Monday, August 31, 2015

PG Girls Open Golf Season With Win At the Loren Roberts

The high school girls golf season opened Monday with the annual Loren Roberts Tournament at Emerald Lakes Golf Club.

All Elk Grove Unified teams teed off at a 1:30 p.m. shotgun start to not only get the season underway, but to honor the professional golfer who literally kept high school golf alive during tight fiscal times a few years ago.

The school district was planning on eliminating the sport in 2010 in a cost-saving measure, but Roberts who was playing in a Champions Tour event in the region at the time heard about plan and turned over his earnings to keep golf going in Elk Grove.

Pleasant Grove won the team championship Monday with a score of 202, on the strength of Kendall Doty’s four-over-par 37 and Ari Samuel’s six-over 39.
Pleasant Grove H.S.'s Ari Samuel

Franklin was second with a team total of 219. Promising freshman Courtney Cervellin fired a five-over-par 38 and sophomore Ashley Cho had a 41.

But, medalist honors went to Elk Grove sophomore Jillian Knox who fired an even-par 33. She almost had a hole in one on the par-three sixth sticking her tee shot just inches from the cup.
EGHS' Jillian Knox makes a par putt on the par-five fourth hole

“She’s special,” Elk Grove golf coach Clifford Cheathon said.

The Herd finished third with a team score of 224. Cosumnes Oaks had a 245 team mark.

Denise Fass, the Pleasant Grove coach, thinks this year she’ll have several good players including Doty, a senior and Emily Avila, also a senior, along with Samuel, a sophomore, fellow soph Allison Curtis and freshman Lexi Martin. Martin fired a four-over-par 40 Monday.

Wildcats’ coach Shelly Walsh has a pair of promising young players Cervellin and Cho.

“They also play in summer tournaments which really helps them,” Walsh said.

Franklin H.S. freshman Courtney Cevellin tees off on #5
She’ll also be counting on seniors Emily Allen and Natalie Stoecklein.

Typically, the top teams in the Delta League have been St. Francis and Davis, but the potential is there that Franklin and Pleasant Grove could have the squads to compete, as well, this season. There will be three 18-hole league matches with all squads competing this fall on top of the dual matches scheduled throughout the season.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Soccer In The Park

This weekend marked the official start locally for the "other" football.

For the upstart Elk Grove Recreational Soccer League, today was "Soccer In the Park", the day where all of their 80 teams along with parents and fans ascended on Kerr Middle School to play their first games of the season.

Team photos, vendor tents, and of course, a soccer game were on tap for the new league's 1,000 kids.

"It's real, this should say something," EGRSL president John Hatzis said surveying the crowds of players and fans packed around the grounds of Kerr. 
The Board of Elk Grove Recreational Soccer League (L to R)

His organization broke away from the Elk Grove Youth Soccer League over the winter with one purpose in mind - to focus on recreational soccer, especially for the young kids.

His battle with the older soccer group will continue later this week when he and his board members will attend a CSD Board of Directors' meeting to urge them to allow EGRSL to use some of the fields under their control. Hatzis' teams have been restricted to using EGUSD school facilities.

"We're capped out and we know there will be more kids playing for us if we had the (CSD) fields available," Hatzis claimed. "CSD is losing money by not having us use their fields."

Hatzis vows his organization won't be forming a competitive or club division for it's not the vision of EGRSL.

"That's why we have partnered with I.R. Soccer for those kids that want to take their game to the next level," Hatzis said.

EGRSL teams will play a ten-game season this fall.

Friday, August 28, 2015

EG, Franklin, Bradshaw Win Season Openers

Week Zero Scores:

Elk Grove 38, Reno (NV.) 7
Franklin 30, Clovis North 24
Antelope 28, Monterey Trail 0
Bradshaw Christian 61, Big Valley Christian 6
Rocklin 63, Pleasant Grove 14
Granite Bay 21, Jesuit 7
Grant 50, Burbank 14
Florin 30, Mira Loma 17
Laguna Creek 59, West Campus 0
Sheldon 13, Beyer 12
Folsom 27, Clayton Valley 26
Placer 43, Nevada Union 7

Elk Grove - To Chris Nixon defensive turnovers are like, well, rain in the middle of a California  drought, or a Christmas gift delivered four months early.

Struggling with a big, physical Reno High School squad for the first half, the Thundering Herd turned three defensive turnovers and a 28-yard Ryan Robards punt return into 28 third-quarter points to run away from the Huskies, 38-7.

"Proud of our guys and how they responded in the second half," Nixon said. "I think we re-grouped at halftime and I think a lot of it is our intensity level and conditioning level we have."

Robards, the speedy senior who was switched this year to tailback, had 91 yards on 15 carries and a pair of TD's on top the key punt return along with kickoffs into the end zone all night. But in the fourth quarter Robards went down after a hit to his shin on the follow through of a 40-yard field goal that was good.
Ryan Robards setting up for a 40-yard FG. He made the kick
but was roughed by a Reno defender, injuring his shin

He spent the rest of the game on the bench with a pack of ice wrapped to the shin area. Fortunately, for the Herd, their most dynamic player will get a couple weeks to recover. Elk Grove has a bye next weekend.

"He's a guy who always comes out of these things with nicks, bruises and dings because he plays so hard," Nixon said. "And, usually Monday he's ready to go."

Reno scored on their first possession of the game driving 75 yards in 18 plays and three penalties to make it 7-0, Huskies. The drive took most of the first quarter.

"They are going to win a lot of games in Nevada," Nixon said. "They are a very good, physical football team."

Elk Grove's forced the first turnover of the game midway through the second period when Lau Ta'amu sacked the Reno quarterback forcing a fumble that was recovered by Tyrone Moore. Robards scored six plays later and the game was tied at seven at halftime.

On the third play of the third quarter linebacker Dylan Eldred picked off a pass and returned it 20 yards for the score.

Elk Grove forced Reno into a punt on the next possession and Robards returned the ball to the Huskies' 24-yard line. Julius Fullah scored four plays later to make it, 21-7, Elk Grove.
EG Quarterback Jayden Machado calling signals. The center
is Trevor Reinwald

Eldred intercepted another pass on the first play of the ensuing drive and Robards scored his second TD of the game four plays later and it was 28-7, Herd.

With a minute left in the third quarter, Jake Bellecci recovered a fumble at the Reno 35 and Gavin Reinwald scored on Elk Grove's next play to extend the Herd's lead to 35-7 after three quarters.

Elk Grove's next game is Sept. 11 at Lincoln High School in Stockton.


This is John Zehnder's 57th season running the game clock at Elk Grove football games. Of course, he is helped by his three sons, John Jr., Dan and Mike, who likewise have become fixtures in the press box Friday nights.
John Zehnder, Sr.

Zehnder remembered what got him started to volunteer at Herd football home games:

"Started in 1948. Elk Grove played in the Pig Bowl. I just got out of the service. After the game I told the coach they had only three downs in one series. 'No, no no,' he told me. They took pictures of the game and the coach called me and said, 'Son of a gun, you were right. We had only three downs and turned it over. From now on you take care of that chain gang. So, I was in the chain gang from 1948 until 1958."

He added that the 1998 Elk Grove team that featured Lance Briggs at linebacker and fullback and Ryan Dinwiddie at quarterback and placekicker was the best squad he saw in all those years.

Friday also marked public address announcer Ron Bieber's 39th year on the microphone at EGHS home games.
Ron Bieber

Chat With Section Commissioner

On Thursday, I met with Mike Garrison, commissioner of the Sac-Joaquin Section, about the current state of affairs in high school sports and to clarify the new contact rules in high school football.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Levin Leads Barclays After First Round

Elk Grove's Spencer Levin fired a five-under-par 65 to tie Bubba Watson and two others after the first round of the Barclays, the first of four tournaments to determine the winner of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup. Here was his interview after round one.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

H.S. Football Season Is Here!

These are exciting days and it happens the last couple weeks of August annually.

It's high school football season with week "zero" games kicking off around the area Friday night. Delta League champions Grant will show off their newly refurbished field against cross-town rival Burbank, the five-time defending Metro  League titleists. Both clubs have plenty of speedy guys in the backfield and hefty guys up front.

Also getting ready to debut a new turf is Jesuit, last year's Delta runner-ups. The Marauders will travel to Granite Bay, then debut the new Loyola Field against Yuba City on Sept. 4. Beau Bisharat is perhaps the top running back in the whole league and will be the man to watch at Jesuit.

Elk Grove, who finished third last year, will host Reno in its home opener Friday. Franklin, with Lamar Jackson leading the way, will take on Clovis North at Cosumnes Oaks H.S.

Monterey Trail will be at Antelope, Sheldon will host Beyer, Pleasant Grove is at Rocklin and Bradshaw Christian will travel to Big Valley Christian. The Pride originally scheduled a home game with Oakland Tech, but they backed out and Bradshaw had to make a last-minute change.

Levin In PGA Playoffs

Elk Grove's Spencer Levin had his best professional Sunday round this past weekend when he fired a seven-under-par 63 at the Wyndham Championships. That allowed Levin to finish the tournament at 11-under-par and a tie for 14th place.
Spencer Levin

The Wyndham is the final tourney of the regular season for the PGA and this weekend the top 125 in FedEx Cup points will play in the Barclays. Levin, ranked 115th in the FedEx Cup race, must do well enough to move into the top 100 in order to play in the Deutsche Bank tournament the next week.

The PGA Tour website writes that Levin must finish in 37th place or higher this weekend in order to advance.

Larson Blows Tire, Hits Wall

NASCAR is also nearing its season-ending playoffs called "The Chase" and Kyle Larson may be on the outside looking in.

A year ago, the Sprint Cup series Rookie of the Year missed the Chase by one spot.

This year Larson has had several tough breaks. The latest came last Saturday at Bristol, Tenn., when he was in the top ten of the Irwin Tools Night Race for the first 60 laps of the race, then while in second place blew the left front tire. That knocked him back to 22nd.

After the repair Larson once again lost a tire and that sent him into the wall coming out of the fourth turn. He was knocked out of the race and ended up in 41st place. He dropped down to 20th in the Sprint Cup standings.

"Welp 0 luck again," Larson tweeted late Saturday. "We'll keep pushing forward though. Had a fast car tonight until the flat left front."

The Sprint Cup series will take the weekend off.

SJS Media Day

I will be at the Sac-Joaquin Section's Media Day Thursday morning. I will be interviewing Section commissioner Mike Garrison and will put the audio of that interview here on the Sports Corner late Thursday. Be looking for that.

I understand the Section has plenty of changes in the playoffs for several sports, so we'll offer a rundown for you.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Cattolico on Delta League Football, Armstead, Saunders

Detrick Featured On KCRA-3

Elk Grove professional water skiier Brian Detrick was recently featured on KCRA-3 in a story by Michelle Dapper. Also interviewed was Brian's coach, his father, Steve.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Modesto Chr. Baseball Slammed With Sanctions By CIF

LODI (August 20, 2015)The Modesto Christian baseball program has been found to have committed CIF bylaw violations in the illegal recruitment of a player over the last school year.
It is the Section’s determination following an investigation with the assistance of the Modesto Christian High School Administration that there was a documented instance of undue influence – up to partially paying tuition – by the Modesto Christian baseball coaching staff in its pursuit of a then-eighth grade baseball player.
The documented example was a letter written by an MC assistant coach in 2014 to the mother of the student-athlete that offered various and detailed financial inducements if the student attended Modesto Christian and played baseball.
This letter, investigated and confirmed as real by the Modesto Christian High School Administration, is a violation of Sac-Joaquin Section bylaws 510.A, 510.D and 201.A.4.
The student-athlete’s mother had contact with the Modesto Christian varsity baseball head coach when the student was an eighth-grader in April of 2014. Members of the coaching staff coordinated a school visit, contacted the school’s financial assistance program and relayed all that information to the player’s mother; all these instances are violations of Section bylaw 510.D (pre-enrollment contact).

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hernandez Hired As CRC Pitching Coach

Former Elk Grove High School and Cosumnes River College pitcher Raymond Hernandez texted me Monday night that he was going to be the new pitching coach at CRC.

Hernandez, the younger brother of Arizona Diamondbacks’ reliever David Hernandez, was the freshman coach at Elk Grove this past spring. 
Ray Hernandez
After a successful stint with the Hawks, he went on to Fullerton State. After graduation Hernandez was a late-round draft choice of the D-backs and spent a couple summers in the minors, but a shoulder injury ended his pro career.

Hernandez will be replacing Brad Kilby on the CRC staff. Kilby told me he was likely going to take a year off, “to watch lots of baseball on TV and try to get a real job.”

He was a social science major at San Jose State and would like to earn a teaching certificate and perhaps get a teaching job locally. He was CRC’s pitching coach the past three seasons.

Kilby is also engaged and will marry next year, but admits he’ll miss coaching.

“(CRC) will be really good next year, really strong and will likely go deep in the playoffs,” he said.

The Hawks return 17 players next season including shortstop Andre Gregory, who Kilby said may be one of the top junior college prospects not just in California, but perhaps in the entire country. 
Brad Kilby

Kilby spent seven seasons playing in the Oakland A’s organization, four of those with the Sacramento River Cats where he became a fan favorite, especially with his “rally pants.” He would don very tight fitting baseball pants and then coach first base and it became a fad especially in the 2010 and 2011 seasons when the River Cats were Pacific Coast League North Division champions.

In 2012, Kilby coached alongside his brother Bryan at Franklin High School. The Wildcats won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North title that year, Brad’s fondest memory thus far in coaching.

Access:Sacramento Announces H.S. Football TV Schedule

Access Sacramento broadcasts 22 high school football and volleyball teams over 11 weeks beginning Aug. 28 as Game of the Week begins another high-powered season showcasing top high school sports talent. 

A Special Game of the Week Football PREVIEW SHOW is scheduled this Friday Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. on Access Sacramento, featuring the release of Game of the Week's Top 20 rankings, plus interviews with Folsom High School's Co-Head Coaches Kris Richardson and Troy Taylor, Grant High School Head Coach Mike Alberghini, and a special feature on new High School rules for 2015. 

The season of full game coverage kicks off the following Friday, Aug. 28 with the defending CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D-6 champion Capital Christian Cougars hosting the Rio Americano Raiders.

Access Sacramento welcomes back Play-by-Play announcer and Executive Producer Will James to the microphone as Game of the Week celebrates its 20th year in existence.

James is joined again this season for football by High School Hall of Fame Coach and Athletic Director from El Camino High School  Jim Dimino, who will provide game analysis and plenty of tips for viewers on how to understand, play and watch high school football.

The third member of the broadcast team this season will be Rick Stewart, who will handle halftime coaches' and post-game player-of-the-game interviews.

Eleven high school football games and one girls' Volleyball game will be presented from Aug. 28 to Nov. 6. Playoff football coverage has not been determined.

Games are presented live on Friday's at 7 p.m. on Comcast and Consolidated Communications cable channel 17 and AT&T U-Verse channel 14. Games are also streamed live from from the "Watch TV 17" button.

Previews of the upcoming contests and video highlights after the games will be provided from Access Sacramento's news blog website AccessLocal.TV .

Same day and in-broadcast instant updates are available from Game of the Week on Twitter @SacGOTW.

Aug. 28 (Football) Rio Americano at Capital Christian; 
Sept. 4 Laguna Creek vs. Christian Bros at Sac City College; 
Sept. 8 (Girls Volleyball) St. Francis at Christian Bros (Taped Sept. 3); 
Sept. 11 (Football) Oak Ridge at Burbank; 
Sept. 18 Rio Linda at Foothill; 
Sept. 25 Grant at Franklin; 
Oct. 2 Del Oro at Folsom; 
Oct. 9 Cosumnes Oaks at Del Campo; 
Oct. 16 Valley vs. Sacramento at Cosumnes River College; 
Oct. 23 Antelope at Del Campo; 
Oct. 30 Jesuit at Monterey Trail; 
Nov. 6 Franklin vs. Pleasant Grove at Sheldon.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Former EGHS Coach Dies/Henderson Okay After Line Drive To Head

Dan Goldman, a former varsity boys' basketball coach at Elk Grove High School, died Friday after a lengthy illness.

His predecessor, Todd Reiswig, was deeply saddened upon hearing of Goldman's passing.

"Dan was the type of person, that once you met him, you instantly liked him," Reiswig said. "People from all walks of life truly cared for Dan.  We coached together for many years, but developed a deep and lasting friendship.  I will miss him greatly."

Goldman was the head junior varsity coach and assistant to Reiswig from 1993 to 2000 when he took over the varsity job after Reiswig's resignation. He coached the Herd through the 2006 season.
Dan Goldman

Goldman was a regular worker at the Sac-Joaquin Section's basketball playoff games and for the past few years taught at Elitha Donner Elementary School.

On a personal note, I met Dan when our two sons were teammates on several Cal Ripken baseball teams. I was the head coach and when I saw Dan walk up with his son Jake the first day of rookie league practice in or around 2002, I immediately recognized him, having attended Herd basketball games.

I right away asked him to help me coach and he gladly obliged. He was great with the boys and helped me become a better youth baseball coach, too. In the years that followed we frequently talked about how much fun we had those years when our boys were young.

UPDATE: Dan's funeral will be Saturday, Aug. 22, 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Elk Grove.

Henderson Fine After Taking Line Drive To Face

I was walking through Sacramento International Airport Thursday arriving from a few days with my family in Kansas City and on their way to the gates was Joe and Mickey Henderson, parents of Danielle and Jolene Henderson. The Hendersons were on their way to Alabama to watch their girls play in the post-season with the Dallas Charge of the National Pro Fastpitch Softball League.

Jolene, the former All-American pitcher at Cal and before that a high school All-American at Sheldon, was in the circle for the Charge. Younger sister Danielle, who has recently finished her collegiate career with the Bears, is a reserve thirdbaseman.

What Joe and Mickey witnessed had them concerned greatly. 
Jolene Henderson in her hospital room in Hoover, Ala., after taking a line
drive to her head (photo by Joe Henderson)

In the first inning of Saturday's game a hard-hit line drive hit Jolene in the face. Though the ball made a visible gash on her forehead, she never went down, standing around stunned. Her Charge teammates stood around her in a state of shock.

Jolene was led off the field by a team trainer and was sent immediately to a local hospital.

"UPDATE: Jolene Henderson is okay. The results confirm no fracture or brain swelling! Just a swollen face," the team wrote on Twitter.

Joe also posted a positive report on Facebook:

"No brain swelling, no broken bones, and her eye sight is 20/20. Jolene is in great spirits. God answers prayers. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.," he wrote.

The Charge season ended with a 8-7 loss to the regular season champions, the USSSA Pride. 

Jolene was 3-10 with a 2.10 ERA in her first professional season with NPF. She appeared in 16 games for Dallas, starting 13 of those contests.

Danielle appeared in 31 games, starting 22 of them, and batted just .082.

Both girls are expected to return to the Charge next season.

Davis Belts A Homer A Game For Six Days

Former Elk Grove High School slugger J.D. Davis drew the attention of Minor League Baseball writers a week ago when he homered in his sixth straight game on Aug. 10.

Playing for the Advanced-A Lancaster Jethawks of the California League, Davis told MiLB.Com that his 22nd homer of the year was important for his club.
"It's a good stretch, but eventually, you're going to come back down to earth," said Davis, who was slugging 1.031 with six homers and two doubles in the first eight games of August. "I know that, for sure. The thing I can do right now is just keep taking good at-bats, taking team at-bats."
Drafted in the third round by the Astros in 2014, Davis leads the league with 88 RBI's. His 22 homers are tied for third.
"It's just the timing and being prepared to hit the ball," Davis said. "I was always a little late [earlier in the season]. I was always trying to spray the ball the other way, but I was always late to the fastball. I wasn't really picking up the ball. Me and D-Rob [hitting coach Darryl Robinson] and some of our hitting coordinators worked on getting my hips going and starting early."

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Detrick Take Silver At Skiing Nationals/Soccer Leagues Battle

Elk Grove's Brian Detrick ran 1.5@41'off to take the silver medal in the Open Men's slalom at the U.S. Waterskiing Nationals in West Palm Beach, Florida, this past weekend.

Detrick remains ranked in the top ten worldwide in his sport.
Brian Detrick

Soccer Wars

In Friday's Elk Grove Citizen I wrote a story about the issues our city's two soccer leagues are having with each other.

The new Elk Grove Recreational Soccer League is now practicing with about 800 players while the older organization, Elk Grove Youth Soccer League, has about 4,000 kids booting the ball around the fields of our city.

The issues the two have with each other are substantial including EGRSL's accusation that EGYSL has forced them off soccer fields managed by CSD, EGYSL's accusation that EGRSL has stolen "trade secrets" or in other words, taken part of their database, and EGYSL's contention that several parents who mistakenly registered their child with the new organization are not getting their money refunded.

EGYSL has a lawsuit filed against the start-up group on the "trade secrets" charge that will likely be heard in court in 2016.

SJS Sanctions Football Teams

In today's Sacramento Bee, Joe Davidson has an interesting story about sanctions the Sac-Joaquin Section has imposed on about eight football programs for participating in contact summer camps.

None of those schools are in the Elk Grove area, but they are accused of violating a recent State law banning full contact during these summer camps. The legislation was designed to avoid further concussion injuries.

Del Oro H.S. coach Casey Taylor called the law, "full of gray areas." His program along with Woodcreek, Sacramento and others are being accessed the loss of between two and six mid-week practices by SJS commissioner Mike Garrison.

CIF has implimented a stringent set of rules starting this fall regulating the amount of practice time each week a football team can have full contact/tackling drills.