Category Archives: Sports

River Cats announce 2016 Opening Day roster

New manager José Alguacil leads roster with familiar faces and promising talent

0a7422fe-c257-4182-89f5-42837959c9aeThe Sacramento River Cats are excited to announce the 2016 Opening Day roster. The River Cats open their 17th season in Sacramento with five players who spent time with the San Francisco Giants last year. The Opening Day roster also includes seven of MLB.com’s Top 30 Prospect Watch players in the Giants organization in Mac Williamson (7), Clayton Blackburn (12), Steven Okert (17), Jarrett Parker (19), Ty Blach (24), Derek Law (27), and Chris Stratton (28).

The pitching staff will look to continue its success from last season after coming off a team record single-season ERA of 3.85. The rotation is headlined by Blackburn, who claimed the ERA title for the Pacific Coast League (2.85) in 2015, and Blach, whose 11 wins were tied for third best in the league.

Behind the plate for the River Cats is local product Andrew Susac, a former Jesuit High School star, along with veteran talents in George Kottaras and Miguel Olivo, who have a combined 20 years of Major League experience between them. Manning the infield are five new faces with Juan Ciriaco the only returner from the 2015 season.

The outfield will see a number of familiar faces in Parker, Williamson, and Darren Ford. The already talented outfield will be deeper than ever with the addition of Gorkys Hernandez, a fleet-footed centerfielder who swiped 24 bases last season across three different levels.

Leading the way in 2016 will be new manager Jose Alguacil, who joins the River Cats after one season as the skipper in Double-A Richmond. Alguacil – or Augi, for short – led the Flying Squirrels to a 72-68 in what was his managerial debut. Joining him on the staff is new Hitting Coach Damon Minor, who re-joins the Giants organization from the New Orleans Zephyrs, where he served as the hitting coach for five seasons. Pitching Coach Dwight Bernard returns for his second season in Sacramento, as does Athletic Trainer LJ Petra. Rounding out the staff is Strength and Conditioning Coach Adam Vish, who, like Alguacil, comes to Sacramento from Richmond.

Full 2016 Sacramento River Cats Roster*

Pitchers (14)
Blach, Ty
Blackburn, Clayton
Broadway, Mike
Dunning, Jake
Fleet, Austin
Lara, Braulio
Law, Derek
Lujan, Matt
Mazzaro, Vin
McCormick, Phillip
Okert, Steven
Romero, Ricky
Stratton, Chris
Suarez, Albert

Catchers (3)
Kottaras, George
Olivo, Miguel
Susac, Andrew

Infielders (6)
Ciriaco, Juan
Delfino, Mitch
Gillaspie, Conor
Lee, Hak-Ju
Pena, Ramiro

Outfielders (5)
Ford, Darren
Hernandez, Gorkys
Lollis, Ryan
Parker, Jarrett
Williamson, Mac

The River Cats will be making three moves to cut the active roster to 25.

The River Cats will open their season at home on Friday, April 15 against the Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). Game time is 7:05 p.m. PST. Tickets are still available. For more information, please call 916.371.HITS or visit rivercats.com.

River City weekly sports highlights

Weekly sports calendar: April 6 to 13

Wednesday, April 6:
-Boys Tennis: Home vs. Pioneer at 3:30 p.m.
-Boys Volleyball: Away at River Valley at 6 p.m.
– Track and Field: Home, TCC Center Meet #2
-Raiders Softball: Home vs. Woodland 4:15 p.m.

Thursday, April 7:
-Girls Soccer: Home vs. Pioneer, JV at 5 p.m.; varsity at 6:3 p.m.

Friday, April 8:
-Boys Tennis: Away at River Valley at 3:30 p.m.
-Boys JV/Varsity Baseball: Home vs. Woodland at 4:15 p.m.
-Raiders Softball: Away at River Valley at 4:15 p.m.

Saturday, April 9:
-Track and Field: Away, Thunder Invitational
-Boys Volleyball: Away at West Campus, West Campus Tournament

Monday, April 11:
-Boys Tennis: Away at Inderkum at 3:30 p.m.
-Boys Volleyball: Away at Rio Linda at 6 p.m.
-Girls Softball: Home vs. Yuba City at 4:15 p.m.

Tuesday, April 12:
-Girls Soccer: Away at Inderkum, JV at 5:30 p.m.; varsity at 7 p.m.
-Freshman Baseball: Home vs. River Valley, at 4:15 p.m.
-JV/Varsity Baseball: Away at River Valley at 4:15 p.m.

Wednesday, April 13:
-Boys Tennis: Away at Yuba City, at 3:30 p.m.
-Boys Volleyball: Home vs. Pioneer at 6 p.m.
-Girls Softball: Away at Rio Linda at 4:15 p.m.

Sports photo of the week

IMG_6073
Photo by Saba Khan
River City forward, Jaylen Crim is stopped by Woodland’s goalkeeper on Wednesday night during their 3-1 loss at home against their league rival. The Lady Raiders are now 3-1 in league play and 10-2 overall. They will have a chance to get revenge against Woodland on April 21st.

Little Leagues Merge in West Sacramento

By Michele Townsend

WSLL BoundariesLittle League came to West Sacramento in 1953. It was a much simpler time then, and it seemed the entire town was excited about bringing baseball to the children of our community. It was a common sight to see a team photo hanging on the wall of local businesses.

Its popularity took off like wildfire. West Sacramento’s Little League became official when it was chartered in 1954 by Williamsport, allowing for the children in our league to be eligible for advancement in competition beyond our town limits.

It wasn’t just West Sacramento that was organizing a local little league. Little leagues were popping up all over the Sacramento area. By 1954, California was being divided into 33 original districts.

West Sacramento fell within the boundaries of D6. Once the district offices were established, it became the responsibility of those offices to handle the chartering of new leagues. By then, baseball had become so popular in West Sacramento that it was decided a second league was needed. D6 chartered its first league, and Washington Little League was born in the Broderick/Bryte area.

Now, 60 years later, little league is still going strong in West Sacramento. It is still a common sight to go into businesses and see a team photo hanging on their wall to show the support that they have given our kids.

The town has grown a lot in 60 years, but the original little league boundaries within our town have remained the same. Washington Little League sits between the river and the freeway, leaving no room for expansion and creating a land-lock for that league. Many of the families within these boundaries are established, and still remain in their homes. This is a wonderful thing.

However, the children from that area of the community have now grown, and moved on to live their own lives with children of their own. There are of course still children on the north side of town, so though Washington Little League was small, it still managed to stay afloat.

All rule changes are made in Williamsport, and apply to all chartered little leagues. In 2014, the boundary rules changed. It would now be allowed to play little league in the area of where the child goes to school. When the new boundary rule was put into play, many children from Washington Little League moved over to West Sac Little League. There are more kids, more games, more variety. What’s not to love? With the numbers of players dwindling on the Washington side, it seems the league can no longer sustain itself. Washington Little League President, Teresa Blackmere stated, “It’s sad really. We’ve held on as long as we could, but the simple truth is we just don’t have the kids.” In 2015, Washington Little League had 75 registrants, allowing for only one junior and major teams, two Minor teams and four Tball teams.

However, do not fear. Baseball is still booming in West Sacramento. West Sac Little League is growing bigger and stronger by the year.

In 2015, West Sac Little League had 660 kids registered to play ball. West Sac’s President, Ron Yarbrough stated that “the merger between the two leagues in West Sacramento is not official yet, but it will be by next year. So, for this year, any kids that wanted to sign up, we did it by waiver.” When asked if they were already utilizing the fields in the Washington area, he stated “Oh yeah, with this many kids, we use the fields all around town. However, we have put money into improvements and repairs on those fields, and we just invested $45,000 to improve the fields at Memorial Park. You really should come and see them. They are beautiful. Major league quality.”

Opening Day is March 19th at Memorial Park. So, this spring, if you find yourself looking for a fun day, and something to do – head on over to one of the ball parks and catch a game. Support the kids, share in the excitement, and have a good time! Remember that everybody out there is a volunteer, so please be supportive.