Sunday, July 27, 2014

EG Ripken 9s Win; Laguna 12's Take Second At Ripken Regionals

Elk Grove Youth Baseball's 9-year-old All-Stars defeated the Laguna Youth squad, 15-5,  Saturday in the championship game of Cal Ripken Baseball's Pacific Southwest Regional Tournament in Panguitch, Utah.

The 12-year-old squad representing Laguna Youth Baseball came one game from qualifying for the World Series of Cal Ripken Baseball this past weekend. The Laguna team were defeated by Hanford, CA., 5-2, in the championship game of the Pacific Southwest Regionals played in Visalia.

Laguna was the Northern California State champions this season and went 3-1 in pool play to open the regional tournament early in the week. Laguna defeated Clovis, 10-3, on July 21. The next day they beat Somerton, AZ., 6-2. On July 23 Laguna squeezed by Heartwell, CA., 8-7.

The next day they lost their only game in pool play to Visalia, 10-6. However, Laguna qualified for the semi-final round and in that game defeated Hawaii, 8-6.

This particular tournament played on diamonds with base paths of 70 feet in length and the pitching mound was 50 feet from home plate.

Elk Grove Youth Baseball's Age 12, 60-foot diamond squad made it to the semi-finals of their regional tournament which was played in Tulare.

The EG squad won their pool play opener July 21, 11-0, over the Northern Utah team out of Rose Park. On the 22nd, Elk Grove lost to Bullard, 10-0, but the next day defeated Surprise, AZ., 16-1, to make it to the semi-finals.

In that game, they were thumped by the host Tulare squad, 13-2.

In the Age 11, 70-foot diamond regional tournament in Long Beach, the squad from Elk Grove Youth Baseball made it to the semi-finals before losing to Hawaii, 6-5.

On the 21st, the EGers opened the tourney with a 13-7 win over a squad from Taylorsville, UT. The next day they ten-runned Spanish Springs, NV., 12-2. Long Beach then defeated Elk Grove, 13-1, on July 23.

Another Elk Grove Youth Baseball squad represented Northern California in the Age 11, 60-foot diamond regional tournament. This event was in Fresno.

They lost to Visalia in the semi-finals, 15-2.

Elk Grove opened pool play on July 21 with a 19-2 win over Bullard. On July 22 they defeated Kerman Red, 8-5. Then Elk Grove completed pool play on the 23rd with a 4-3 victory over Bakersfield.

The Pacific Southwest Regional Tournament for 10-year-olds was in Toele, Utah. A squad from Laguna Youth Baseball represented northern California in that event.

Laguna lost to Taylorsville, Utah, 6-5 in the semi-final round to end their season. They lost their opener in pool play to Hawaii, then defeated Los Altos, 13-3. On July 24, Laguna defeated Rosevelt, Utah, 9-6. They finished pool play on July 25 with a 19-3 win over Toele.

Larson Takes 7th at the Brickyard

Elk Grove NASCAR driver Kyle Larson took seventh place at Sunday's Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis. Larson started the race in the 15th position and actually led the race for five laps.

He has now nine top-ten finishes in his first year on the Sprint Cup series. To date, he's earned a little more than $2.7 million, according to, but that total includes winnings on NASCAR's Nationwide series of races.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Jr. Football Drills Underway

There are more football teams than the NFL clubs in camp this week. It's the opening week of drills for our area junior football squads. Below are some photos of the Elk Grove Jr. Thundering Herd Pee Wees, working out at their long-time practice field at Kerr Jr. High.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Quick Hits

Lots of interesting notes on our local athletes:

David Freitas (Elk Grove H.S.) has been promoted to AAA-Norfolk by the Baltimore Orioles. He began the season with Double-A Bowie.

J.D. Davis (Elk Grove H.S.) was doing so well after being drafted in June by the Astros that he's already been promoted from Short Season A-Tri City in the New York/Penn League to Class A Quad Cities in the Midwest League. He's rejoined high school teammate Jake Rodriguez on that club. Davis is playing third base in the minors. Rodriguez is a catcher.

On Wednesday, Brian Detrick placed 1st in Men's Slalom in the 2014 Regional Waterski Championships at Laku Landing Lakes just outside of Denver.
Brian Detrick (middle) on the winners' stand

On Tuesday, Emelda Malm-Annan (Monterey Trail H.S.) of Golden State Throwers won the national Junior Olympic hammer throw title in Texas.

Jordan Johnson (Franklin H.S.) has signed a pro contract with the Giants, thus forgoing his final two years at Cal State - Northridge.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Larson To Race Sprint Cup, Nationwide AND Trucks This Weekend

compiled from stories written by Hollie Cain, NASCAR.Com

Saying he can't wait to "get mud all over my face" again Sprint Cup rookie Kyle Larson confirmed he will be competing in the Camping World Truck Series 1-800 CarCash Mudsummer Classic race at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway dirt track on July 23.
Larson finished runner-up to fellow 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Austin Dillon in a dramatic last lap battle between Dillon, Larson and Sprint Cup veteran Ryan Newman in the inaugural event last year and Larson said he's already looking forward to testing his Turner Scott Motorsports truck this week.
"We're going to go test here pretty soon and get ready for that one because that's definitely a race I want to win,'' said Larson driver of the No. 42 Target Chevy in the Sprint Cup Series.
"We were close last year, so it's nice to get to go back and give it another shot."
In fact, when he was asked which NASCAR race he's most likely to win as racing schedule nears the midpoint, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver joked, "probably Eldora."
In its second year on the Truck Series schedule, the half-mile clay oval in Rossburg, Ohio has attracted some of racing's biggest names to join the truck series regulars in this points-race. Last year the legendary Ken Schrader competed in addition to Newman, who won the Brickyard 400 from the pole position at Indianapolis four days later. 
For Larson, whose background is in sprint cars, the opportunity to compete in the event looms large on his calendar.
"It was a blast last year at Eldora'' Larson said. "You know, a race that I looked forward to when it was announced last year, and then to get to race it and see how well the show was run and how great the racing was made me even more excited for this year. Getting beat last year made me really pumped up for this year's race. 
"I don't get to do a whole lot of dirt racing anymore, so to get back to kind of my roots makes it fun, too.
"I'm really looking forward to when we go test here. I think it's next week.  So it would be nice to get back in the dirt and get dirty and sweat a little bit and get mud all over my face and stuff."

This weekend Larson will be racing in both NASCAR's Sprint Cup and Nationwide races at Indianapolis. The Sprint Cup took last weekend off, but Nationwide were in Chicago for the EnjoyIllinois 300 at the Chicagoland Speedway. 
Larson with girlfriend Katelynn Sweet

Larson finished in third place.

"I thought we had a real good car," Larson said. "I had some fun, just frustrating coming in third when I thought we had a real good chance to win."

Larson has two wins on the Nationwide circuit but is still awaiting his first win on the Sprint Cup circuit. He hopes that will end this weekend in the "Crown Royal presents, The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard."

The race will be Sunday at 10 a.m. PT and will be televised on ESPN.

The Nationwide race, the "Lilly Diabetes 250", will be Friday at 1:30 p.m. PT, also on ESPN. 

Larson is currently 14th in the Sprint Cup points standings.

Gov Signs Bill To Limit Football Contact Practices

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation limiting full-contact football practice for California teams, it was announced Monday.
The legislation comes amid increasing concern about head injuries in football. Assembly Bill 2127, presented by Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, prohibits middle school and high school football teams from holding full-contact practices during the off-season and limits them to no more than two full-contact practices per week during the preseason and regular season.
The Sacramento Bee reports today that 19 other states have banned full-contact high school football practices in the off-season. According to Will DeBoard of the Sac-Joaquin Section, the state of Texas has passed similar legislation that allows teams only 45 minutes of full contact drills a week during the season.
Locally, our almost all of the high school football teams participate in full-contact summer camps. Stripping them of this kind of workout is likely going to affect the teams, which use these camps to determine who their players are going to be and allow them to install their offensive and defensive schemes. Elk Grove head coach Chris Nixon thinks eliminating the summer contact camps will set back the younger players from developing their football skills quicker.
In talking today with not only Nixon, but Laguna Creek's head coach Dave Morton, as well, the two  practices a week rule is actually more than they currently do with their squads. Morton said once the season begins he has his players just make contact during drills but never bring down a ball carrier or receiver.

Nixon said he runs practices similarly once the season has begun. He's concerned, though, about the limitation of full contact drills during the pre-season and how that will affect the quality of play.

DeBoard admitted that this new legislation, set to take effect Jan. 1, 2015, needs to be more specific and that will be the job of the State CIF Board of Directors between now and then. As Nixon said, "How do you define 'full contact?' Is that actually hitting each other or does this mean a practice with everyone in full gear? That will need to be defined."

Morton quipped: "I think there's more important things for the government to do than tell me how many times my boys can hit heads every week." And, though he thinks the new law won't affect how he coaches football at Laguna Creek - he doesn't take his players to a team camp - Morton knows this is a good step in the right direction.

"It's good they are trying to bring back high school football as it should be instead of trying to make it a business," he said. 

Read more here:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cal Ripken 12's and 11's Prep For Regional Tournament

Two local Cal Ripken Baseball teams will spend the weekend preparing for the Pacific Southwest Regional Tournaments that start Monday.

The Laguna Youth Baseball's 12-Year-Old all-stars won their Northern California state tournament at Rau Park on July 11 with an 8-6 win in extra innings over the Woodland All-Stars. Laguna jumped out to an early three-run lead in the top of the first, but Woodland came back in the bottom half and tied it.  The game was back and forth with Woodland tying the game up in the bottom of the 5th on an error with the bases loaded.

Woodland lead off the bottom of the sixth inning with two singles. A passed ball moved the winning run to 3rd.  A strikeout and infield popup, brought the number-four hitter up with two outs.  Laguna intentionally walked him to load the bases and struck out the next batter on a 3-2 fastball inside for a called third strike.

Laguna first two batters got out quickly and the number 3 hitter doubled down the line.  The next batter up hit a 2-run homer to put Laguna up 8-6 for good.

Laguna now heads to the Pacific Southwest Regional tournament in Visalia, with their first game on Monday, 7/21, against Clovis. The winner of that tournament will advance to the Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen, MD.

To follow the Laguna squad live online here is the link:

The team is coached by Michael Marchant, Lee Burton and Mike Hardey. The players are Hilario Mata - #42 Chase Davis - #8 Ishmael Burton - #27 Cameron Walty - #24 Brandon Rundgren #23
Jake Pina - #55 Jeremy Daneluk - #1 Michael Hardey - #12 Jalen Carreon - #21 Jackon Leonard - #14 David Anderson - #11 Marshall Smith - #3 and  Jack Marchant - #25

Laguna Youth's Age 12 All-Stars, NorCal State Champions
 Elk Grove Youth Baseball's Age 11 All-Stars won its NorCal State Championship two weeks ago in Oakland. They open their version of the Pacific Southwest Regional next week in Bullard.