in last season's D-I final, won by Rocklin.

May 8, 2012
St. Francis opens with 4-1 win in D-I girls soccer playoffs

Anna Gregg, Nikki Clark, Aliska Berry and Kaity Barr scored goals today to lead St. Francis past Will C. Wood 4-1 in opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I girls soccer playoffs in Vacaville.

St. Francis, the No. 3 seed from the Delta River League and last year's D-I section runners-up, will play at Delta Valley Conference champion Franklin of Elk Grove 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.

May 8, 2012
Granite Bay wins D-II golf; McClatchy's Woodfork shoots 71

Sierra Foothill League rivals Granite Bay and Del Oro went one-two today in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II boys golf championships at Rancho Murieta.

Granite Bay had 387, Del Oro 391 and Christian Brothers 400 to advance to Monday's Masters championship at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton.

McClatchy's Julian Woodfork was the medalist, shooting a one-under 71. Del Oro's Austin Smotherman and Christian Brothers Andrej Bevins and Kit Carson each shot 72s.

Woodfork advances as an individual to the Masters.

May 8, 2012
Top-ranked Del Oro beats No. 2 Woodcreek 3-2 for series sweep

Top-ranked Del Oro rallied for a run in the sixth and two in the seventh to defeat No. 2 Woodcreek 3-2 today in Roseville to sweep the three-game Sierra Foothill League softball series with the Timberwolves.

Hanna Miller had a triple and single and drove in all three Del Oro (18-4-2, 13-2) runs to back the pitching of Jordan Courage.

Jenna Curtan and Frankie Orlando each had two hits for Woodcreek (20-4, 11-4), which scored single runs in the second and third innings.

Both teams will advance to the upcoming Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs.

May 8, 2012
Brian Heath of Del Oro High School and Sacramento State lands Raiders rookie tryout

Brian Heath of Del Oro High School and Sacramento State has been invited to the Oakland Raiders rookie mini camp this weekend. Heath will be given a chance to gain a summer training camp offer as a long snapper.

Heath was a standout at Del Oro in Loomis who played tight end and long-snapped for Sac State. His senior season at Sac State was in 2009. The Raiders called because there's always a need for long snappers and Heath is a low-risk chance.

The Heath family has long been known for football. Jason Heath played offensive line for Del Oro and UNLV. Youngest brother Zach grew up getting worked over in the yard by brutish older brothers, all amid laughter, and emerged as a pillar on the Del Oro offensive line last season when the Golden Eagles won the Sierra Foothill League, the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship and reached the D-II CIF State Bowl game in Carson.

Zach will attend American River College this fall. The Beavers have emerged as a junior college power, coming off of seasons of 10-1 and 11-0. Zach's line coach is Jon Osterhout, who played at Oakmont and Sacramento State and has a sterling reputation as a coach.

Julie Heath, the family mom, is a CPA, and her husband Wilbur was revered as the director of football operations at Del Oro, tooling around in a golf cart to monitor the action, or helping set up, dine and take apart the bar-b-que during tail-gate scenes.

Wilbur talked about the misery of not having any more Del Oro football sons, but football is hardly over in the trenches for his lads.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 8, 2012
Cosumnes Oaks WR Alex Van Dyke receives first scholarship offer - from Cal

Alex Van Dyke is a sophomore, finishing up his track and field season at Cosumnes Oaks High School in Elk Grove with a wide-eyed look at the future. More sports, more memorable moments, such as catching touchdown passes as a long, lanky, swift receiver for an up-and-coming program.

The affable young man can't seem to wander across campus these days without running into a college football coach - or two or three - on scene to observe him. His first formal scholarship offer came Monday, from Cal. Expect more to come.

"He will get 40 offers when it's all said and done," Cosumnes Oaks coach Scooter Gomes said.

May 8, 2012
Pleasant Grove DL Nick Terry has two scholarship offers with more to come

Nick Terry of Pleasant Grove High School in Elk Grove had a strong season last fall, is stronger than ever now and has suddenly surged on the college recruiting radar.

The 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive lineman has recent scholarship offers from Nevada and Colorado State with a lot more expected to come his way. Said Pleasant Grove coach Joe Cattolico of Terry, "He's an outstanding young man and football player, an excellent motor. Very strong and diligent in the weight room. He might have been our leading tackler last year which is tough to do as a DL."

Terry was a key piece to Pleasant Grove's championship march the last two seasons. The Eagles expect to have another strong team this fall and could very well be a Sacramento Bee preseason Top 10 team amid Grant, Elk Grove, Nevada Union, Franklin, Del Oro, Granite Bay, Jesuit, Inderkum, Placer and others.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 8, 2012
American River College QB accepts scholarship to Louisiana Tech

Andy McAlindon, who quarterbacked American River College to its finest football season last fall, has signed a national letter-of-intent to play on scholarship at Louisiana Tech.

A San Mateo native, McAlindon made his decision over the weekend. He will compete for the backup job this fall a year after he set ARC records for yards passing (2.875) and touchdowns (36) in leading the Beavers to their first 11-0 season in school history.

Senior Colby Cameron is the returning starter at quarterback for Louisiana Tech after splitting duty last fall and passing for 1,667 yards. Cameron took over as the starter in October. McAlindon will be eligible to play three seasons at Louisiana Tech and expects to be the starter in 2013.

May 7, 2012
Pleasant Grove rallies with 3 in the last inning to beat No. 1 Jesuit; teams play two more times

Round I went to Pleasant Grove High School on Monday in a battle of title contenders in the Delta River League.

The Eagles of Elk Grove scored three times in the bottom of the seventh inning, highlighted by Matt Stafford's walk-off hit up the middle, for a wild 6-5 victory over Bee No. 1 Jesuit.

Aces Zach Stilwell and Logan James combined for 11 shutout innings before fatigue finally set in for the stellar seniors. Jesuit scored five times in the top of the seventh and basked momentarily in that thrill ride before Pleasant Grove responded in front of an overflow crowd with its rally.

The teams play Tuesday at Jesuit and cap the regular season Wednesday back at Pleasant Grove. Pleasant Grove is 21-4 overall and 12-1 in league play, losing only to Oak Ridge. Jesuit is 19-6 overall and 11-2 in league play with the other loss coming to Oak Ridge.

"For six years, you've got to beat Jesuit to win this league, and now we've got our shot," Pleasant Grove coach Rob Rinaldi said in praising his team and the Marauders.

Rinaldi and Jesuit coach Joe Potulny have a great deal of respect for each other. The coaches have faced off for nearly 20 years in some epic games, including when Rinaldi led power teams in Woodland in the 1990s.

On Monday, it was Stilwell and James who endured the emotional roller coaster. Stilwell was cruising in keeping Jesuit's terrific offense in check through six innings.

Pleasant Grove took a 3-0 lead in the fifth on an Ian Chandler sacrifice fly, a Bronson Grubbs score off a passed ball and a JQ Folena base hit. Jesuit took a 4-3 lead in the seventh on Jordan Hanlin's 2-run double. Stilwell agonized at first when he was pulled in the seventh, and then was ecstatic with the rally.

"Great win," Rinaldi said. "I was so upset for Zach because he pitched so well, worked so hard, but he was happy at the end when we pulled it out. This team's been pretty resilient. We played great baseball with a couple of double plays, then the three-run inning to win it."

Stilwell tossed a perfect game with 13 strikeouts in his last outing, against Ponderosa, and he had a 15-strikeout gem against Sheldon. He fanned five against Jesuit and raved about the efforts of his teammates. He also said he admired the effort of James, saying, "He's a great pitcher. I love going against him."
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 7, 2012
Jesuit wins D-I North golf title; Ponderosa's Pereira shoots 70

Jesuit and Oak Ridge, who battled throughout the season in the Delta River League, continued that rivalry today in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North championships at Cameron Park Country Club.

Jesuit defeated the rival Trojans, 394 to 397, to take the title on the par-72 course.

Vacaville (422) finished third, beating Davis (422) in a tie-breaker to join Jesuit and Oak Ridge in advancing to Monday's Masters Championship at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton.

Ponderosa's Corey Pereira was the medalist with a 70. He finished five strokes ahead of second place finisher Tyson Tavalero of Oak Ridge.

May 7, 2012
Siblings win Sac-Joaquin Section diving championships

The brother and sister duo of Jacob and Amy Crayne won titles at Saturday's Sac-Joaquin Section diving championships at Bella Vista High School.

Jacob, a senior at Jesuit, finished first in boys with a score of 560.60 to repeat as a section champ. He recently signed a letter of intent with the University of Utah.

Amy, a junior at St. Francis, placed first in girls with a score of 469.65. She also won a section title her freshman year.

Their mother is DeDe Crayne, who for 18 years has coached many of the area's top prep divers from her back-yard pool in Rio Linda.

May 7, 2012
Davis, St. Francis in unusual positions for girls soccer playoffs

Perennial powers Davis and St. Francis find themselves in unique spots entering this week's Sac-Joaquin Section girls soccer playoffs.

Davis (19-2-2), which beat St. Francis in last year's Division I final, finished second to Franklin (16-4-2) of Elk Grove in the Delta Valley Conference this season.

So the Blue Devils, winners of four section titles and playing for new coach Sara Yudin, are the DVC's No. 2 seed and will play host to Napa (10-7-2), the Monticello Empire League runners-up, 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Still, the Blue Devils are better positioned than St. Francis, winners of a section-best 12 titles.

The Troubadours (4-7-4) barely made the playoffs this season, edging out Ponderosa for third place in the Delta River League with a 2-1 win over the Bruins on Wednesday. Folsom (13-0-3) and Oak Ridge (6-9-5) finished first and second, respectively.

St. Francis plays Tuesday at Wood (10-5-5) in Vacaville.

The winner of that match plays Franklin in Elk Grove on Thursday.

Either St. Francis (seven times) or Davis (twice) has won the last nine D-I section finals.

Last year's six other divisional champions also return to the postseason.

The run-down:

• Defending D-II champion Granite Bay (8-4-3) is the No. 3 seed from the Sierra Foothill League and will play at Bella Vista (10-4-3), the Capital Valley Conference champion, on Tuesday, May 15.

• Defending D-III champion Rio Americano (11-1-4), looking to make its sixth consecutive appearance in that division's section final, is the top seed from the Capital Athletic League. The Raiders will play host May 15 to the winner of Thursday's Vanden at Yuba City Game.

• D-IV champion Sierra (15-5-3) is the No. 3 seed from the Valley Oak League. The Manteca squad will play at Sierra Valley Conference champion Vista del Lago (12-2-2) May 15.

• West Campus (17-6-1), which beat Calaveras 3-0 for last season's D-V title, returns to the postseason as the No. 2 seed from the Golden Empire League. The Warriors play host to Escalon (11-4-4) on May 15.

• D-VI defending champ Bradshaw Christian (12-8-2) enters the postseason as the top seed from the Sierra Delta League. The Pride plays host May 15 to the winner of Thursday's Gustine at Delta match.

• Millennium of Tracy is back to defend its D-VII title. It opens play May 15 against the winner of Thursday's Buckingham Charter vs. Big Valley Christian match.
Here's a look at the first-round matchups:

Sac-Joaquin Section girls soccer playoffs
First round
All matches 3:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted
TODAY
Division I - St. Francis at Wood; Beyer at Tokay, 6 p.m.; Stagg at Grace Davis, 5 p.m.; Merced at Lincoln-Stockton; Franklin-Stockton at Pitman, 4 p.m.
THURSDAY
Division I - Wood-St. Francis winner at Franklin-Elk Grove; Oak Ridge at Vintage, 5 p.m.; Tokay-Beyer winner at Turlock; Grace Davis-Stagg winner vs. Tracy; Lincoln-Stockton-Merced winner at St. Mary's; Pitman-Franklin-Stockton winner at Enochs; Laguna Creek at Folsom; Napa at Davis.
Division II - Rosemont at Oakmont.
Division III - Vanden at Yuba City; Natomas at Rodriguez; El Camino at Lincoln; Bear River at Antelope, 6 p.m.
Division V - Hughson at Summerville.
Division VI - Gustine at Delta.
Division VII - Sacramento Country Day at Elliot Christian.
FRIDAY
Division IV - Liberty Ranch at Central Catholic, 6:30 p.m.
TUESDAY, MAY 15
Division II - Oakmont-Rosemont winner at Del Oro; Casa Roble at McClatchy; Kennedy at Woodcreek; Granite Bay at Bella Vista.
Division III - Yuba City-Vanden winner at Rio Americano; Natomas-Rodriguez winner at Colfax; El Camino-Lincoln winner at Benicia; Antelope-Bear Rvier winner at Inderkum.
Division IV - Central Catholic-Liberty Ranch winner at East Union; Sierra at Vista del Lago; Livingston at Manteca, 6 p.m.
Division V - Summerville-Hughson winner at Dixon; Calavaras at Hilmar; Escalon at West Campus; Capital Christian at Amador.
Division VI - Delta-Gustine winner at Bradshaw Christian; Victory Christian at Mariposa; Vacaville Christian at Waterford; Golden Sierra at Forest Lake Christian.
Division VII - Elliot Christian-Sac Country Day winner at Trinity Prep; Big Valley Christian-Buckingham Charter winner at Millennium.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 16
Division IV - Cosumnes Oaks at Patterson, 6 p.m.

May 7, 2012
Colton Paulhus of Granite Bay one of three Colorado State football players expelled for role in fight

Colton Paulhus of Granite Bay High School and American River College is one of three Colorado State football players who has been expelled and stripped of a scholarship.

The expulsions are the result of an investigation from an April 6 off-campus fight.

Witnesses told media outlets that Paulhus and two Colorado State teammates jumped out of a vehicle and severely beat Colorado State freshman Donny Gocha. The three ex-players and Gocha were charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

May 6, 2012
Matt Donlan of Capital Christian signs with South Dakota State, which played in NCAA Tournament

Matt Donlan is headed to the cold country where he expects to impact the South Dakota State men's basketball team with the sort of hot shooting that made him such an effective champion this past season.

The 6-foot-6 wing from Capital Christian High School has signed a letter of intent to play for the Jackrabbits, who competed in their first NCAA Tournament this past season in winning a school-record 27 games. South Dakota State moved up to Division I play in 2004 after years of success in Division II.

Donlan powered small-school Capital Christian to the program's first Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship. Blessed with a 35-inch vertical leap, an outside game, post moves, the ability to handle the ball and run the floor, Donlan averaged 17.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in earning Golden Empire League MVP honors and Bee All-Metro accolades.

Donlan went from sleeper prospect to college talent in a matter of months. This is what his since-retired Capital coach Terry Battenberg said of him earlier in the season, "He's 6-6 and can shoot the lights out. He's got a lot of upside to him. As he fills out and keeps working on his game, he's going to be a superb college player."

Donlan also has some personality to his game.

Asked about his mad hops, he cracked earlier, "It must be the kangaroo in me. I was born in Melbourne, Australia."

- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 6, 2012
Jalen Saunders of Pleasant Grove accepts football scholarship to Oklahoma after Fresno State transfer

saunders.jpgJalen Saunders has found a new football home.

The receiver out of Pleasant Grove High School in Elk Grove who played two seasons at Fresno State has committed to the Oklahoma Sooners after a weekend visit to the Norman campus.

Saunders, a sophomore known for his speed, also had visits with Texas A&M and Washington, and he considered Sacramento State, where he could have played right away this fall.

Saunders will have to sit out a year, per NCAA Division I transfer rules. At Oklahoma, Saunders will join former Sierra College All-American receiver Courtney Gardner, who signed with the Sooners after giving an earlier commitment to Arkansas.

Saunders led Fresno State in receiving in earning All-Western Athletic Conference honors last fall. He had 50 catches for 1,065 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns and also made plays on special teams.

Saunders decided to leave Fresno State after a new coaching staff came on board and suggested he move to slot receiver. At 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, Saunders prefers to be a deep threat on the outside. Saunders did not feel that he fit in with a new scheme during Fresno State's spring workouts.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 6, 2012
Cosumnes River beats Sequoias in baseball Region and Sierra College uses dramatic 11th inning HR to win its Regional

Baseball and superstition go hand-in-hand, so it's no wonder Colby Brenner hasn't once considered a request for fresh duds.

The Cosumnes River College centerfielder has game pants that bear a gaping hole in the hamstring region, courtesy of his relentless efforts. On Sunday afternoon, Brenner had a stolen base, a diving catch in the outfield and a hustling three-run double that keyed the seventh-seeded Hawks' 7-3 close-out victory over No. 10 College of the Sequoias in a Northern California Regional playoff series at American River.
CRC advances to next weekend's four-team Super Regional in the Bay Area.

CRC athletic specialist/equipment guru Jason Neary will sew up Brenner's pants again, but that's about the only hole you'll find in the Hawks' game otherwise. Defense, sound pitching and timely hitting again told the story for the Hawks, in the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 seasons under coach Tony Bloomfield.

"No need for a new pair of pants because these work," said a smiling Brenner, an Elk Grove High graduate.

Brenner's double came with two outs in the second inning and gave CRC a 4-0 lead against the Giants of Visalia.Garrett Heisinger, Jake Schu and Pete Pendley each drove in a run for the Hawks, and Austin Ales improved to 9-2 with a complete-game seven-hitter. He allowed two earned runs and struck out five. Ales also has four saves this season. The freshman from Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills has been superb all season, Bloomfield said.

So has the defense, a unit that includes some personalities. Brenner and shortstop standout teammates Josh Silver each sport the sort of sideburn mutton chops that would make Elvis proud. Bloomfield cracked that he's mellowed too much in his old age - he's closing in on his 50th birthday - in evan allowing facial hair. He has for years adhered to a clean-cut policy, but again, superstition and a good vibe.

"I've gotten soft," Bloomfield said. "They're having fun with this."

So is the coach. Bloomfield has kept the Hawks together and loose this season, one in which they have not had a single practice or game on campus due to a facilities upgrade. Bloomfield was again wearing long sleeves even on a warm day because he's worn those same sleeves for a lot of wins. He also wears socks a certain way.

All told, CRC will continue to stick with what works as the results show a Big 8 Conference title in what has fast emerged as the state's toughest league, including Sierra College winning the state title in 2008.

* Sierra 10, Laney 9 - Brad Gerig hammered a solo home run in the bottom of the 11th inning on a 3-1 pitch, and Chris Daniels pitched two perfect innings in relief for the win as the 11th-seeded Wolverines won their seventh Regional in nine seasons in eliminating the No. 6 Eagles in Oakland. Gerig's blast traveled 450 feet, Sierra coach Rob Willson said, setting off a celebration.

"Brad just destroyed it, and it went over the net that is there to keep balls from leaving the place," Willson said. "It was an amazing game, incredible."

An outfielder, Gerig had three hits, two RBIs and scored three runs. Clinton Brill, Eddie Mora and Kaden Kamoe each had two hits for Sierra.

Laney forced extra innings with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, and back and forth the teams went.

"The most incredible game we've been in," Willson said. "Some titanic home runs. We're up three, then they score four. They're up, then we tie. Gerig's homer landed on top of a new building. He's strong."

* Sierra College softball 15, De Anza 9 - State Player of the Year Ashley Osier had a two-run homer and a three-run blast, giving her a state-leading 20 for the season, and the Wolverines eliminated the Dons in a NorCal Regional.

Kacy Romero also homered for Sierra, on her 19th birthday. Annette Merjano had three hits, two doubles and two RBIs, and Jenna Thorn drove in four for the Wolverines, who have a state-leading 72 homers this season.

Sierra coach Darci Brownell said this group has the best team chemistry of any she has had in her 24 years on the Rocklin campus. Sierra plays at San Mateo in a Super Regional next weekend. San Mateo eliminated American River in two games. ARC was in the playoffs for the first time in more than 10 years.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 5, 2012
CRC, Sierra win NorCal regional playoff baseball openers, as does Sierra in softball

Playing an entire season on the road due to construction for new facilities presented plenty of challenges for the Cosumnes River College baseball team this spring.

There were rained-out practices or brief 90-minute sessions. There was the role of visiting team even when they were the home club in the scorebook, not to mention a lot of gas expenses.

So what about the opening-game of a California Community College Northern California Regional playoff series? Another road trip and more encouraging results.

The Hawks of south Sacramento received 8-plus innings of strong pitching from Nick Smart, more superb defense and just enough timely hits to take Game 1 over College of the Sequoias 5-1 on Saturday afternoon at American River.

CRC, winners of what has become the state's top league in the Big 8 Conference, can deliver the knockout blow to the Giants of Visalia today in Game 2 at 11 a.m. Game 3 follows, if necessary.

"Great group of guys," CRC coach Tony Bloomfield said of his 19-man roster. "We don't care where we play. We just play."

Smith, a left-handed freshman from Fairfield, relied on his curveball in scattering nine hits. He struck out five and walked one. Smart wanted to complete the game but Bloomfield pulled him with one out in the ninth with 107 pitches. Blake Harrison came in and induced a double play for the Hawks.

"That was all defense today helping me," Smart said. "We have the best defense in the league, hands down. That's what makes me look good. We didn't feel any pressure. And being on the road all season, it feels kind of normal now."

Shawn Wheeler scored Josh Silver with a single in the first to open the CRC scoring, and Garrett Heisinger drove in two with a shallow single to right for a 4-1 lead. Colby Brenner's RBI single in the eighth made it 5-1 in the eighth. Brenner had two hits.

CRC will go with ace Austin Ales of Oak Ridge High School in Game 2. Ales is 8-2 with four saves.

"We would've used Ales in relief today if it was a 1-run game," Bloomfield said. "He can go every day. We have to tone him down he's that into it."

* Sierra 4, Laney 2 - Josh Eagle tossed a complete game with one walk and nine strikeouts, and the Wolverines scored two in the top of the 10th to win Game 1 of their regional opener in Oakland.

In the 10th, Brady Steiger had a pinch-hit double to score Eddie Mora, who had two doubles, and Brad Gerig had a sacrifice fly. Eagle, a sophomore from Antioch, improved to 9-2 in drawing more praise from his head coach.

"He's an amazing pitcher and young man," Sierra coach Rob Willson said. "He's got a fast ball, a curve, his change, and a cutter. He has four pitches. Just amazing what he's done."

Sierra will go with Ryan Millison on Sunday in Game 2. Millison is the staff co-ace and a scholarship signee to Long Beach State. Sierra seeks its seventh regional title in nine years under Willson, whose 2008 club won the state championship.

* Feather River 13, Sacramento City 5 - The top-seeded Golden Eagles scored five in the fifth inning and five in the eighth to win their regional opener a year after the Panthers stunned them in the opening round. Michael Bennett earned the win for Feather River, improving to 10-1 on the season.

Feather River can win its sixth regional title since 2000 with a win Sunday. Sac City has been in the postseason every season since 1976.

* Sierra softball 12, De Anza 0 - Ashley Osier tossed a one-hitter to improve to 17-2, and the Wolverines clubbed two more home runs to give them 69 for the season in a 5-inning opening-round rout of the Dons.

Amanda Wright hit her third grand slam of the season, and Michelle Fogal had a three-run home run, her 12th of the season. Jenna Thorn had a three-run triple for Sierra, which moved to 36-5 on the season.

Osier struck out four with no walks. The state Player of the Year, Osier leads the state with 18 home runs under coach Darci Brownell, in her 24th season at the Rocklin school.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 4, 2012
Josiah Turner has committed to new SMU coach Larry Brown

Several web-sites are reporting that Arizona transfer Josiah Turner has committed to SMU and new coach Larry Brown.

"It's a great fit for me," Turner told Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com earlier today.

The former Cordova and Sacramento High guard had a troubled first season with the Wildcats, which included suspensions for several games for off-court problems.

Last week he was arrested by University of Arizona police for allegedly running a red light and driving under the influence.

But Brown, the Hall of Fame coach hired by the Dallas university April 23, has dealt with several challenging players during his long NBA tenure, including Allen Iverson.

The 71-year-old Brown had already cleared room for Turner and other potential recruits by telling several incumbent SMU players that they would not remain on the team.

Starting point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas told the school's student newspaper that Brown said he "wasn't good enough to play for him."

SMU hasn't won an NCAA Tournament game since 1988 and the school is moving into the Big East Conference in 2013.

May 4, 2012
Ponderosa tops Sheldon 3-0 to take Delta River softball lead

Paris Hallums allowed two hits and struck out four as No. 6 Ponderosa defeated No. 7 Sheldon 3-0 today to secure at least a tie for the Delta River League softball title.

Taylor Eilders drove in two runs and Missy Silveira and Rachel Timberman each had two hits to lead Ponderosa (16-6, 7-2), which can secure the league title outright with a win at No. 3 St. Francis (15-8-1, 6-3) on Wednesday.

Defending league champion Sheldon (15-8, 6-3) plays Wednesday at No. 5 Pleasant Grove (16-9, 6-3).

Only three Delta River League teams will advance to the postseason.

May 4, 2012
CIF overwhelmingly approves revised transfer policy

The CIF's Federated Council voted 114 to 21 today in favor of a new transfer policy that will allow student athletes who move from one school to another to become eligible without a change of residency after sitting out the first 30 to 35 days of the season.

Under the old rule, students who transferred without moving were ineligible for one year unless they received a hardship waiver.

Under the new rule, fall sports athletes will be eligible on Oct. 1, winter sports on Dec. 31 and spring sports on April 1. It becomes effective July 1.

The increasing number of transfer requests plus huge legal fees incurred by the CIF led to the move. The CIF spent $2.8 million in legal fees and liability insurance the past three years and transfer requests rose 38 percent from 2007-08 to 2010-11.

The policy will be revisited after one year.

May 4, 2012
Granite Bay's Haley Anderson to compete in Olympic qualifiers

Granite Bay's Haley Anderson will compete in the FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier June 9 in Setubal, Portugal.

Anderson, a junior at USC, qualified for the event by finishing second in the recent USA 10K National Championship in Fort Myers, Fla. Duke graduate Ashley Twichell won the event.

At the FINA qualifier, Anderson will battle to be one of 15 women (only one qualifies per country) to compete in the London Olympics.

In addition to her open water pursuits, Anderson will compete at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials from June 25-July 2 in Omaha, Neb.

Anderson, who swam for Granite Bay High School, won the NCAA and Pac-12 women's 500 free championships earlier this year.

Anderson's sister, Alyssa, a senior at Arizona, also has qualified for the Olympic Trials.

May 3, 2012
Fields, No. 10 Roseville beat top-ranked Del Oro 1-0

Kayla Fields threw 125 pitches and went the distance in No. 10 Roseville's 2-1, 10-inning Sierra Foothill League softball win over Rocklin Wednesday.

But she showed no signs of fatigue today in Loomis.

Fields scattered four hits and struck out four in leading the Tigers to a 1-0 win over top-ranked Del Oro.

May 3, 2012
San Juan Soccer Club accepted as Development Academy

San Juan Soccer Club coaching director Billy Wiskel is one happy guy.

His prestigious youth club has been accepted as a member of the United States Soccer Federation's Development Academy program, one of 77 such boys clubs across the nation and the only one in the Sacramento area.

"I think the biggest thing is that we are going to be fully funded," Wiskel said of a major sponsor already lined up that will soon be announced publicly. "But our biggest immediate plan is to identify the best players for our U-16 and U-18 teams."

Academy teams play and train year-round and face the top squads from across the United States as the USSF tries to identify the best players for its national and Olympic teams.

San Juan, established in 1978, is the only area club to have both the academy program for boys and the Elite Club National League program that helps identify top girls players..

For tryout information, go to the sanjuansoccer.org.

May 3, 2012
CIF expected to approve dramatic transfer policy change

Hammered by increased legal fees and overwhelmed by a huge volume of contentious transfer requests, the CIF is expected to approve Friday a new transfer policy similar to the Sac-Joaquin Section's widely popular 30-day rule that was killed five years ago.

saco.jpg

The new "sit-out rule," which would take effect July 1 and be revisited after one year, will allow student-athletes to transfer to another school and be eligible to play without changing residence after sitting out the first 30 to 35 days of the season, instead of the current one year.

Athletes who transfer without moving would become eligible on Oct. 1 for fall sports, Dec. 31 for winter sports and April 1 for spring sports.

May 3, 2012
Christian Brothers' Haley Snyder strikes out 18 against Rio Linda

Rio Linda found Christian Brothers sophomore Haley Snyder tough to hit Tuesday in their Capital Valley Conference softball game.

Snyder struck out 18 batters and allowed two hits as the Falcons won 6-0. She threw 103 pitches and did not walk a batter.

Senior Gisselle Jimenez went three for four with two home runs to lead the Falcons' offense.

May 2, 2012
Former Del Oro star Aaron Hendricks to walk on at Pacific

Former Del Oro High School boys basketball standout Aaron Hendricks will play at Pacific as a preferred walk-on.

hendricks.png

The 6-foot-2 guard played three seasons at Del Oro before transferring to New Hampton School in New Hampton, N.H., where he will finish a post-graduate year at the end of May.

Hendricks elected to transfer to New Hampton to improve academically and play in the high-level New England Preparatory School Athletic Council.

May 2, 2012
Sacramento Waldorf basketball star accepts scholarship

Dominican University of the Bay Area is quickly putting together quite a men's basketball roster, heavy on Sacramento-area talent.

Christopher Schwartz-Edmisten of Sacramento Waldorf, the state's leading scorer this past season at 34.1 points per game, has signed a national letter of intent with the small Catholic school in San Rafael.

A 6-foot-3 guard who can shoot and defend and set a number of single-season and career scoring marks for coach Dean Stark, Schwartz-Edmisten will join two other Sacramento Bee All-Metro players in an effort to jump start the Penguins, a Division II program that went 11-18 last season.

Matt Hayes, a combo guard who is the all-time career scoring leader at Yuba City, and K.J. Logue, a physical and skilled 6-foot-6 forward from Bella Vista, also recently signed with Dominican. Yuba City and Bella Vista, like Waldorf, were league champions.

Stark, the veteran Waldorf coach, said Schwartz-Edmisten was the finest player he has coached, a four-year starter who warded off every defense imaginable. Schwartz-Edmisten scored without putting up huge amounts of shots, and he scored late to win games in dramatic fashion, all with a humble view on things and genuinely surprised and flattered that fans took notice of his efforts.
- By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com
Follow on Twitter: @sb_joedavidson

May 1, 2012
Turner arrested for DUI at Arizona; troubled guard to visit SMU

Josiah Turner's struggles continue.

The former Cordova and Sacramento High basketball standout, who recently departed the University of Arizona men's basketball team after a troubled freshman season, was arrested early Thursday morning on suspicion of a DUI after being stopped for allegedly running a red light on the Tucson campus.

According to the University of Arizona police report, which the Arizona Daily Star obtained Monday via a public records request, Turner was arrested for DUI with a blood-alcohol count twice the legal limit.



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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