Tuesday, June 07, 2011

MLB Draft - Days One and Two

Pleasant Grove High School right-hander Kyle Castro became the school's first-ever player selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft when he was chosen in the third round by the Texas Rangers Tuesday. Castro was the 113th selection overall.

Two rounds later Elk Grove High School slugger J.D. Davis was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays. He was the 180th player taken overall. Davis was drafted as a third baseman even though he was the Herd’s top pitcher the past two years.

The pair marks the earliest any graduating prep player from an Elk Grove Unified School District School has ever been selected in the First-Year Player Draft. In 1970, Elk Grove’s Bruce Butter was selected in the fifth round by the Philadelphia Phillies. Two former Herd players were drafted in 1982 – Catcher Todd Trafton in the sixth round by the White Sox and outfielder Tim Hill in the seventh round by the Dodgers.

Three years ago former Laguna Creek pitcher Casey Weathers was a first-round draft choice but he was drafted after his senior season at Vanderbilt.

A couple hours after Davis’ pick, the Toronto Blue Jays selected Bradshaw Christian School’s ace pitcher Brady Dragmire in the 17th round, a school first, as well.

A Pleasant Grove alum, Sacramento City College pitcher Kyle Devore, became the Eagles’ second-ever MLB Draftee when he was selected in the 27th round (834th overall) by the Rangers.

Texas chose three pitchers in its first four picks, but Castro was the only right-hander in that group. He was the 12th high school grad from the State of California taken in the Draft. Castro went 5-4 with a 3.56 ERA in 16 appearances for Pleasant Grove this season. He struck out 64 and walked 29 in 55 innings.

“This is a great day for him and for our program,” Eagles’ head coach Rob Rinaldi said. “I know it was an exciting day for (Castro) and he’s now in a very elite group of people. I phoned him and wished him the best.”

Castro almost assuredly will sign with Texas after not committing to a college this season and opting to consider either junior college or a professional contract.

Davis admitted he was on quite an emotional roller-coaster Monday and Tuesday. The Rays had ten picks in the first round and the compensation round which followed. Davis was their 15th overall selection.

“(The Rays) called to say they were going to pick me, perhaps in the first round, so we were waiting and waiting,” Davis said. “We went over to (Elk Grove head coach Jeff ) Carson’s house to hang out, waiting to hear something. Then they called me this morning and said they’d pick me the second or third round.”

Davis didn’t get the call then and needed to leave to drive to a photo shoot in downtown Sacramento. On his way, a representative from the Rays finally phoned.

“Then I started getting calls from everywhere saying, ‘Congratulations’,” he said. Some of those calls came from his future coaches at Fullerton.

Davis said that the Rays will come to his home in a little more than a week to discuss contract. 

Davis have a tough decision to make this summer because he’s already inked a letter-of-intent to Cal State – Fullerton. All draftees must be signed to a pro contract by Aug. 15. The next day, Davis said, is the day he’s due to report to Fullerton.

“I’ve got so many options going on right now,” he said. “The calls from Fullerton want me to come to Fullerton, but I want to sit back and just weigh my options.”

Davis, drafted as a third baseman, went 6-2 on the mound with one save and a 1.56 ERA in his senior season at Elk Grove. He struck out 70 and walked just 17 in 49 1/3 innings.

Davis led Elk Grove with a .484 average and nine home runs. He was second on the team with 45 RBIs.

“It’s an exciting day for him, his family, for the (Elk Grove) program and for me as his coach,” Carlson said. “Just to get drafted means you’re pretty special and an elite player.”

Davis is Carlson’s 10th Elk Grove player to be drafted out of high school and thinks he’ll have a nice offer brought to him by the Rays.

“He has a great opportunity at a great baseball school at Fullerton to fall back on,” Carlson said. “He’ll have great leverage in his negotiations. Just because he was drafted fifth round doesn’t mean he’ll get fifth round money. They’ll have to come to him with something like second round money to entice him to think about maybe signing this year.”

Dragmire, the 529th player selected overall, likewise has committed to a college, Nevada – Reno.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for him,” Bradshaw’s athletic director Mike Ruble said. “When I got to Bradshaw a few years ago and met Brady, I knew he was someone special.”

Devore had a great year for the Cougars. He was 11-0 with a 2.50 ERA. Devore, a sophomore at City College, struck out 89 in 101 innings and walked only nine.

“He has the unique ability to miss the barrel,” Rinaldi said. “Kyle was fantastic for us. He won a big game against Jesuit the last day of the regular season his sophomore year. He then won a playoff game against Davis his junior year and in his senior year he had 15 strikeouts in a game against Woodland.”

“I know he’s a hard worker and got better every year for City (College),” he added.

Rinaldi thinks two more former Pleasant Grove pitchers, Dylan Chavez and Taylor Herbert, may both be selected by the end of the Draft.

The first area player drafted was former Jesuit and current Oregon State catcher Andrew Susac who was selected in the second round by the San Francisco Giants.

The third and final day of the Draft was Wednesday with rounds 31 through 50.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Lindsey's CWS Blog - Day 4

The Cal Bears' softball season is over. Saturday at the College World Series, the Bears eliminated Oklahoma State, 6-2. Later in the afternoon, the Florida Gators defeated Cal, 5-2, to send the Golden Bears home. Former Sheldon star Lindsey Ziegenhirt gives us her thoughts on the emotional day. Also, follow Lindsey's blog on the Elk Grove Citizen website.

Well, it's the end of the season for the well-traveled Cal Bears. After a tough loss to Alabama on Thursday, and nice day off on Friday, we began today's elimination day with a win over Oklahoma State. It was great to see our team bounce back so quickly, and even when we got behind in the game we dug deeper and got some runs in. 
After the Oklahoma State game, we rested at the hotel for a few hours. At 4p.m., we departed for the Hall of Fame stadium for what would be our last game this season. Florida was a tough opponent, and all the girls knew going into the game that it was going to test our endurance. The big bats of the Gators were fairly quiet (and quiet as in no home runs), but they scored just enough to put it out of reach.
I was proud of the way our team came out and scored in the first inning, but we couldn't get the key hit later in the game. 
Tomorrow, we fly in another chartered flight home to good ole Oakland, CA. I can definitely speak for my teammates when I say that I've missed California a lot, and I am excited to finally unpack after a three-week long road trip across the country. But overall, this was one of the most memorable softball experiences I've ever had, and I can't wait to be there again next year! Go Bears!

Lindsey's CWS Blog - Day 3

The Cal Bears had Friday, June 3, off at the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. It was still a busy day for Lindsey Ziegenhirt and her teammates. Plus, it was Lindsey's birthday!

You can also follow her daily blog on the Elk Grove Citizen website.

Another scorcher in Oklahoma City today! With temperatures reaching the mid 90's and the humidity and haziness, this is a tough city to play elite softball in. The winners of yesterday's games faced off today in two very well matched games, while the losers had the day off.

Instead of sitting and moping about yesterday's loss, the Cal Bears and I took off to a hitting practice to loosen up our bats and restock our confidence at the plate.

After practice, we visited an Oklahoma favorite "Fried Pies" shop. It sounds unappetizing, but the fried pies are similar to a turnover dessert. Coach Ninemire enjoyed a peach pie while others decided between apple, cherry, pineapple, and many other flavors. After we returned to the hotel, players had the rest of the day off to adventure around with their family or friends. Before beginning my birthday celebration, I got some deep tissue work done by our physical therapist, and after an hour of pain, torture, and some laughs I was able to go downstairs and hang out with my family.

I had quite a few family members and friends that came to cheer us on, including Sheldon High softball coaches Mary Jo Truesdale and Joe Jaquez. I received awesome cakes, or I should say many cupcakes, from my friends and teammates; if anyone knows me they know I love my dessert, so this was the perfect present!

Overall, I had a great birthday and it could only be bested with a win tomorrow against Oklahoma State. Watch us take on the Cowgirls tomorrow (Saturday) at 9am pacific time on ESPN. GO BEARS!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Lindsey's CWS Blog - Day 2

Former Sheldon High School catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt is blogging for the Elk Grove Citizen from Oklahoma City, site of the Women's College World Series.
Another day, another game. Today, we faced #2 seeded Alabama and, boy, was it a fight till the end. Jolene Henderson, another Elk Grove native and Sheldon alumni, pitched an awesome game against the powerful bats of the Crimson Tide. Unfortunately, our offense took a day off and we couldn't get the runs we needed, but a 1-0 loss isn't anything to be disappointed in. 
Every team in this tournament deserves to be there for one reason or another whether it be lights-out pitching, a stellar offense, or more commonly both. Each game is expected to be a close game; no team is going to give up without a fight. 
I will say one thing in our defense, no one on our team except two of the coaches has ever played in the World Series so the first-game jitters are natural. But now that we have one game under our belts, you can be sure that the Cal Bears will show up ready to win some games and send some teams packing for home.  

Our next game isn't until Saturday when we take on the hometown Oklahoma State Cowgirls, but in the meantime, tomorrow we'll get some extra hitting in and then we have the rest of the day to explore Oklahoma City. And just to make it a little more sweet, tomorrow's my birthday! Enjoy the week of softball; it's just getting started!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Lindsey Ziegenhirt's Blog

Former Sheldon High School All-American, now Cal Bears' catcher, Lindsey Ziegenhirt is blogging daily from the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City. Here's her day one blog:

Hello Elk Grove! For those who don't know me, my name is Lindsey Ziegenhirt and I'm a Sheldon High alumni c/o 2009. I played softball for the Lady Huskies for 4 years and won back to back section championships my sophomore and junior year.

I am currently playing softball for University of California at Berkeley and, after winning the Super Regionals in Kentucky last weekend, I am now writing to you from the NCAA College Softball World Series in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

It has been such an honor to be regarded as one of the top 8 teams in the country, and believe me, it hasn't been an easy road. The Pac-10 conference is full of top ranked teams, and every weekend prepared us for this level of competition. Every little softball girl's dream is to play in the College World Series. Now that we are finally here it seems unreal and dream-like. I know I'll look back on this coming week with pride and fond memories no matter what the final outcome.

If I may say so, this is a great week to be a Cal Bear. This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (well, hopefully not once, but there is no such thing as a guarantee in softball). 

Yesterday, we traveled from Lexington, Kentucky to Oklahoma on our own chartered flight. Every girl got their own row on the plane and our bus picked us up right on the tarmac, like real celebrities! We arrived at our hotel, and quickly got ready for the Champions Dinner with all the other teams. 
Today, we had interviews and photos with ESPN and practiced on the stadium field. However, tomorrow the real fun begins as we face Alabama in the very first game of the tournament. 
It's game time. GO BEARS!