Saturday, April 07, 2012

Spring Break Review - Baseball

School is back in session Monday, but most of our local baseballers spent much of their spring break this past week in tournaments. All the coaches will tell you that playing some tough non-conference foes, especially this past week, really prepares the squad for the conference/league season that begins in earnest this coming week. The Delta Valley Conference got in a season-opener March 31, but the Delta River League starts this week.

Let's do a review of our area prepsters' spring break play:

Pleasant Grove (3-1 Spring Break, 9-3 overall)
The only loss this week was to Clovis West in the Fresno Easter Tournament, 4-0, but this same team swept a doubleheader scrimmage from Elk Grove in February. West is a quality team and one of the best in the state.

PG defeated Bakersfield West, Bakersfield North and Buchanan this past week.

J.Q. Folena and Josh Adams appear to have recovered from early-season injuries and are beginning to lead both in the field and at bat. Zack Stilwell is throwing well. I like what I am seeing with juniors Bronson Grubbs, Matt Stafford and Nico Toni, varsity newcomers. Coach Rob Rinaldi has another solid club.

This week the Eagles have three games with Sheldon. A sweep would look great to open the DRL slate.

Sheldon (1-3 Spring Break, 9-3 overall)
The Huskies have returned to earth after an 8-0 start. Sheldon has a talented, but young squad and this past week against some quality competition the Huskies didn't fair very well. They dropped blow-out losses to Bella Vista and Pioneer, both top-flight area clubs and lost to Oakmont, 8-3, in the Surewest Tournament. Their only win was a 11-6 victory over Roseville. 

Now, I feel better about my prediction that Sheldon will finish in fourth place behind Jesuit, Oak Ridge and Pleasant Grove in the DRL.

Elk Grove (2-2 Spring Break, 7-4 overall)
The Herd always plays in the Lions' Club San Diego Tournament, which attracts the best of southern California, Nevada and Arizona teams. A .500 result is considered pretty good given the level of competition. 

There's some encouraging signs for Elk Grove in that sophomores Derek Hill and Sean Nicholson are now both eligible for play. Hill recently moved from Iowa and is now living with his dad, who is a major league scout. He had a pair of games where he really ripped the cover off the ball. 

Both sophomores will likely be in the outfield the rest of the season where their defense will be needed.  Meanwhile, coach Jeff Carlson thinks his pitching is beginning to solidify. With former major leaguer Jason Jimenez coaching those guys, that's to be expected.

The Herd travels to Franklin Monday afternoon in a big DVC showdown.

Franklin (4-0 Spring Break, 6-5 overall)
Fresno's Easter Tournament was a big relief to the Wildcat fans. After hitting around .200 as a team in the first seven games, Franklin hit well enough to win all four games in Fresno, including a victory over Clovis North. With a 4-3, 8-inning win over Laguna Creek on 3/30, the Wildcats are on a five-game winning streak.

Tyler Blake's bat came alive during the tournament and Josh Pigg, Brandon Keup, Trent Spallas and Tanner Roberts all threw well. 

They'll likely face Rowdy Tellez of Elk Grove Monday. Let's see if they can find some offense against the big left-hander.

Laguna Creek (3-1 Spring Break, 5-8 overall)
The Cardinals pulled off some impressive wins in the Cosumnes Oaks Spring Tournament against Kennedy, Folsom and Christian Brothers. The question is whether they have the gas to face Davis, Elk Grove and a much-improved Grant team this week. 

Ah, but winning three this week did feel good, I'm sure.

Monterey Trail (2-3 Spring Break, 6-7 overall)
The Mustangs got seventh place in the Cordova Easter Tournament, but looked horrible in a couple games. James Therriault has a couple good young players, but they'll be beat up this week in the DVC games against Grant, Davis and Franklin. 

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