Friday, May 30, 2014

Johnson, Stone Shine at Section Masters Track

Sheldon High School will have a big one-two punch in Taron Johnson and Cameron Stone when the Huskies roll into Clovis this week for the CIF State Track and Field Championships at Buchanan High School.

The Sheldon pair was solid in the finals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters’ meet Friday at Elk Grove High School. Stone, who had the best time in the 400 meters not only in the Section this season but also in the State, comfortably won the gold medal with a time of 47.17 seconds.

“I felt I did really good and executed my race,” Stone said.
Sheldon's Cameron Stone gets set in the blocks for the 400 meter run

His teammate Johnson finished second twice in two different races in the Section Masters’ finals. In the 100 meters he finished behind Nate Jones of Tracy by only .003 of a second.

“I stumbled coming out of the blocks,” Johnson explained. “Otherwise I would have won that race.”

Jones official time was 10.786 seconds, Johnson’s 10.789 seconds.

A little while later in the finals of the 200 meters Johnson found himself nosed out once again. He crossed the finish line behind Aspyn Walton of Woodcreek by .006 of  a second.

“I feel good, “ Johnson said. “I feel blessed and am happy I get the chance to go to State.”

Walton’s time was 21.821 seconds while Johnson’s mark was 21.827 seconds.

But, the Johnson/Stone duo along with Sheldon’s 4x100 meter relay squad and the 4x400 meter relay squad could score several points in the State Meet.

The 4x400 relay squad, which included both Stone and Johnson along with Marcus Beloney and Steven Edwards, won the Masters’ gold medal in a time of 3:16.16.

The same group placed second in the 4x100 relay Friday in a time of 42.27 seconds. Woodcreek won that race in a time of 41.29 seconds, the best mark thus far this year in California in that event.

The top three finishers in each event along with anyone besting a set time or mark in any event at the Masters qualified for the state track and field meet.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Experts: Hill, Davis Likely MLB First-Rounders

For much of the past years Major League Baseball’s amateur draft has languished in anonymity behind the much ballyhooed drafts of the NFL and the NBA.

But with the growing popularity of the MLB television network, baseball has decided to ramp up its coverage of the annual First-Year Players’ Draft. This year’s selection process begins on Thursday, June 5, in its “Studio 42” facilities with several of its top prospects in person.

One of those who will be Elk Grove High School’s Derek Hill. 
Derek Hill

Hill will be joined by just a few other prospective first-round selections at the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey. They include Clovis High School shortstop Jacob Gatewood.

To add to the color of the event, each MLB club will send a former All-Star or manager to represent them for the first few rounds of selections on Thursday.

Greg Vaughn, currently an Elk Grove-area resident and former Milwaukee star outfielder, will represent the Brewers at the draft.

Former slugger Jeffrey Leonard will represent the Giants while Ray Fosse, a part of the A’s broadcast team, will represent Oakland.

Hill led Elk Grove with a .529 batting average this season. He had 27 RBI’s and 16 stolen bases. 

Just about every mock draft has Hill going in the first round. Sports Illustrated projected Hill as the 18th overall pick by the Giants. San Francisco General Manager Brian Sabean was in attendance at Elk Grove’s final home game of the regular season.

SB Nation also thinks Hill will go in the first round, but about five selections after another former Herd star, J.D. Davis, who has played first base and pitched for Fullerton State the past three years.
J.D. Davis
Baseball America ranks Hill the 33rd best prospect and Davis the 36th.

“(Hill) is  plus-plus runner, “ wrote the magazine in its draft preview. “Hill is a premium defensive center fielder who has shown a feel for hitting in games.”

And it wrote about Davis: “Unsigned Rays fifth-rounder out of high school in 2011 offers power on the mound and at the plate.”

"Scouts I've spoken to believe Hill will likely be taken in the first round, but some project him as high as the mid-teens (rounds)," Rick Cabral, editor of the website, Baseball Sacramento, said. "We know Sabean was out at EG to watch him so that's an interesting angle."

"But remember last year - (Rowdy) Tellez was going as high as round two," Cabral continued. "The draft is weird and mercurial."

No Elk Grove area baseball player has been drafted in the first round right out of high school. Laguna Creek’s Casey Weathers was a first round choice of Colorado in 2008 after he spent two years at Sacramento City College and two seasons at Vanderbilt.

Weathers had an arm injury a couple years ago that forced him out of baseball.

The Houston Astros will make the first pick of the 2014 draft Thursday at 4 p.m. local time. There will be 40 rounds of selections by all MLB clubs spread over three days.

MLB Network and will provide live pick-by-pick coverage during the first round, Competitive Balance Round A, the second round and Competitive Balance Round B Thursday night. The intervals between selections will last four and a half minutes during the first round and one minute during Competitive Balance Round A, the second round and Competitive Balance Round B.

The Competitive Balance rounds are a fairly new part of the draft that came about as a result of baseball’s 2012-2016 basic agreements with the players’ association. The Competitive Balance rounds give clubs with the lowest revenues and in the smallest markets the opportunity to obtain additional draft picks through a lottery.

Rounds three through ten will take place on Friday, June 6, while the final 30 rounds will be Saturday, June. 7.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sheldon Places Third at D-1 Track and Field

Sheldon’s boys squad finished third in the team standings of the Sac-Joaquin Section's Division I Track and Field meet behind Davis and Woodcreek. That meet wrapped up on Friday at Elk Grove High School.

The Huskies’ 4x400 meter relay team of Steven Edwards, Taron Johnson, Marcus Beloney and Cameron Stone were winners in the finals of that event Friday. Sheldon’s 4x100 meter relay squad placed second in that race.

Johnson, who had the fastest time in the Section in the 100 meters going into the meet, finished second with a time of 10.77 seconds. He did win the 200 meters finals in 21.65 seconds.

Stone won the 400 meters run in 46.99, just .4 of a second off the Division I record.

The Monterey Trail boys were led by Jahmar Sexton who was second in the 300 meters hurdles. 

Franklin’s top finish was a first in the 4x400 meters relay. The team of Gurshaun Singh, Jordan Tillis, Kaderro Tamondong and Deshawn Singleton were seventh overall and winning its heat earlier.

The St. Francis track and field program was in a familiar position Friday night heading into the final relay with a chance to win the Sac-Joaquin Section title. For the second consecutive year, the 4x400-meter relay sealed the win completing a record-setting night for the program that resulted in the school’s sixth section title and third in the last five seasons.

“We had some really good performances all day long,” said Troubadours' head coach John DuCray. “We had a strong open 400 and finished 1-3-4. It was a real big difference maker.”

A year ago, the Troubadours needed a come-from-behind effort and win in the last race to win the team title. On Friday, St. Francis led by four points over Vacaville and clinched the win with a second-place finish in a school-record 3:48.10 performance by Lillian Enes, Kiani Reyna, Amanda Schnabel and Sydney Hunter to post the 85-83 victory.

The Troubadours won by a single point in 2013.

Other locals did quite well on Friday.

Franklin’s Jorden O’Neal easily won the long jump by more than one foot over her nearest competitor. Her winning leap was an even 19 feet. Teammate Chinyere Dike was third in the 100 meter dash. 

The Wildcats’ 4x100 meter relay squad won that event in a time of 47.43 seconds.

Elk Grove was led by Jazmine Smith who was fifth in the 200 meters and also placed second in the 400 meters. Isabella Dobson was fifth in the 3200 meter run.

The Herd’s 4x100 meter relay and the 4x400 meter relay squads each finished third in the finals of those events. 

The top eight in each event along with any qualifying mark will now compete at the Section Masters’ Championship May 29 and 30 at Elk Grove High School. The top three in that meet advances to the State Track and Field Championships that are at Buchanan High School in Clovis.

Friday, May 23, 2014

LoForte Resigns at LC; CO Track Wins 4th Girls Section Title

Laguna Creek athletic director Brian LoForte has tendered his resignation effective May 30. He's been the Cardinals' A.D. the past four years.

LoForte wrote in an email he'll be a full-time P.E. instructor next school year. His son, Hank, will be going into his senior year at Franklin High School. The younger LoForte has verbally committed to play baseball at Fullerton State.

Cosumnes Oaks Wins Fourth Straight Girls' Track Title

For the fourth year in a row Cosumnes Oaks has won the Sac-Joaquin Section's Division IV Track and Field Championship.

This year the Wolfpack was led by Natsumi Mcgee who won both the 200 and 400 meter races. He was fifth in the 100 meters. The girls' 4x100 meter relay team placed third.

Mcgee accounted for 28 team points by herself.

Tais Marinho-Gomez won the section championship in the triple jump for the second time. Mishaye Venerable won the long jump.

"This was a true team effort across a number of events to secure the title for 2014," track coach Jeff Adams said.

The boys also did well in their portion of the Division IV meet that wrapped up Thursday.

Teddy Nguyen won the long jump title while the 4x400 meter relay team of Javon Johnson, Elijah Whitmore, Perry DeGuzman and Alex Van Dyke set a new school record of 3:23.16.

The Division I meet wraps up this evening at Elk Grove High School.

North Section Baseball To Be Determined Tonight

The North Section's Division I baseball championship will be determined tonight at Sacramento City College. Elk Grove, which is coming out of the losers' bracket in the doube-elimination tournament, must defeat Davis twice this evening to move on to the Section championship next weekend at UOP.

The Herd is the defending Division I champion.

Game one begins at 4 p.m. this afternoon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Second Place Second Year In A Row

Pleasant Grove’s softball team handed Vacaville its first loss of the season Wednesday in a 3-2 thriller. The problem, though, for the  Eagles was that that would end up being the only game the 29-1-1 Bulldogs would lose in 2014.

In the second and final game in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division I championship double-elimination tournament Vacaville’s sophomore pitcher Katie Kibby came through with her third shutout of the post-season to lead her squad to a 3-0 victory and the softball championship banner.

It was the first championship for Vacaville softball since 2005 and the school’s fourth such title.

Celina Matthias, pitching in her fifth and sixth game in three days, helped her own cause with a key solo home run in the first game Wednesday. It tied the game at two apiece in the fourth inning.

The Eagles tacked on another run later in the same inning and that lead would hold for Pleasant Grove and force a second and deciding game.

Vacaville got solo homers from Maddie Rojas and Julia DePonte for the only runs Kibby needed. DePonte, a senior on her way to Washington next season, was the team batting leader this season, hitting .548.

Twice, in the first and again in the fifth inning, Pleasant Grove got two runners on base, but Kibby worked out of those situations.

With the loss, the Eagles finished second in the Division I playoffs for the second year in a row. Last year Pleasant Grove lost to another one-loss team, Vintage. The Eagles were the only team to beat the Crushers last year.

Pleasant Grove will graduate several key contributors to the squads of the past two years including Matthias, catcher Vanessa Washington and outfielder Marissa Maligad. Washington will attend Delaware State next season while both Matthias and Maligad will play at Sacramento State.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

PG Returns To Section D1 Championship With Two Wins Tuesdays

Celina Matthias brought the wrong jersey Tuesday night. No sweat, instead of her usual #16, she wore Ashley Martin’s uniform #3. And, she pitched Pleasant Grove High School’s softball team into the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division I championships for the second year in a row.

“There was a group message I didn’t get so I brought the wrong jersey,” the senior hurler explained.

No matter. With a big ice pack on her throwing shoulder Matthias grinned with the prospect of having to pitch maybe as many as six games in three nights in this double-elimination bracket tournament.

“I’ve done it before,” she said. “When I was in Colorado a few years ago and we got fifth in (AAU) Nationals, pitching for the Lady Magic.”

Playing in the losers’ bracket for the second night in a row, the Eagles defeated Roseville, 6-3, and then came from behind to defeat Rocklin, 5-2 on Tuesday.

This set up a rematch with the undefeated Vacaville Bulldogs Wednesday at the Sacramento Softball Complex. Pleasant Grove must win two games in order to grab its first Section championship since 2009.

The pair of wins Tuesday also meant that an Elk Grove Unified softball team plays in the Division I championship game for the 9th year in a row. Ironically, it was Vacaville that won the title in 2005. The Bulldogs, at 28-0-1 this season, look formidable for the Eagles , especially because Pleasant Grove has to win both games Wednesday.

Monday, May 19, 2014

PG Eliminates Sheldon, 9-8, in 8 Innings

Lightning isn’t supposed to strike twice in the same spot, but it did Monday night during the Division I softball playoffs for the Sac-Joaquin Section. The first bright flash to lit up the sky halted play for 30 minutes.

The second burst came more than three hours into the game when Pleasant Grove catcher Vanessa Washington rocketed the ball over the fence in the eighth inning to give the Eagles a 9-8 win over rival Sheldon.

A stray thunderstorm started lighting up the skies over the Sacramento Softball Complex and that made umpires hold up action in the thrilling losers’ bracket contest.

The Delta River League foes had battled through six innings of exciting softball and when the lightning bolts shined and thunder rumbled, the Eagles nursed a narrow 8-7 lead. Everyone was sent for cover.

CIF rules dictate that when lightning is seen, all action must be halted. Plus, the game cannot be restarted until 30 minutes after the last lightning bolt is seen.

That gave the squads, exhausted after playing 13 innings total that day, a chance to rest. Both teams had grueling games earlier in the evening in the double elimination tournament that led to this thrilling nightcap.

Once the all-clear sounded Pleasant Grove, the visiting team in this contest, didn’t score in the top of the seventh, but Sheldon did in its half of the inning to send the contest into extra innings.

Sheldon, the DRL Champions, swept the Eagles in the pair of games they played during league action earlier this spring. The game

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sheldon Ten-Runs Enochs

Anessa Kaylor does something just about every inning that one won’t see very often in softball. The Sheldon High School senior third baseman, right after handing the ball to her pitcher, jumps in the air and clicks her heels.

“I got that from a college girl,” Kaylor said. “She would do that and get so high. I just thought it was so cool. I was only about 12 years old at the time, but I said ‘I want to do that.’”

On Saturday in the second and third round of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division I girls’ softball playoffs, Kaylor was frequently clicking her heels. Huskies’ pitcher Gabriella Montaie fanned six Enoch batters in an 11-1 romp Saturday afternoon.
Anessa Kaylor, who had a homer and three RBI's, in a win Sat.

“Gabby is hot at the right moment,” Huskies’ head coach Mary Jo Truesdale said. “That’s going to help us a lot. She is very focused.”

But, the Section Hall-of-Fame coach is perhaps more impressed with how well her Delta River League champions are hitting the ball. Sheldon has scored (21) runs in its first (two) playoff games.

“I think what we’ve done is going to intimidate all the teams that are here,” Kaylor remarked.

The last time in the playoffs the Huskies were scoring with this kind of efficiency was two years ago when Sheldon had 75 runs in its seven playoff games and won the Section championship going away.

“It’s going to be a battle, though,” Truesdale said. “There are so many good teams here. We know it is going to be tough to do that. A repeat is going to be hard, but we’re going to give it our best shot.”

Leading the way in the Enoch game was Kaylor who drilled a two-run homer in a four-run fourth inning then came back in the fifth inning and drove in another run.

“It felt great,” Kaylor said. “I wasn’t sure (whether it was a home run or not) because of the condition of my arm. When I (hit a ball well) it really boosts my confidence going into the next game.”

When batting, the San Jose State-bound infielder dons a pair of prescription sunglasses with a bright white frame. It’s not a stylish thing to wear the rounded-lensed frames.

“I figured out my sophomore year I have a depth perception problem,” Kaylor said. “After I got them, it was like a 100-point boost on my average.”

Equally impressive at the plate is Sacramento State-commit Zamari Hinton. She got Sheldon the board in the first inning with an inside-the-park home run, impressing all fans with her incredible speed around the bases.

“She has been so unbelievable and such a leader this year,” Truesdale said. “My seniors are just great.”

Now with the win on Saturday then a 4-1 loss to Rocklin later that afternoon, Sheldon will now play out of the losers bracket on Monday at the Sacramento Softball Complex, site of the Section playoffs.

“With the Sunday break (in the playoffs) we need to not lose that momentum,” Kaylor said.

PG Upsets EG Softball in D-I Playoffs

Pleasant Grove softball team celebrates a playoff win
Autumn Miller knew she got it all.

The Pleasant Grove junior needed to come through for her softball team when she came to bat to lead off the top of the seventh inning, tied with Elk Grove, 0-0, in a do-or-die first round game of the playoffs. 
“The swing felt great. I just kept the head down on the ball,” Miller described her towering home run that was the game winner in the Eagles’ 3-0 victory in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division I softball tournament Saturday.

The win meant the Eagles, the defending Section Division I runner-ups a year ago, would continue on into the double-elimination portion of the tournament later that afternoon at the Sacramento Softball Complex.

“When we play Elk Grove, sort of like when we play Sheldon, our biggest rivals, the girls seem to press,” Pleasant Grove co-head coach Russ Pettis said. “So we try to get the girls to just put the ball into play.”

Pettis was definitely relieved and joyed when he watched Miller’s shot to give the Eagles the only run they would need.

“She’s had an up-and-down year,” Pettis said. “I’ve coached her in travel ball and I know she can hit the ball like that. Obviously, it was our spark in the seventh inning.”

It also meant Elk Grove, the Delta Valley Conference champions, would go home, ousted in the first round of the playoffs.
Celina Matthias strikes out seven Sat. in shutting out EG

“It’s tough,” Herd coach Jeff Alexander said. “I was just telling the kids when two great teams come together, one of them has to lose. We can be disappointed in the outcome, but very, very proud in the effort. It was a hard one, a hard one, but one of the better games we played all year.”

The game pitted two quality pitchers in the Eagles’ Celina Matthias and the Herd’s Kimberly Wilburn. The pair battled inning by inning, both having to pitch out of jams in a couple different places.
Going into the final inning Matthias had allowed only four hits, while striking out five batters. Wilburn had given up just three hits and had fanned six.

Wilburn had to pitch out of a bases-loaded situation with one out in the second inning, plus a first-and-second predicament in the sixth. She struck out the final batter in both innings.
“We were bending, but we weren’t breaking,” Alexander said. “Even before the game I said to Coach (Amanda) Buck, ‘I don’t know, the wind is blowing out. I got to think the long ball will play into the game today.’ And, I was right.”

After Miller’s dinger to give Pleasant Grove a 1-0 seventh-inning advantage, Sabrina Hicks and Victoria Camina each hit singles then an error on Alexa McCoin’s ground ball allowed Hicks to score. Camina came in on a sacrifice fly by Vanessa Washington.

Nursing a 3-0 lead, Matthias came on in the bottom of the seventh. But, she gave up a lead off double Morgan Evangelista. Then the Sacramento State-bound hurler struck out  Victorio Saborio and Emily Brueker before getting Courtney Riley to end the game on a fly ball to right field.

Winning the first round game Saturday, meant Pleasant Grove would advance to the double-elimination portion of the tournament and that meant a little less pressure on the squad.

“Obviously it does feel better because it doesn’t mean if we lose we’re out,” Pettis said. “But, if you look at the bracket, all the tougher teams are in the upper bracket.”

Wolfpack Track Ties For League Title

Here's a report from Wolfpack track coach Jeff Adams:

The Cosumnes Oaks Girls and Boys Track and Field teams both finished second in the Sierra Valley Conference for 2014.  A tie with Vista del Lago at the league championship, 156-156, prevented our first SVC title for the Women's team.  Next week, the Women's team starts the road to a 4th consecutive D4 Section Championship

Our team's success over the years is directly attributable to our coaches.  I have worked hard to seek out and secure top coach talent for all aspects of our Track and Field team.  The quality across all disciplines of the team make the CO team diverse and talented.  From throws to jumps to sprints to distance we are a complete team which competes at a high level.

We are D4 - we compete at SCUS next week.  We moved a total of 24 Men and Women athletes to D4 Sections.  Some of the highlights of our team who are very likely to make the Masters Meet are:


Natsumi Mcgee league champion and top 1 or 2 seed in the section in the 4x1, 100m, 200m 400m. 

Tais Marinho-Gomez 4 time league champion Triple Jumper and 2nd seed in the section ( undefeated for 4 years in the SVC Triple Jump competition)  3rd seed in the section in the Long Jump.

Mishaye Venerable   2 time league champion in the Long Jump 2nd in the section, 5th ranked in the Triple Jump

Kendall Herod - 4th ranked 400m - 3rd ranked 800m

Abena Boatang - 3rd ranked in the 100m Hurdles, 5th ranked in the 300m hurdles

Jaycie Wildermuth - 4th ranked in the 300m Hurdles

and both the 4x1 and 4x4 4th ranked 1st and 4th respectively should move to Masters


Alex Van Dyke 400M - 48.8 finals time, league champion, new school record. 1st ranked runner in section by a full second

Michael Anderson - 4th ranked 1600 and 3200

Both the 4x1 and 4x4 ranked 2nd and 1st respectively should get to master as well.

The depth and talent on these two teams is impressive.  Our team will move about 18 athletes into the Masters meet due to the high level performances we are achieving on a weekly basis.  It really comes down to talented athletes and a coaching staff which is able to get the very best out of each of our athletes. 

It's likely Natsumi, Tais and Alex will make the State Meet.

Cosumnes Oaks Tennis Takes D-III Team Runnerup

After going 12-0 this season in dual matches, plus three individual Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champions, the Cosumnes Oaks tennis team almost pulled off a school first, win a team Section title in the sport.

The Wolfpack lost to three-time defending champion Placer, 5-4, Friday at the Oak Park Tennis Complex in Stockton.

Here is the report from coach Chris Wall:

#1 Boys Singles Andrew Carducci (P) def Andrew Wall (CO)  7-6(2), 4-6, 7-5
#2 BS Brendon Axelbaum (P) def Darian Maxwell (CO)  7-6(3), 6-4
#1 Boys Doubles Jason Wall/Zach Kum (CO) def James James/Troy Potter (P) 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(5)
#2 BD Alec Fontillas/Nabil Sultani (CO) def Tyler Burk/Osmar Ruiz (P)  6-4, 4-6, 7-5

#1 Girls Singles Neha Gupta (CO) def Jessi Fry (P)  6-0, 6-0
#2 GS Danielle Paran (CO) def Grace Schoanhoff (P) 6-4, 6-1

#1 Girls Doubles Tani Thomson/ Clare McInerney (P) def Chloe Anderson/Luiza Macedo (CO) 6-2, 6-2
#2 GD Courtney Mason/Megan Kirchner (P) def Laura Pullen/ Joy Han (CO)  6-3, 6-7(3), 7-5

Mixed Doubles: Kyle Fontes/Julia Hinshaw (P) def Mandy McKnight/Kyle Guico 6-0, 6-2

The meet was tied at 4-4 with one match left, #2GD was 1 set each and the final set was underway. After trading breaks of serve, CO could not hold on to the match and lost 5-7 in the 3rd set.

This is the first year in CO history that the Co-Ed tennis team won the league title with a 12-0 record.
This is the first year in CO history that the Co-Ed tennis team took home 3 individual section titles.
This is the first year in CO history that the Co-Ed tennis team made it to the finals of the team playoffs.

Cosumnes Oaks 2014 Co-ed Tennis Squad

It was a great season.

Next year, with the league realignment,  the team will split with the girls playing in the Fall and the boys competing in the Spring.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Franklin Upsets PG, 6-4

Franklin has Pleasant Grove's number.

Three years in a row the Eagles' season was put to an end by the Wildcats. With the possible exception of the Franklin team two years ago which had Tyler Blake, Kyle Von Ruden and Josh Pigg, the Eagles had a better team and better regular season.

Last night in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section's Division I baseball playoffs, the Wildcats won, 6-4. This means in the D-I final four are three Delta Valley Conference teams, Davis, Elk Grove and the Wildcats, along with Rocklin.

Saturday at noon the Herd will face the Thunder and in the game to follow it's Davis vs. Franklin.


The D-I softball playoffs all amass upon the Sacramento Softball Complex Saturday. The big game will be a win-or-go-home game between Pleasant Grove and Elk Grove. That's at 10 a.m.

At noon Sheldon will take on Enochs. The winners of these games continue on with a second game in the double-elimination round with games at 2 p.m.


The conference/league track and field finals will be run today. The DVC at Monterey Trail and the Delta River League at Oak Ridge. The top four in each event will advance to the Division I meet next Friday at Elk Grove.


The Division III team tennis championships are today at Oak Park in Stockton. Cosumnes Oaks, on a great run this season, will take on three-time defending champion Placer. I have a story about the Wolfpack squad in today's Citizen.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Leisure Leads EG Track Team Into DVC Trials Weds.

If it wasn’t for basketball and track, Tierra Leisure would just, well, just wouldn’t know where she would be mentally and emotionally right now.

The Elk Grove High School senior has found comfort and support from her teammates on those two squads through some very trying days.

On Jan. 23, just one day shy of her 18th birthday, Tierra and her family were shocked with the news that her father Kerry had died in a tragic accident on Bradshaw Road. The elder Leisure was driving his motorcycle northbound when he crashed into a semi-trailer truck that suddenly pulled out of a construction lot near Keifer Road.

He was just 40-years-old.

“I went to basketball that day,” Tierra recalled. “I was doing it for him. Dad was really into basketball. He ran the shot clock, kept score and all those things.”

Kerry was her coach as she grew up and was her number one fan. Tierra wasn’t going to let him down by not playing out the season.

“He was the glue,” is how she describes her dad.
Elk Grove sprinter/hurdler Tierra Leisure

It’s been hard since then not only for Tierra, but her mother, Sherri, and younger brothers Matthew and Zachary and sister, Chloe.

“It was so sudden,” she recalled. “We’re trying to help each other out. I push things aside to help Mom and my younger siblings to get through things.”

What helped back in Januray, too, was that the Thundering Herd was in the middle of its most successful basketball season since 2008 when Elk Grove was 20-8 under then coach Brian Benson.

“We were playing good and made the playoffs,” Tierra said of the 2013-2014 Herd squad. “We did lose in the first round, but we knew we had accomplished something.”

Elk Grove finished the year with a 17-11 record, 7-3 in the Delta Valley Conference, with Leisure as a big contributor in many ways. She averaged 6.5 points, 2.7 assists, 3.5 steals and four rebounds a game.

When basketball season was over, she went outside and started workouts with the track and field squad. Just as she exhibited on the hard courts, Leisure became a leader on the Mondo running surface.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

EG Takes DVC Baseball; Playoff Brackets Set

With San Francisco Giants' general manager Brian Sabean in attendance, Elk Grove defeated Davis, 8-5, to win not only the Delta Valley Conference championship but also its 17th straight game.

The Herd pounded Brett Bloomfield for six runs in the first inning and a couple more in the second and then held on for the win. Austin del Chairo had a two-RBI double in the opening inning as the big hit. Chris Martin pitched six innings for the win.

This means the Herd (22-4) will take the number one seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section's Division I playoffs that begin Monday at home sites. The opening round is single elimination. Elk Grove's opening game will be Wednesday, May 14 at 7 p.m. at Sacramento City College.

In the Delta River League, Pleasant Grove completed a three-game sweep of Sheldon by defeating the Huskies, 12-2. The Eagles (20-4) with the win has won the DRL with a 13-2 mark. Oak Ridge came into the week tied with PG for first place, but dropped a 4-3 game to Jesuit on Monday. The Trojans took the second game Tuesday, 7-6, but Wednesday's game was protested by Jesuit. 

In softball, Elk Grove has won the DVC and Sheldon the DRL. They both have drawn a first-round bye and will open play at the Sacramento Softball Complex on Sat., May 17. Pleasant Grove will be the number two seed from the DRL and will open the post-season with a home game on Tuesday, May 13.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Batson Readies For NCAA Track Post-Season

Alabama sprinter Diondre Batson continues to inch his times faster and faster as he prepares for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field post-season.

Last weekend at a meet at Mississippi State University, the former Laguna Creek and American River College sprinter bested his fastest time in the 100-meter dash this season to win that event. With a barely-legal tailwind of 2.0 meters per second, Batson clocked a time of 10.04, which is tied for third in school history with Emmit King's 1983 run in Zurich, Switzerland.

That is Batson’s personal best time, along with being the best time this year amongst all collegiate sprinters.

The post-season begins for him and his Alabama teammates May 15 at the SEC Championships in Lexington, KY.

Batson won the NCAA Indoor Track championship at the 200 meters earlier this year.

H.S. Track Teams Prep For Conference/League Meets

The area high school tracksters are preparing for their respective league trials this week. On Saturday, the Delta River League will host its trials at Oak Ridge High School. The Delta Valley Conference’s set of trials is Wednesday, May 14, at Monterey Trail High School

The qualifiers will then advance to the league championships on Friday, May 16, at the same sites. 

[Read a NASCAR feature on Elk Grove driver Kyle Larson]

Monday, May 05, 2014

CRC Baseball Loses In Playoff Opener

Kyle Von Ruden gave the Cosumnes River College baseball squad a chance at winning its best two-out-of-three playoff opening series at Marin College Saturday. The former Franklin High School right hander threw nine shutout innings, striking out ten and allowing just four hits, but his team's offense couldn't muster any runs, either. Marin scored three runs in the tenth inning off reliever Josh Pigg and held on to win the game and the playoff series, 3-2. Marin took game one Friday, 11-2. The Hawks' season concludes with a 24-14 record. PG Sweeps Jesuit Almost forgotten in the midst of last week's play was the fact Pleasant Grove virtually assured themselves of the Delta River League championship by sweeping Jesuit in all three games played last week. On Friday, the Eagles defeated the Marauders, 3-2. Pleasant Grove (17-4 overall, 10-2 DRL) will take on Sheldon today, Tuesday and Wednesday to finish out the league play. Right now Pleasant Grove is tied atop the DRL with Oak Ridge. The Trojans play three against Jesuit this week. If both PG and Oak Ridge finish the week with the same record the Trojans would have the number one seed because Oak Ridge defeated the Eagles twice out of the three games they played against each other in early April. One interesting item to watch is which team will finish in third place. Jesuit is 6-6 in league play while Sheldon, at 5-7, still have a slim chance of making the playoffs. Everything depends on this week's play. Division I Golf Today All our area golf teams are in action today at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championships at Rancho Solano Golf Club in Fairfield. The top four teams and top six individuals will advance to next Monday's Section Masters' championship.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

EG Wins Boras Classic

It's the unofficial state championship in baseball, but no other high school baseball tournament attracts the quality of competition the Boras Baseball Classic does.

Started a year ago by baseball super agent and Elk Grove H.S. alum Scott Boras, the Boras Baseball Classic hand picks the top 32 programs - 16 in northern California and 16 in southern California - to compete in what has become a very high profile single elimination tournament.

On Saturday, Elk Grove defeated Temecula Valley, 6-1, to win the second Boras Classic Championship in a game at the University of the Pacific's Klein Family Field.

Sophomore Austin del Chairo pitched the final four innings to pick up the win in relief of Chris Martin who was restricted to three innings because he hurled seven innings in a win over Franklin Monday. CIF rules allow pitchers ten innings of action per week.

Both Dylan Carlson and Brooks Day drove in a pair of runs as the Herd scored all their runs in the fifth inning.

With the victory Elk Grove picked up its 20th win of the season, its 15th win in a row, against just four losses. The Herd will be at Davis Tuesday and then host the Blue Devils Wednesday in the regular season home finale to determine the Delta Valley Conference championship.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Fortier, Dunning Named All-DVC Golfers

Laguna Creek golfer Tim Fortier and Franklin's Alex Dunning were both named to the All-Delta Valley Conference golf squad Tuesday.

The pair finished in the top seven of the medalist standings for the recently completed DVC golf season.

Davis' Andrew Arnheiter was named the top golfer in the conference on the strength of scoring a 300 after four rounds of conference play. He squeezed out teammate Sam Yamauchi by two strokes for the player of the year honor. Three other Blue Devils also were selected the All-DVC list.

Davis won the fourth and final conference match on Monday with a team score of 375. Franklin was second at 419 and Elk Grove third at 428.

This means all Davis and Franklin golfers will move on to next week's Division I golf championship. Individuals who have qualified for that meet are Fortier along with EGHS golfers Lane Walters, Mike Salewsky, Jacob Custodio, Jordan Calanchini and Russell Cook.

They will play Monday at the Rancho Solano Golf Club in Fairfield.

The top four teams and six individuals who are not on those teams will move on to the Section Masters' golf meet May 12 at the Reserve at Spanos Park.

Rossow Ready For The Challenge At P.G.

The second decade of Pleasant Grove High School football will be under the direction of Jason Rossow, a young man who grew up in Elk Grove and is no stranger to the city nor the school where he teaches.

He’s also replacing one of the area’s most successful coaches over the past few years in Joe Cattolico. The Eagles under Cattolico’s nine-year tenure were 84-25. In five of those seasons Pleasant Grove had ten or more wins. The Eagles also won a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship and were runners-up twice.

Rossow thought enough of his predecessor to talk to him about taking over his job before actually applying for the position.

“I talked to Joe and to my family and everyone thought it would be a good move,” he said.

Cattolico, perhaps bitter that he was passed over for the soon-to-be vacant athletic director’s position at the school, resigned the football head coaches’ job. Rossow, who was the Eagles’ head junior varsity coach last season, put in his application.

“Joe has built a winner here, so things are in place for me,” Rossow said.

Now the Eagles will move on with a coach who doesn’t thing he needs to do anything differently.

“I’ll do the same thing,” he said.  “You won’t see many changes.”

The same thing is a strong running game between tackles and a defense that is stingy and will hit you hard, trademarks of Pleasant Grove football.

Rossow, himself, grew up playing this kind of football under Ed Lombardi at Elk Grove High School. Rossow was a wide receiver for the Herd and graduated in 1996. He attended Sacramento State and got his teaching degree.

He and his wife, Gina, have a four-year-old boy, Luke, and a two-year-old girl, Emma.

He’s wrapping up his sixth year as an English teacher at Pleasant Grove.

Rossow’s father, Tom, who is now retired from teaching, but still coaching track and field at Elk Grove, is one of the longest tenured coaches in the Elk Grove school district. In fact, the father/son pair teamed up to co-coach freshman football for the Herd between 2006 and 2008.

The younger Rossow then moved on to be an assistant varsity coach for two years under Chris Nixon. In 2011 he was a junior varsity assistant coach at Pleasant Grove, was an assistant varsity coach under Cattolico in 2012 and this past season return to the JV ranks to become the head coach.

Rossow will also lead the Eagles into their first season as a member of the Delta League.

“I like the bigger schedule, having seven league games,” Rossow said. “But, every team right now is a potential league champion. It will be tough.”

The Eagles will now annually face Elk Grove, Franklin, Monterey Trail and Sheldon along with Davis, Grant and Jesuit.

“Anybody next year could win it,” he said. “I like the fact all Elk Grove schools are in one league and it will be great to have all these local rivalries.”

Rossow didn’t say much about who will be on his coaching staff, but those decisions should be announced soon.