Sunday, January 28, 2018

CRC Sports Week

News and Notes from Cosumnes River College sports ....

Play Ball!

The baseball and softball teams at Cosumnes River College threw out the first pitch for the 2018 season last weekend.
Baseball, under new coach Don Mico, swept a two-game series at home against Shasta College, winning 3-0 and 14-4.
In Friday’s game, Josh Congress (Laguna Creek H.S.), Daniel Vitoria (Galt H.S.) and John Treat (Woodland H.S.) combined on a six-hit shutout. Offensively, Damian Chavez (Franklin H.S.), Aaron Pierce (Pleasant Grove H.S.) and Joey Pancratz (Woodcreek H.S.) all had doubles.
The bats came out big Saturday in the 10-run win. Dean Lucas (Sheldon H.S.) drove in three runs with a pair of singles. Burle Dixon (Sheldon H.S.) had a pair of RBI’s. Mico emptied the bench as eight different pitchers got a chance on the mound.
Tuesday, the Hawks will host Skyline College at 2 p.m. at Clark Field.
Meanwhile, the softball squad opened up on the road at Monterey Saturday. In the first game of the Monterey Peninsula Classic the Hawks dropped a 4-3 decision to host Monterey Peninsula College. In the second game, though, CRC picked up win number one in a 5-4, 8-inning thriller over Feather River College. Cecilia Rivera went two-for-four with three RBI’s. Kylee Boykin and Ashlee Kaiser each had a pair of hits and an RBI.
Ashleigh Berg went the distance in the circle allowing seven hits and just one earned run.
For head coach Kristy Schroeder, the big key is to replace five 2017 starters who all signed National Letters of Intent with four-year college.
“We’ve got a couple new additions,” Schroeder said. “We got Korina Krueg, a transfer from Portland State. She has some speed. So, yes, we have some replacements.” 
Starting her eighth season as head softball coach,
 Kristy Schroeder is looking to put together 
a 30-win season for the fourth straight year in 2018.

Back this season after a one-year hiatus is Amber Wright (Elk Grove H.S.) in the lead-off spot. She, along with third baseman Taelor Ford and second baseman Veronica Smith, both from Tokay H.S., should lead a potent offensive attack for the Hawks.
One of the Hawks’ pitcher will be Gabrielle Montaie who three years ago pitched Sheldon High School to a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship.

Men’s Basketball

Cosumnes River College ended a four-game home stretch Friday with a disappointing 63-61 last second loss to Diablo Valley College.
CRC found themselves down by as much as nine points late in the game and just a little over five minutes remaining. Immediately after, the Hawks used dribble drive and passing high post in and out action to create open 3-point looks. Jordan Roberson hit two threes, Nate
CRC guard Jordan Roberson had 23 points 
in a 63-61 last-second loss to Diablo Valley College Friday.
Wilson scored on a drive in the paint from the high to low post, and De'Rajaee Austin hit another three in the corner to force a DVC timeout. Out of the timeout with the tied at 55 apiece and 2:34 left, Jordan Roberson hits another three to go up 58-55 with about a minute to go. DVC scored on the next possession with a running off-balance jumper to cut the lead to 58-57.
With less than 30 seconds left and the shot clock off, DVC fouled purposefully to send Jalen Valverde to the line on bonus. Valverde went 1-for-2 to extend the lead to 59-57. With 17 seconds left, DVC called timeout. The Vikings ran a pick-and-pop play, made a three and took a 60-59 lead. CRC inbounded quickly and took the ball down the floor. Valverde drove aggressively from the top and took a runner going down the lane line and was fouled with 3.3 seconds left.
Valverde made the first of two free throws, and then Coach Jonathan James called timeout to set his defense and settle his shooter. Out of the timeout, Valverde nailed his second free throw in clutch fashion while giving the Hawks a 61-60 lead.
CRC had a foul to give, so when DVC inbounded the ball and dribbled, the Hawks fouled with 1.3 seconds left to force DVC to inbound in the back court again.
CRC had 6-8 sophomore Everton Maxwell jumping up and down to challenge the inbounds pass and attempt for a deflection. CRC forced a pass away from the basket to the DVC player. DVC fumbled the pass, recovered it, and heaved a highly contested 65-foot sling shot and nailed it as time expired.
The Hawks dropped to 2-8 in the Big 8 Conference. They will travel to Folsom Lake College Tuesday for a 5:30 p.m. tip off.

Women’s Basketball

The Hawks dropped to 1-9 in the Big 8 Conference with a 92-46 lopsided loss to Diablo Valley on Friday. Brookelyn Larkin was 7-for-17 from the floor for 19 points in the loss.
CRC will be at Folsom Lake College Tuesday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.


Men’s and Women’s tennis opened its season Friday with a home match against Folsom Lake College. On Tuesday, the women play at Sierra College.


The 2018 swim season begins on Saturday, Feb. 3 with the Nor Cal Relays at Santa Rosa Junior College. Liz Zenuk is the Hawks’ coach and her assistant is Eduardo Maximo.

Friday, January 26, 2018

"Minor League - like" baseball may come to Elk Grove

Preliminary talks have begun that could send a unique minor league-like baseball franchise to Elk Grove. 

In December, representatives of local sports organizations, members of the City Council and Elk Grove city representatives met with Ken Wilson, commissioner of the Great West League, to discuss the possibility of a locally-owned franchise beginning play, hopefully very soon. 
Logo of the Great West
baseball league, hoping to
start a franchise in Elk Grove

The Great West League is one of the premier summer collegiate wood bat leagues. According to its website, it provides professional minor league-like atmosphere for top college players seeking professional baseball careers. In 2017, the Great West League had franchises in Medford, Ore., Klamath Falls, Ore., Yuba City, San Francisco, Chico and Lincoln. 

According to notes taken from the meeting on Dec. 7 and provided to me, Wilson stressed that his league games offer a family-like atmosphere.

"The Great West League sees Elk Grove demographics as ideal for success," Wilson wrote in his meeting summary. "(City of Elk Grove) has all the assets necessary with (the ) exception (of a) fully adequate facility."

In the past, I have written that same opinion in this column. For as baseball crazy as our city is, we stink when it comes to our baseball diamonds, for the most part. We have been ripe for a minor league baseball franchise for years, but we haven't built that one facility in which not just a team such as a Great West League squad could play, but high schools, our Babe Ruth League or even our area colleges could use. 

We're talking about a stadium-type lighted facility in which 1,500 - 2,500 could be seated with concessions, rest-rooms, press box, dugouts and team rooms could be constructed. Can you imagine a weekend event where, say, on a Friday night Elk Grove High School plays Franklin then on Saturday at noon Cosumnes River College plays Sacramento City College followed by a Babe Ruth League doubleheader?

How about an season opening showcase where all ten local high school varsity baseball teams play five games against each other - two games on Friday, three more on Saturday? Charge $10 admission and after covering expenses, give the rest to the Elk Grove Food Bank? And, like Raley Field, ask the baseball booster clubs to run the snack bar during their games and they keep the profits?

Wilson said at the meeting that a site for this kind of baseball stadium would be at Bartholomew Sports Park where a regulation diamond already exists. His estimate is that an upgrade to that facility would run $640,000. 

He's poking the City and CSD to crack open the wallets and built such a baseball stadium. Wilson also lofted the idea of developing the Brown Diamond in Elk Grove Regional Park.
Maureen Zamarrippa of CSD was at the meeting and promised Wilson she'd be presenting the idea to the CSD Board.

The idea so far has gained some excitement from local baseball fans, however, as Wilson wrote in his meeting notes, "the project is challenging and needs local advocates/champions."

Count me in as an advocate. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

It’s time now for Don Mico on the CRC diamond

It’s Don Mico’s turn at steering one of the top area community college baseball programs. After six years as an assistant at Cosumnes River College, Mico will now be the head coach.
The man he replaces is Tony Bloomfield, who directed the Hawks’ baseball program since 1999. Bloomfield has guided 23 playoff teams, including nine that reached the Super Regional Final Eight. He won nine Big -8 Conference championships and nine conference Coach of the Year honors. In 2012 received the national community college Coach of the Year award. That year, CRC won the state championship without a home game or home practice because of facility upgrades. 
Cosumnes River College's new
baseball coach, Don Mico

“We’re running everything just like normal,” Mico said of the recent transition period. “It’s Coach Bloomfield’s program that I am running. His program has been just so successful. We about making successful men, fathers and sons. That’s what we’ve been doing.”
And, just like Bloomfield, Mico wants to continue to win with homegrown talent, recruiting mostly in Elk Grove and Sacramento. His 2018 roster looks like an all-star team from area high schools.
He has just six sophomores and about 20 freshmen. Most of the Sophs are his pitchers starting with Josh Congress from Laguna Creek High School. Josh Caldwell, a freshman from Cosumnes Oaks, will also be a pitcher likely to see plenty of innings.
The infield will consist of Mico’s son J.D. who will play either shortstop or second. Alex Crouch from Bradshaw Christian will play short or third base. Also at third base is sophomore Damian Chavez from Franklin.
Behind the plate will be Jeremy Kolb of Elk Grove High School.
In the outfield, Burl Dixon of Sheldon will see time in leftfield.
“We want good students, of course, kids that want to compete,” Mico said. “We don’t over recruit. That’s one of Tony’s things. We want to keep things small here so that guys get plenty of reps here.”
Mico plans on keeping about 25 guys on the roster, which when you look across community college baseball rosters, is a pretty small number.
“We want to make certain they guys fit into our program,” he added.
Mico has had several years experience as a personal coach and a pro baseball scout before arriving at CRC. He’ll bring with him personal friend Randy Wong onto the staff alongside holdovers Jno Shuler and pitching coaches Ray Hernandez and Michael Hacker.

CIF proposed rule changes

An interesting email came across the Notebook a few days ago from the CIF. At the upcoming CIF Federated Council Meeting, February 2-3, there are nine proposed items that will be discussed as a first reading. One of them would clarify who CIF member schools are allowed to play.
In recent years, CIF member schools have been engaging in competition with schools from other state associations who have membership in their state, but are not allowed to play in their state playoffs. In some instances, these schools are not allowed to compete with member schools of their own state because they are not required to follow the same eligibility rules. This proposal would help to ensure that CIF member schools are playing other education-based high schools and not academy like programs.
Another proposal would continue to restrict full contact practice to two days per week as prescribed by law but would limit that full contact to no more than 45 minutes per day for a total of 90 minute per week. This time limitation applies only to full contact. The current bylaw limits full contact to no more than 90 minutes per day for a total of 180 minutes per week.
The proposal has the unanimous support of the CIF State Football Advisory Committee.
The 10 Section commissioners unanimously supported moving this proposal forward to the CIF State Executive Committee for their consideration.

Nicolos to sign with Santa Clara

St. Francis senior Marlee Nicolos will sign with Santa Clara soccer program next month during the NCAA National Signing Day for soccer.
“I am so excited about signing with Santa Clara,” said Nicolos. “It is amazing. I have been excited and a little nervous but after my official visit on Sept. 29, it made everything so much more exciting. I met the girls in my (recruiting) class, girls on the team and had team bonding. It was an amazing experience and one of the best nights I have had.”
Nicolos, who currently is the leading scorer for the Troubadour basketball team, is recognized as one of the top goalies in Northern California. She plays for the San Juan Soccer club and was a member of the St. Francis soccer program for two seasons.
She lives in Elk Grove.

Levin on Tour

Elk Grove golfer Spencer Levin lost his PGA Tour card because of a rotten 2017 season and right now he’s trying to work his way back by competing on the Tour. If he makes the top 25 money list there, he’ll gain back his PGA Tour card for next season. 
Elk Grove pro golfer Spencer Levin, now making his
living on the pro golf tour.

He recently told the Golf Channel that one big reason he had such a poor 2017, finishing 163rd in the  FedEx Cup standings, was that he went with a different club manufacturer and just plain didn’t like his set of clubs.
Levin described the Callaway clubs and staff as "top-notch," but added that he had trouble fitting the equipment to his game. He switched back to his old equipment mid-season, and went on to notch a top five finish at the Quicken Loans National that nearly earned him a spot in The Open.
"I gave them their money back and went back to my old TaylorMade driver and irons," Levin said. "It kind of sucked that I didn't like [the Callaway clubs]. Their guys were really cool. I just couldn't find a driver that I liked."
He was outside the top 140 on Tour in driving distance as well as strokes gained off-the-tee, approach-the-green and tee-to-green.
While he initially thought he was without a place to play this year, Levin will be fully exempt on the Tour by virtue of the fact that he had banked at least five straight fully-exempt seasons on the PGA Tour.
"At least I have a chance to get back within a year, which is pretty cool," Levin said. "If I play really well, maybe even sooner. The whole thing right now is about getting back on the Tour."