Thursday, March 15, 2018

Let’s call this a sabbatical

After 11 years of writing about our local sports in and around Elk Grove, both on this blog and in th pages of the Elk Grove Citizen, I am stepping away. Call it maybe a sabbatical. I just don’t know when I may return to my sports writing.

Nothing really happened to cause me to want to step away. Call it life.

I am once again teaching at Cosumnes River College and that is a very positive experience. Just ask any teacher at any level and they can explain to you how rewarding sharing your time and knowledge with aspiring journalists can be.

Our family is growing too with the March 2nd birth of our granddaughter Andee Jo. She’s our fifth grandchild. It’s great spending Fridays and Saturdays with them and our children who have moved back to Elk Grove with their own families, rather than at one of our stinky gyms.

I have enjoyed telling people’s stories via the written word and with photos. One day I will want to do special writing projects, telling the story of some one or something special. I will keep the door open.

But, in the interim, please use these pages as a reference or a resource of the past 11 or 12 years.

I do plan to be fairly active on Twitter @egsportscorner. And, I continue to put together the Daily Read, a compilation of stories written by those I follow on Twitter.

So, thanks for following the Sports Corner. I’m certain we will all cross paths one day.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Roy Herburger, long time local newspaper publisher, dies

Roy Herburger, publisher/owner of Herburger Publications, has passed away from the effects of Parkinson's Disease. 

On personal note, I don’t think I ever met a more positive man in my life than Roy. He always had a big smile, greeted me warmly (even in his later years) and was so encouraging. 

Yes, he is an icon. If you looked up the Spirit of Elk Grove in the dictionary, Roy’s photo would be there. Our city, the surrounding region and the newspaper industry has suffered a big loss.

More details on a memorial service and arrangements coming .....

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Herd wrestlers finish second, again, at SJS Team Duals

For the 21st time, Vacaville won the Section Team Wrestling Dual championship on Saturday. For the second year in a row, the Bulldogs defeated Elk Grove for the duals banner.

The Herd had earlier wins over Lodi and Del Oro on Saturday to set the scene for Division I championship late in the afternoon.

Elk Grove won the team dual title in 2016 and in 2015 the Herd lost the dual championship to Folsom. Herd wrestlers have won the Section duals three times and haven’t lost a league/conference dual match in 16 years.

And, a big congratulations go out to Bradshaw Christian’s wrestling squad for winning the Division VI championship Saturday.

All the team duals were held at Lincoln High School in Stockton.

Next up for the boys are the conference and league championships this weekend. The Section Divisionals follow Feb. 16-17.

Girl wrestlers finish second at Northern regional

While the boys were competing in the team duals Saturday, the girls were competing in the Divisional championships around the Sac-Joaquin Section. Elk Grove, with just six wrestlers, finished second at the North Regional Championships in Division I. Del Oro, with a full squad of 14 girls, won the team banner.

Taking individual championships for Elk Grove were Miranda DiBenedetto at 108 pounds, Audrey Elgarico at 139 pounds and Sienna Lejeune at 172 pounds.

Karly Scott was sixth at 103 pounds. Esmeralda Arroyo won the semi-final match at 113 pounds, but injured her shoulder and had to default the remainder of her matches.
Mykhala Bagler was fifth at 118 pounds for Elk Grove.

The Section Masters Championship is coming up Feb. 16-17 at McNair High School in Stockton.

Last season for Carlson?

With son Tanner in his senior year at the school, the baseball community has been asking if this will be longtime coach Jeff Carlson’s final year at Elk Grove. On Friday, he said he really doesn’t want to discuss it, not wanting that talk to take away from the 2018 squad.

“My teaching position here is my livelihood,” he said. “It’s hard to just walk away from something after you’ve done it for over 20 years. But, to walk away from coaching because your youngest son is gone, that’s just hard to do. I just don’t want any focus put on me. All these championships have been won by the players and I’ve had a great group of coaches around me. I am very grateful for them. So, I want (2018 season) to be all about them.”

Should the Herd pull it off this spring, it will be their fifth Section championship over the last six seasons.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Baseball starts Monday for high schoolers, Herd looks toward a fourth straight championship

Elk Grove head coach Jeff Carlson in the center surrounded by coaches and alumni of his program Saturday at the annual
First Pitch Dinner/Dance at the Sacramento Asian Foundation Center.

High School baseball teams will officially start preparation for the 2018 season on Monday. At Elk Grove High School, its baseball season starts every year the First Pitch Dinner/Dance, typically on the Saturday night prior. For the 22nd straight year, Herd baseball brought in baseball families, fans and alumni to enjoy great food Feb. 3 at the Sacramento Asian Foundation Center in Laguna West.

Yes, thousands of dollars were raised with live auction, silent auction, raffles and 50-50 contests, too. What has separated the Herd baseball fundraiser from most of the others is that Elk Grove's alumni includes many professional and college players who came through the Herd program attend the event. This year was no different.

Very few high school baseball coaches can brag he's got former players in the Majors. Jeff Carlson can. And, he's got three. They are J.D. Davis with the World Champion Houston Astros, David Hernandez, who just last week signed with the Cincinnati Reds, and David Freitas who goes to spring training in a couple weeks with the Seattle Mariners.

These guys, plus a few others, donated bats, jerseys and the like to the Herd fundraiser - autographed, of course - so their fame could add to the money coffers. Davis even got teammate Carlos Beltran to sign a bat. It drew a couple hundred dollars.

Just the presence of promising minor leaguers Derek Hill, a 2014 first round draft choice of the Detroit Tigers, David Smith, a 2013 grad who is now pitching in the Washington Nationals' farm system and Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals' 2016 first round selection, helped this year's Herd players, who were serving tables all night, realize the baseball program for which they play has to be one best ones in getting them ready for the next level of play.

Other minor leaguers that came through Carlson's stables include Rowdy Tellez, a power-hitting first baseman in the Toronto organization and Dom Nunez, a catcher with the Colorado Rockies. They weren't there, but Carlson had action photos of those two on the screen throughout the night.

In the college ranks, Elk Grove can boast of guys such as last year's Pac-12 player of the year, Nick Madigal of Oregon State, his twin brother Ty, a pitcher at St. Mary's College, Josh Urps, a shortstop at Sacramento State and Kevin Kyle, a pitcher at Delta College.

The current players will be looking to do something that no one in Division I baseball has done in this area, win four Sac-Joaquin Section championships in a row. What helps Carlson is that he's got a big portion of last year's squad back, led by San Jose State-bound pitcher Brian Freitas and UC-Davis signee Jake Jordan. Carlson's youngest son, Tanner, who is the shortstop, has inked with Long Beach State, too.

There are plenty of other top notch guys to fill out the roster, too. So, Carlson will start the season once again as the local baseball team to beat. Now, it's up to the others to try.

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.