Category Archives: Sports

A new generation takes the field, joins Little League tradition

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

BY DARYL FISHER, News-Ledger Features Editor

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MARCH 6, 2013 —

Well, spring is already here, or at least it sure feels like it. The sun has been out for weeks, birds are chirping, and I’ve already had my first mosquito bite. Actually, the way I have always known that spring has finally arrived in Northern California is that major league baseball players have reported to their spring training camps in warm places like Arizona and Florida, and our own West Sacramento Little League is beginning to hum with activity. Teams are being picked, fundraisers have begun, Picture Day has been scheduled, and best of all, Opening Day will be here before we know it (March 16th this year), complete with the only Annual Little League Parade in the whole Sacramento area.

When I was growing up in West Sacramento back in the 1950s and 1960s, there was simply nothing more important than the start of the Little League baseball season. It seemed like the whole town was full of men and boys who loved the sport of baseball and many of the former had worked tirelessly to create one of the best Little Leagues in the greater Sacramento region. Men like James Cameron, Jack Dunlap, Clyde Burt, Carl Youngblood, Joe Bottino, Herb Hoskins, John Kimbrough, Leroy McReynolds, Red McKinnon, Bob Lukins, Bob Domasky, Bill Havey, and many, many others whose names I no longer recall had used determination and lots of hard work to bring Little League baseball to West Sacramento, and by 1959 they had built baseball diamonds at Memorial Park considered so good that they were used to host that year’s Little League Western Regionals.

Back in those early years of Little League baseball in West Sacramento, it seemed like every mom and pop business in town was a proud sponsor of one of the teams, and you can still walk into places like Havey’s Barbershop and Crest Jewelers and see framed photos of long ago WSLL teams.

  Anyway, back when I was nine years old and convinced that I would someday be the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees or the Milwaukee Braves (I wasn’t quite sure yet if I wanted to play in the American or National leagues) I knew that the first real step to baseball fame and glory started with getting chosen to play on one of the teams in the West Sacramento Little League. So off I eagerly went to my first tryout where I did pretty good in the field, but not so good with a bat in my hands. But the manager of the major league Braves, Bill Havey, decided to take a chance on me and selected me to be on his team.

West Sacramento Little League’s “Braves,” around 1960. The author is standing, third kid from the right

West Sacramento Little League’s “Braves,” around 1960. The author is standing, third kid from the right

I can still remember my excitement when I was given my first West Sacramento Little League uniform to wear. It had “Braves” written boldly across the front of the jersey exactly as the real Milwaukee Braves logo looked and best of all I had been assigned uniform #10, which for some reason long forgotten I had actually prayed would be given to me. Since only numbers 1 through 15 were handed out back in those days, no one wanted to get #11 or #13 or some other really uncool number, so I was beyond thrilled knowing that I would be wearing #10 throughout my Little League career.

Nowadays, you can start playing Little League at a much younger age than when I was a Brave. Back then there were only two divisions, the majors and minors. The minor league teams had wonderful names taken from some of the old Pacific Coast League teams like the Solons, Stars, Padres, Oaks, Angels and Rainiers, and 9 and 10 year olds mostly played on those teams. Then when you got to be 11 or 12 years old, you usually went up to the majors and played on teams like the Giants, Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs and Braves. But now young boys and girls can start playing pee-wee baseball as early as the age of four or five, which finally brings me to my little story:

The other day my son-in-law showed up at my house as excited as I had seen him in some time.

“What’s Dallas so happy about?” I asked my daughter.

“Oh, he was out playing baseball with Will (my five-year old grandson) this morning and I guess Will hit a couple of home runs or something,” answered my daughter matter-of-factly, having never been much of a baseball fan herself.

“You should have seen him,” said Dallas with genuine pride and excitement. “For some reason he turned around all on his own and started hitting left-handed instead of right-handed and bingo, he was just crushing the ball!”

“But Will is right-handed,” my daughter reminded her husband. “Maybe you shouldn’t be trying to teach him to hit a ball left-handed? Maybe it will confuse him or screw something up? His little brain is still not completely formed yet you know.”

“Are you kidding?” said Dallas. “Do you know how much better your chances are of making the big leagues if you can throw right-handed and bat left-handed? Who knows, maybe I can even make him into a switch-hitter down the road? Wow, a switch-hitting shortstop. Now that really could be his ticket to the Big Show! I can hardly wait for Little League to start this year!

“Dallas,” pleaded my daughter, “don’t forget, he’s only five years old. He’s not exactly ready for the major leagues yet.”

“You can never get them started too young when it comes to baseball, right Daryl?” asked Dallas.

“Not in West Sacramento!” I answered.

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Sac Gold plays at RCHS Saturday

In 2012 action, the Gold's Abrahm Prado (left) rushes the net, but the goaltender is able to grab the ball preventing a goal for the Gold.  Manolo Pina (white jersey in background) looks on.  (News-Ledger photo by Eric Harding)

In 2012 action, the Gold’s Abrahm Prado (left) rushes the net, but the goaltender is able to grab the ball preventing a goal for the Gold. Manolo Pina (white jersey in background) looks on. (News-Ledger photo by Eric Harding)

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — MARCH 14, 2013 —

With a 3-0 victory over CD Aguiluchos on Sunday, the minor league “Sacramento Gold” soccer team earned direct entry to the “U.S. Open Cup” tournament in the National Premier Soccer League.  They will host Real San Jose this Saturday at 7 p.m. in West Sacramento.

The playoff game will be held at River City High School in West Sacramento. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for youth. Youth 15 years old and younger who are wearing a jersey get in free.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Free: RCHS plays at Raley Field

Senior Jason Wullenwaber on the mound for the River City varsity (News-Ledger file photo by De'Onna Jack)

Senior Jason Wullenwaber on the mound for the River City varsity (News-Ledger file photo by De’Onna Jack)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER

Raley Field will play host again to a round of high school baseball games this spring. The River City High School team from West Sacramento will be at the minor league park to take on Linden High on April 13. The junior varsity matchup is at 4 p.m. and varsity plays at 7:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free; teams will be selling River Cats tickets as a fundraiser. Visit www.rivercats.com/highschool.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

RCHS tennis off to winning start

NEWS-LEDGER — March 6, 2013 —

From River City
High School

The River City High School Tennis Team defeated both Amador and Bear River 7 to 2 and then opened Sierra Valley Conference (SVC) action with a 9-0 shutout of Union Mine to start the 2013 season a perfect 3 and 0.

At Amador, Lily He and Edward Xu won their #2 singles matches and the visitors swept all five doubles contests.  In the girls’ pairs, Sarah Yang and Sonia Bola took the top spot 8-2 while Nicole Melido teamed with Julia Quenga for an 8-0 win at #2.  On the boys side, Matthew Tagupa and Akshay Prabhakar earned an 8-3 victory at #1 and Ben Gerelkhuu and Muradan Chhay overcame a slow start to win 8-5.  Lina Vang and Amran Khan cruised to an 8-0 shutout in mixed doubles.

Up in Lake of the Pines against Bear River, Cindy Oseguera led the way with a 10-2 win in the top girls singles position and Lily He won 10-4 at #2.  Gerelkhuu provided a 10-4 victory at #2 boys.  Tagupa teamed up with Bola to take mixed doubles 10-2 and Sarah Yang partnered with Lina Vang to dominate #1 girls doubles 10-1.  In boys doubles, Xu and Prabhakar won 10-3 while Khan and Phillip Dinh cruised 10-1.

The season’s home opener was also the first SVC match of the young season and the host Raiders came out well-prepared.  Michael Lee took care of the top boys singles match 6-4,6-3 and Xu won at #2 6-1,7-5.  These were the two closest matches of the day as He won 6-2,6-2 at #1 girls singles and Bola rolled 6-0,6-1 at #2.  In doubles, RC lost  total of just seven games in ten sets.  Khan and Tagupa won 6-1,6-1 at #1 boys and Dinh and Prabhkar scored a perfect 6-0,6-0 “double bagel” at #2.  On the girls side, Oseguera and Sarah Yang (#1) and Melido and Lina Vang (#2) each posted 6-2,6-0 wins.  Chhay and Ger Yang breezed through mixed 6-1,6-0.

Next up for RC will be nonleague matches tomorrow (March 7th) at Lincoln, Friday the 8th at home against Bret Harte, Monday the 11th at home vs. Delhi, and then back to SVC play in a home match against Galt on Tuesday the 12th.  Matches begin at 4:00 p.m.

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Bridgeway takes school hoops crown

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 27, 2013 —

BY DON SCHATZEL —

Bridgeway wins the Washington Unified School District girls basketball crown!

DON SCHATZEL: former West Sacramento Parks Director and occasional News-Ledger columnist

DON SCHATZEL: former West Sacramento Parks Director and occasional News-Ledger columnist

As reported by the  coaches:

Bridgeway Island Elementary School finished their very dominant season undefeated by beating Westmore Oaks Elementary, 37-27.

Nia and Tiana Lowery demonstrated great teamwork throughout the season and Alissa Klein and Zyrian Sambrano were leading scorers.

Westmore made it to the Championship game by defeating Southport Elementary, 21-18. Westmore raced off to a 9-0 first quarter start and never looked back.

Taylor Jackson scored 8 for Westmore and  Citalli Injunza tallied three 3-pointers. Lilly Stall  was an excellent point guard and Cammy Scott a dominant rebounder. Breanna Smith, Kailee Tinsley, Maggie Ladd and Jackie Ayon were all  excellent team play standouts for Westmore Oaks.

Breanna Smith, Kailee Tinsley, Maggie Ladd, Jackie Ayon all pointed out by their coach as great contributors to the successful Westmore season.

Boys basketball is now underway, with volleyball to follow!

Congratulations to Our Lady of Grace girls basketball, for making the move this year from the recreational division to the competitive division. Julianna Calles, Loren Bykowski, Krystal Robles, Madelyn Southard and Sydney Galvan are the starting lineup for OLG. The team is coached by Jeff Southard.

With elementary school teams prospering so much, is it any wonder why the  girls basketball program at River City is now so successful?

Speaking of moving up to “competitive”: Congratulations to the West Sacramento Soccer League, and Alberto Torrico and friends, for creating a new Metro soccer division for the “Best of the Best” soccer players in West Sacramento. The group has already held two free soccer clinics at River City High. The clinics were well attended, very educational, and the players very much enjoyed the challenge presented by the coaches preparing for the Metro season. Tryouts are scheduled soon in February and March for those players ages 10-18 who want to be on the best teams and play the best opponents in the area.

It’s a great soccer move to challenge West Sacramento best players to be the best.  Tryouts are scheduled for  February 23 and March 9 (see item on back page of this newspaper). Each age group has a specific time for their particular tryout.

Don’t forget: West Sacramento Little League and West Sacramento Girls softball are continuing to register as is the West Sacramento swim team  for yet another very, very busy summer here in West Sacramento!

  The seasons start soon for soccer and softball,  and confidence and optimism are very high for River City’s softball and soccer teams. All of our great young players are not so young anymore and many are now at River City. Good luck to all!

The Centennials are at it again.  Centennial Rotary club of West Sacramento members Walt James,

Tony Schwall, Ron Morazzini, Buzz Jones and Tom Engle replaced a 400 square foot roof on a building at the Yolo County fair grounds site in Woodland. The Yolo County Fair is an annual free event and great fun for the family held every summer. Centennial Rotary is the hardest working club in Rotary!!

Now open: La Patisseurie De la Foi. This is a pastry shop in the West Sacramento Collings Teen Center at 1541 Merkley Avenue, close to the Post Office. It’s open  Monday through Friday mornings starting at 7 a.m. It’s a great place for pastries prepared by teen center members who are supervised by a Cordon Bleu trained chef. Proceeds support the teen center at the same time. Great treats, and they’re in town, on your way to work!

Thanks to everyone who has mentioned to me they read these articles. I hope it helps all of us enjoy our community just a little bit more. Spring and summer are right around the corner!

  Do you like what you see here

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2013

Tryouts for youth soccer team

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER —

Tryouts for West Sac Soccer, a competitive program, are scheduled for Saturdays Feb. 23 and March 9. Tryouts will be held at River City High School.

  Tryout times: male and female athletes born August 8/1/2002 to 7/31/2003 meet from 9-10:30 a.m.; 8/1/99 – 7/31/2001, 10:30-noon; 8/1/97-7/31/99, 1-2:30 p.m.; and before 8/1/97, 2:30-4 p.m. For information, email WestSacCompSoccer@gmail.com. $125 fee for season (no additional fees for coaches, trainers or fields).

Copyright News-Ledger

West Sac youth leagues are mature

DON SCHATZEL: former West Sacramento Parks Director and occasional News-Ledger columnist

NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 30, 2013 —

By Don Schatzel

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and Happy New Year!  All the best to you for the upcoming year.

Congratulations to U-12 (under age 12) Arsenal girls soccer for making it to the finals of the Presidents Cup for the second year in a row! Unfortunately, after winning three games in a weekend, they lost the final 3-2 to British American Club.  Laura Garcia and Julyana Lara did the scoring for Arsenal, completing another great season.

The Under-16 Hooligans12 completed their Presidents Cup, and after completing a season with 40 practices and 14 games, are poised to move into River City High School’s soccer season with high hopes and confidence! Taylor Jacky and Andrea Saucedo were captains of Hooligans12 and Taylor lead the team in scoring.

Now, local soccer teams are on the way to the indoor season at “El Azteca” and “Off the Wall” facilities to prepare for next season.

In the last article, I mentioned a lot of softball players and  you know how it works when you start mentioning people: you forget some. I forgot a few, including Hayley Luna and Cameron McGinnes, who are terrific local players.

I was reviewing my list and 90 percent, if not all, the girls  on the all high school all star list  had their beginning  softball training in the West Sacramento Girls Softball Little League – now registering for the upcoming spring and summer season. I know my family had a great time in that program.

Girls softball starts here in West Sac, and league president Frances Lara will do a great job as usual!

“Soccer is basketball played on grass with feet and with twice as many players.”

Johan Cruyff, a great Dutch soccer player from the past, said that.

It is fun to watch the Washington Unified girls after-school basketball program again this year. It’s a league where the coaches coach to teach basketball, not just win games. The quality of play has improved so much. Picks, press, zones in-bounds plays, 4-5 passes then the good shot, are the norm now.

The players have reached the point where sometimes seem better than the referees. The refs can no longer chat with the parents on the way down the court.

The girls know the rules and know when they got away with something. Just watch the little smiles on their faces that show up on occasion. The coaches can coach, the girls can play and  they no longer just give the ball to the best player to go coast to coast then throw up a 20 footer.

Not any more! Yours truly and a Recreation Supervisor for the City of West Sac started the basketball league years ago. Supervisor Troy Turner is no longer with us, but the City Parks and Rec program has 350 boys and 139 girls playing in their program. I think Troy would have been very proud, as I am. (Editor’s note: sadly, Mr. Turner is deceased.)

  In the “Wow” category I happened to be visiting relatives in Gilroy and they have a new high school, “Christopher High School,” named after Don Christopher of Christopher Garlic. The Garlic Festival  brings in 100,000 people in a weekend to Gilroy for their festival and Don was big motivator behind its creation.

The school district needed two million dollars to complete their sports complex at the high school,  and according to the Gilroy newspaper, Christopher called and gave them 1 million dollars then called back, and asked “How much do you need?”

When told another million was needed, Christopher answered, “OK, put me down for two million!”

Life is good in garlic but, many of us know the Klein family here particularly Alyssa Klein (everyone calls her “Lulu”” is moving to Gilroy and she will attend Christopher School. Gilroy already has great softball players, so I really wish they take ours away. We will miss the Klein family and wish them the best!

Blast from the past!

Watching UCLA football linebacker Coach Jeff Ulbrich:

Before UCLA, he played for the 49ers. Before that University of Hawaii, and before that, Live Oak HS in Morgan Hill. Before that, he was a starting center forward on a U-12 (under age 12) team I coached. We would probably pass each other on the street now and not recognize each other, but it’s great to see young kids grow up and be successful!

More community involvement: Centennial Rotary Club of West Sac just donated $200 to the youth boxing club in town. West Sac has  a great boxing history and tradition and if the donation gets more kids involved, yahoo! Centennial also donated  $1,000 to the West Sac Relay for Life which is coming up and planning  is underway.

An interesting piece of community history was shared with me recently. Who was the first person in West Sac to get on base and score the first run at Memorial Park, the site of Little League games?

It was Jim Thompson in 1956! Jim is an outstanding member of the West Sacramento Trail Riders Association. Ron Morazzinni, the president of the horse riding group, is now working with the City of West Sacramento  on its bike and pedestrian path update to remember the equestrian community in town..

Great stuff, and that’s why we love living here.

____________________________

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledge newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2013