Sunday, June 24, 2012

Locals Do Well For Marysville Gold Sox

Baseball writer Mark McDermott has a great story about the success this summer of the Marysville Gold Sox, a team made up of several college baseball players including former Elk Grove High School standouts Patrick O'Rourke, Brooke Brooks and Justin Charles.

I talked briefly with O'Rourke a couple weeks back. He's attending the University of Hawaii, but seeing limited time on the mound and pretty upset about it. He's beginning to tip the jugs gun around 90 mph now and has a year left in college. Brookie is at Eastern New Mexico playing for former Sheldon coach Chris Terry. Charles is a utility infielder at Fresno State.

I also recently talked to Josh McMahon, also a former Herd player, who is at New Mexico Highlands and loves it. His mother, Chrissie, passed away a couple years ago and was one of those ladies who always wore a big smile. We miss her. Dad Tim is doing real well.

Other baseball notes:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Winter Sports Recap

Wednesday's Citizen contains my re-cap of last winter's sports season.  Take a read of it because I write about the Sheldon Huskies' march to the boys' basketball state championship game, an overview of the local girls' basketball season and the wrestling season.

Coming up in Friday's Citizen will be a story about Elk Grove's wrestling team at a camp at Chadron State (Neb.) College.

Tellez Wins National HR Hitting Contest

Elk Grove High School slugger Rowdy Tellez won the home run hitting contest Saturday at the Perfect Game National High School baseball event in Minneapolis. He and teammate Dom Nunez attended the showcase event and impressed many people in the process.

Rowdy Tellez at Perfect Game National Baseball event
The video of the contest is quite long, but if you forward in about an hour and 55 minutes, you'll watch Tellez stroking the long shots in the Metrodome, site of the event.

The Herd teammates will be a part of the USA Baseball Age 18U team selection process that gets underway this week in Cary, N.C.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Eulogy For My Brother Jeff

I was shocked early this morning when my sister Julie, who lives in Kansas City, phoned to inform me that police in Little Rock, Ark., phoned her to report that my younger brother Jeff was found dead in his home.

There was no sign of foul play or anything suspicious. One of his friends phoned police to report that my brother, who was unemployed, hadn't been heard from and asked them to check out his home. He was found deceased, sitting on his couch. His dog, Samson, a huge malemute and his best friend, was in the back yard and was excited to see the police when they came onto the property.

Jeff Hull, left, with our mother
Jeff was 54.

When we were growing up we were great friends. The years and the fact I moved from Colorado in the 1970's where we both grew up as teenagers sort of separated us. We talked way too infrequently.

While I got married and had children and was raising a family, he was trying to find a place for himself in the world of architecture. He worked in Ruston, LA., where he attended Louisiana Tech, Denver and in Little Rock. I saw some of his work and he was really good as an architect. He designed super markets, department stores, shopping malls and in one of his last jobs in Denver, worked on a new Federal Courthouse building.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday's Thoughts/Mitty Tournament, Tony Rodriguez

Most of the regular readers to this post know I am a digital media/journalism teacher. Sportswriting is my hobby, my beloved second occupation.

Now that summer is here for my school, it's three months of re-invigoration to, primarily, mentally prepare myself for the next academic year. Plus, I get to spend lots of time around the house and with my great family.

Today and this weekend I will spend with my youngest son Max, a junior-to-be at Elk Grove High School who is also a budding baseball player with the Herd program. Beginning today EGHS will play in a two-day summer baseball event at Archbishop Mitty High School and Mountain View High School in the South Bay area.

I'll be tweeting from the games the next couple days. Typically the teams that play in this annual event have some of the top high school players and teams competing. I am looking forward to it.

On a side note, Thursday evening's memorial service for Tony Rodriguez, father of a trio of EGHS athletes who passed away last Sunday at age 43, was very touching. The little funeral home in Folsom that hosted the event was jammed packed with people standing outside and in the hallway there to honor one of the great men who was a part of Herd sports the past few years.

It was great to see all this love and support for Nancy and her children, now preparing to move back to the Chicago area where they all moved from in 2006. Lots of kind words were spoken about not just Tony but that whole family, ever-present at Herd baseball, wrestling and track events. Tony always had a kind word for everyone.

He was a rarity in that he unlike many people was more interested in you and your children than talking about himself. I wish more of us were like Tony.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New CIF Transfer Rules Start Several Player Shifts

Darin Johnson, basketball, senior, from Franklin to Sheldon.
Malik Pope, basketball, junior, from Burbank, brief stop at Laguna Creek, likely to end up at Capital Christian.
Sean Nicholson, baseball, junior, from Elk Grove to Franklin.

In the past, these kind of transfers by upperclassmen athletes just weren't allowed. Now, they are with a 30-day "Sit Out Period" at the beginning of the next season.

We'll likely see a few more varsity athletes switch schools.

In today's EG Citizen read a story I wrote about this topic and an interview I did with Section assistant commissioner John Williams.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tony Rodriguez Dies Suddenly at 43

The Elk Grove sports community is in shock with the news of the sudden death of Marco "Tony" Rodriguez, Jr. He's the father of Herd baseball star Jake and wrestler Joe. Tony passed away Sunday at the age of 43.

According to Greg Davis, an Elk Grove baseball parent who was the vice-president of the baseball booster club when Rodriguez was the club president, Tony had developed a clot in his leg a few weeks ago and was hospitalized. Davis said apparently the clot made it to Rodriguez' lung.

Marco "Tony" Rodriguez, Jr.
"It's all a big shock to all of us," Davis said.

"He's a stand-up guy," Joel Hull, an EGHS teammate of Jake's, said. "He always went out of his way to ask me how it was going for me after I graduated. I'd sit at Elk Grove games with Tony and talk baseball with him the whole game."

Jake graduated from EGHS in 2010 and has played baseball at Oregon State University the past two seasons.

Rodriguez moved his family from Wisconsin in 2006 prior to Jake's freshman year in high school, knowing Jake had special talents in baseball and wanted the best place for him to play. He told me several years ago he spent lots of time researching the best baseball program he could find for Jake in this area and still work for his employer. That's why he and Nancy decided to have Jake and Joe attend EGHS.

Joe was one of the Herd's top wrestlers. Considered to be a state contender in 2011, Joe injured his hand and couldn't compete in the post-season.

The family had made plans to return to Wisconsin later this month. According to family friend, Keri Nunez they are following through with the move. Tony will be laid to rest in Wisconsin.

UPDATE -  A Celebration of Life will be held on June 14, 2012 from 6-8 pm at the Miller Funeral Home located @ 507 Scott Street in Folsom, Ca.  In Lieu of flowers donations may be made to the “Tony Rodriguez Memorial Fund” at the F&M Bank, 8799 Elk Grove Blvd. Elk GroveCA 95624 account #815414701.

Tony is survived by his wife, Nancy, daughters Katie, Paige and Meagan and sons Jake and Joe. In lieu of flowers, the friends of the Rodriguez' are asking everyone to donate towards a trust fund for the children.

Brenner Accepts Scholarship To Long Beach

Colby Brenner
Former Elk Grove High School outfielder Colby Brenner has accepted a scholarship to play baseball for Long Beach State.

Last season as the lead-off batter for the Community College state champion Cosumnes River College squad, Brenner batted .272 with 29 stolen bases. He graduated from EGHS in 2010.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

PG, EG, Sheldon Open Tourney With Two Wins

The boys' basketball teams from Pleasant Grove, Sheldon and Elk Grove High Schools all won their two opening games Friday in the Valley/CRC Basketball Classic. The teams from Cosumnes Oaks, Bradshaw Christian, Laguna Creek and Monterey Trail were 1-1 on the first day of the three-day, 32-team event.

The full scoreboard will give you a schedule of today's games being played at Cosumnes River College, Valley High School and Monterey Trail High School. Admission is just $5 to the games.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Truesdale Named To SJS Hall-of-Fame

Sheldon High School has named the softball diamond in her honor and her teams have won four of the past six Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championships.

Now, Mary Jo Truesdale can be called a "Hall of Famer". Today the Section announced its 2012 inductees to its Hall-of-Fame and Truesdale, who has coached at Elk Grove and Sheldon for more than 30 years, was one of the coaches on that list.

Tellez, Cooper Earn All-Metro Honors

Each season the Sacramento Bee selects it's All-Metro team in each high school sport. Elk Grove-area athletes have dominated the Bee's All-Metro Player of the Year honor each of the past few years.

This year Elk Grove's Rowdy Tellez was selected as the baseball player of the year and Sheldon's Alexis Cooper was chosen the softball player of the year. Last year the honors went to two EGHS players, baseball's J.D. Davis and softball's Danielle Henderson. The previous season it went to EGHS' Jake Rodriguez and Shelby Wisdom. In 2009, the softball honor went to Sheldon's Jolene Henderson. I don't remember who won baseball - it may have been Jake, for the first time.

Bee writer Joe Davidson and Bill Patterson throughly ask opinions of local media and coaches when selecting their players of the year. I've weighed in the past couple years with Joe. This year was a tough selection for them. Just as worthy of this honor were teammates of Tellez and Cooper - Dom Nunez and Meme Moore.

I campaigned a bit for Nunez because he is truly the all-around player. This past year he played three positions - third, short and caught- along with being a relief pitcher. He set a team record with nine triples.

Moore was a steady catcher and had an incredible playoff performance going 11-for-15 at the plate in the final four games.

Both were named on the All-Metro team, but either one could have had their photos taken in the impressive spread in the Bee.

Summer Basketball Challenge Begins Today

Valley High School and Cosumnes River College are hosting the 4th annual Valley-CRC Summer Basketball Challenge at Valley High, Cosumnes River College, and Monterey Trail High.  Play begins Friday.

As in years past, this is a 32-team bracketed tournament (inspired from the NCAA’s March Madness). 

Valley basketball coach Mat Bradley says this is another solid, competitive field that includes 19 teams that were in the playoffs last season.

"We have hosted schools from many sections throughout our 4-year existence – North Coast, Central Coast, Sac-Joaquin, & Northern Sections and Nevada," he wrote in an email.

Here's the 32- team field.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Woods Wins Memorial, Levin Tied For Fourth

Folks will long remember this tournament for the fact Tiger Woods won, coming from four strokes back, at Muirfield Village (Ohio) Golf Club, Jack Nicklaus' Tournament, the Memorial and that it was Woods' 73rd career win to tie Nicklaus.

What most will forget is that at the turn, Elk Grove's Spencer Levin was in the lead by three strokes. Here's the PGA Tour's video re-cap of the day:

St. Mary's Beats Franklin, Takes 3rd SJS Baseball Title

The St. Mary's Rams looked every bit the two-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section champion on Saturday, hungry for its third banner. With good pitching and timely hitting, the Rams downed Franklin, 8-2, and wrapped up a feat that only Elk Grove accomplished in Division I between '05 and '07.

Here are the highlights of Saturday's decisive game in the best-of-three series.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Cal Beats Oregon, Faces Alabama Sunday

The Cal Bears, playing in the losers' bracket of the College World Series, defeat Oregon Saturday, 6-3, as Jolene Henderson (Sheldon H.S.) scattered six hits and struck out nine. Cal scored three times in the first inning and twice in the second to take an early lead.

This means Cal must face Alabama Sunday and defeat the Crimson Tide twice to advance to the CWS championship round. In the other semi-final match-up defending champion Arizona State will take on Oklahoma Sunday.

The championship round is the best-out-of-three and will begin Monday. Look for Lindsey Ziegenhirt's blog here shortly.

Levin Leads After Three Rounds

Elk Grove's Spencer Levin has a one shot lead after three rounds of the Memorial PGA event in Ohio.

Here's the report from

Levin Tied For Second At PGA's Memorial

Elk Grove's Spencer Levin is tied for second, one stroke behind Rory Sabbatini, entering today's third round of the PGA's Memorial Tournament in Ohio. He is paired with Sabbatini in the final group of the day.
Spencer Levin, chipping during Friday's round of the Memorial

Tiger Woods is also five-under-par for the tournament, tied with Levin, and will play in the group in front of him today. Here's the transcript of Levin's post-round news conference following his second round Friday.

Levin has never won a PGA Tour event, but had a six stroke lead entering the final round of the Phoenix Open earlier this year.

Friday, June 01, 2012

St. Mary's Wins SJS Championship Opener, 4-2

The St. Mary's Rams, looking to become just the third Sac-Joaquin Section baseball squad to win three championships in a row, opened the 2012 finals with a 4-2 over Franklin.

Read Joe Davidson's blog about the Friday night game. I will be covering Saturday's game or games in the best-of-three title series. Franklin will send hard-throwing right hander Josh Pigg to the mound.

Watch my Tweets for frequent updates from the University of Pacfic, site of the SJS baseball championships.

If you can't be there, the games will be broadcast live online by PlayOn! Sports via the Section's web portal,

NCAA Baseball Regionals Underway

One of the best sites to follow the trek to the College World Series is on the NCAA website.

In Friday's openers, Fullerton beat Indiana State, 9-5, in the Eugene Regional. J.D. Davis (Elk Grove H.S.) and his Titan teammates face Oregon Saturday in the double elimination opening round. In the win Friday, Davis had an RBI while coming off injury his former EGHS teammate Jared Deacon was two for two at the plate.

In the Stanford Regional, the host Cardinal defeated Fresno State, 9-1. Fresno now takes on Michigan State in an elimination game Saturday.

Oregon State and Jake Rodriguez (Elk Grove H.S.) and Danny Hayes (Jesuit H.S.) opened the Baton Rouge Regional with a 2-1 win over Belmont. They take on the host LSU Tigers Saturday.

MT's Reyes Qualifies For State Track Finals

Monterey Trail distance runner William Reyes had the 17th best time in the boys' 3200 meter run Friday to qualify for Saturday's finals in that event at the California State Track and Field Meet in Clovis.

Reyes ran the 3200 meters in 9:19.77 during a preliminary race. He won the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters' championship in the event last weekend.

The Mustangs' girls' 4x100 meter relay team just missed qualifying for the finals by running the 11th-best race Friday in 47.95 seconds. Cosumnes Oaks had the 19th best time in that event. The top eight run in Saturday's finals.

In the 400 meters, MT's A'Jah Love finished 18th in the prelims. She was 23rd-best in the preliminaries of the 200 meter dash. Teammate Esther Higgwe was could not recover enough from her hamstring injury suffered last Friday during the running of the 200 meters in the Section Masters to run in Clovis.

In the field events, Phoenisha Schuhmeier was 24th-best in the long jump with her best leap, 16'4". Cosumnes Oaks leaper Londeen McCovery had the 10th-best mark Friday in the boys' high jump at 6'7".

 Click Here for the Saturday results as they happen.

Ziegenhirt's Blog: Cal Loses To Okla., 3-0

Cal catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt blogs from Oklahoma City, site of the Women's College World Series:

Friday 6/1:
Jolene Henderson, left, and
Lindsey Ziegenhirt

We face the Sooners today for the first time this season. Once you get to the World Series, every team is good and every team worked hard to get there. With a little luck and a lot of skill, any team can be THE team to win. Yesterday we talked about brick walls, and today we are going to see our biggest wall yet. 

With a late game time, the team hung around the hotel before departing for a team lunch. We headed off to the field after a brief rain delay. 

The game was tough. I honestly believe that we beat ourselves. Oklahoma has a great pitcher in Keilani Ricketts, but I know our Golden Bears have more fight left. We lost, but it's not over; lots more softball left to play. Now we play Saturday night, and now it's elimination time. Let's send some teams packing! GO BEARS! 

Cal now drops into the lower bracket of the WCWS and will take on the winner of Saturday's game between Tennessee and Oregon at 6:30 p.m. PT.