Category Archives: Sports

One last column Don Schatzel, chronicler of West Sac youth sports

BY DON SCHATZEL:  Don has been writing a periodic column on youth sports and activities in West Sacramento for the News-Ledger. He hangs up his pen this week.

BY DON SCHATZEL: Don has been writing a periodic column on youth sports and activities in West Sacramento for the News-Ledger. He hangs up his pen this week.


Time flies!

We all know that intellectually. But when your time zips by, and you wake up one day and you are 60 (yes, 60) and the AARP info starts coming and you get a copy of the Senior Resource Services Guide from Assemblyman Roger Dickinson in the mail. . .

Now, Roger is a good guy. But what are you telling me, Roger?

I remember the first Super Bowl, and a time when the United States Men’s Soccer team struggled to make the World Cup Finals. Now they have qualified seven times in a row.

I used to be a member of the noon-meeting Rotary Club and am a proud past president of that chapter. Eighteen years ago, my older daughter Jordan would be asleep and I would put her in a kid carry-all and take her to the Rotary meetings to make sure I would not miss one.

That was 18 years ago, and now she is a college student. My younger daughter, Emily, and her friends  are now  freshmen at River City. Remember when they were 8-year old soccer and softball players?

My family and I  are simply no longer involved in youth sports as we once were. I no longer coach the Hooligans Soccer team.  Dale Calles does his usual great job in coaching them, and my family is just not around youth sports as much as we have been.

I have always thought there were great things happening  in our community and school district and a lot of them were pretty much a secret. There were stories that needed telling and I tried to do that in this periodic column in the News-Ledger.

I now enjoy listening to the folks in surrounding cities and communities who are losing the economic battle to West Sacramento, and they still bring up our gang issues and our schools in a critical way. Nice try, folks. No room to criticize anymore.

Oh, by the way, have you seen our riverfront development lately?  That really isn’t a Delta breeze that’s blowing — it is region’s power and influence shifting to West Sacramento!

But, not being around youth sports as much as before, it is nearly impossible for me to get any information and write about it. So I guess this is the end.

I want to thank Editor Steve Marschke for giving me the opportunity to write about youth sports in town. I am not a “writer” (obviously) but attempting to highlight the great people in  our community and their tremendous accomplishment is worth writing about.

These people can be very proud. I was very proud of them, even though (ironically) we occasionally found ourselves on opposite sides of the field. But no matter who won, I couldn’t lose.  If our youth sports team won, well we won. If our team lost to a West Sac team, and all went well, then, we eventually all became teammates at River City High School as the kids got older. It’s a win either way for my family.

I also very much appreciated those of you who would catch me at the store and tell me you have read the articles and enjoyed them. I found that very gratifying and hope these columns gave some helpful information that made living in West Sacramento a little more fun.

Thanks for everything and a special thanks for reading this last article.

Time for me to go take care of my horse!

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

New pro soccer team schedules tryouts


Sacramento Republic FC will hold player tryouts on Oct. 5-6 and Oct. 19-20 at the Davis Legacy Soccer Complex on the frontage road near Davis. Players 18 and up will receive “full evaluation” from Republic FC coaching staff. Lunch and a T-shirt provided. $200 registration fee for each tryout. Pre-register online; visit

The new United Soccer Leagues (USL) professional team will play at Raley Field beginning next year.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

West Sac softball: Nor Cal champs!

All Stars USE

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CHAMPIONS ALL: West Sacramento age 9-10 softball players Laura Garcia, Hailey Luna, Chloe Kitchens, Isabella Mendez, Coach Javier Cano, Vanessa Hensley, Claudia Medina, Mari Cano, Coach Troy Hensley, Jessica Baum, Julie Chand, Viviana Dazo, Coach Adam Medina, Amaya Patenga, Lilly Aversalo and Reyna Sandoval
CLICK TO ENLARGE. Photo by Robert Baum


The Girls of Summer!

“Congratulations” doesn’t say enough to the West Sacramento Girls Softball Little League team from West  Sac, all 100% of them, and they are the 2013, state of California, Northern California champions!

The team was brilliantly coached by Adam Medina, Javier Cano and Troy Hensley.

The players are Vanessa Hensley, Claudia Medina, Laura Garcia, Jessica Baum, Chloe Kitchens,Reyna Sandoval,Mari Cano, Lilly Adversalo, Julie Chand, Viviana Dazo, Amaya Pantega,Isabella Mendez, Hailey Luna.



Their journey started in North Natomas in the Disrtict 6 Tournament. Rio Linda and North Natomas both know the championship road goes through West Sac, and the West Sacramento girls demonstrated that once again by winning the District 6 Championship.

Then it was on to the sectionals in Marysville. The good news was that the games were at 8 p.m., and not in the heat of the  night. The bad was that by the time everyone got home, and coaches were no doubt replaying every pitch of the game in their minds, sleep came between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. You can’t be a zombie at work because you coached a softball game, so the stress on coaches is pretty high – but winning cures all!

West  Sac had to defeat Olivehurst Linda twice once in the semifinals and once in the finals to win the section banner. In hindsight O.L. did West Sac a favor with great pitching, defense and hitting, providing the competition we needed to prepare our budding hampions for the state tournament in Martinez.

West Sac teams have been in Martinez before. The home team there has won four state titles in the last few years, and when Martinez is not winning, it seems like Gilroy is. Both were in this year’s tournament.

West Sac brought a perfect blend of speed, hitting,  defense and pitching, defeating Gilroy 12-0 in pool play and then facing Martinez in the semi finals.

Three West Sac pitchers struck out 10 Martinez hitters. Pitchers Vanessa Hensley, Hailey Luna and Claudia Medina mixed in a fastball with a great changeup to help lead in a 7-2 win.

Hayley Luna had three triples and Vanessa Hensley also had a triple.

Martinez was baffled:

“Do we  play in for the bunt and risk them hitting over our heads, or do we play back and let Claudia Medina and Laura Garci?”

Then came the championship game versus our old friends from Gilroy.

Claudia Medina singled in the first inning. then Vanessa Hensley singled, Reyna Sandoval singled and Hayley Luna continued her hitting rampage with a double. Chloe Kitchens singled and West Sac was ahead 3-0.

Hayley Luna added a two-run homer and struck out nine Gilroy hitters. Mari Cano added a booming triple! Gilroy managed only 2 hits. It was great fun watching them play and represent our community with such style,  excellence and sportsmanship.

West Sac won 15-1 after five innings.  The victory was called early, due to the “mercy rule” invoked by the huge lead. West Sacramento’s All Stars and were crowned as state champions.

Southern California has  a champion team too, but at this age level the two champs don’t play each other.

The “Girls of Summer”: what a great accomplishment.


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Copyright News-Ledger 2013


Brothers take different paths to UCD

salazar brothersFROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 10, 2013 —

West Sacramento’s Chris Salazar graduated this spring from UC Davis with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering — with honors. The 22-year old earned a full academic ride in the school’s master’s program in structural engineering.

His path to UCD took him from River City High School, through Sacramento City College.

Brother Guillermo, 18, has taken a different path to the same school. The three time Little League all-star and graduate of Rio Americano wasn’t initially accepted to UC Davis as a college freshman. But his pitching and hitting caught the attention of the university’s baseball coaches — and that, along with his academic record, earned him a spot among the Division I Aggies.

Guillermo Salazar will be an undergrad at UC Davis this year as his brother, Chris, enters the same school’s master’s degree program. This year’s UCD baseball team press guide will feature Guillermo Salazar and a listing of his hometown — West Sacramento.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013