Tag Archives: baseball

The Oakland A’s are coming to West Sac


For the first time since 2007, the major league Oakland A’s baseball team put West Sacramento on its calendar this season.

The A’s will play the Sacramento River Cats in an exhibition game at Raley Field on March 31. Tickets will go on sale to the public for the game on Feb. 15 at Ticket Master. They will be sold as a five-game package that also includes a voucher to see the River Cats play the Stockton Ports on April 2 and three vouchers for any other 2012 River Cats game.

The River Cats are the minor league, triple-A affiliate of the A’s.

Raley Field has seen a number of major league teams take the field since it opened on the West Sacramento riverfront in 2000. The River Cats have hosted the A’s in exhibition games in 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2007; the San Diego Padres visited twice in 2001; the Colorado Rockies played the home team in 2004; and the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners played each other in a major league exhibition game in 2003.

The River Cats have won ten division titles in the 12 seasons they have played in West Sacramento.

Former Cats who went on to play for the A’s include outfielders Nick Swisher, Eric Byrnes and C arl0s Gonzalez; infielders Jemile Weeks, Cliff Pennington and Mark Ellis; catcher Kurt Suzuki; pitchers Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Barry Zito; and coaches & managers Bob Geren, Rick Rodriguez, Tony DeFrancesco and Todd Steverson.

The River Cats’ official 2012 season begins on Friday, April 13, against the Reno Aces.

Copyright News-Ledger 2011

‘Heart of the City’: youth & sports

DON SCHATZEL, News-Ledger Columnist

NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 2, 2011 –

By Don Schatzel

The pieces seem to be coming together at River City High School!

I don’t often comment on sports at River City because they are covered so well by the News-Ledger but I had an opportunity to attend football homecoming event this year and I was very impressed. Athletic Director Char Ghio needs to be recognized for her great work, and she seems to be everywhere at River City Sports!

The home stands were full – so full that some River City fans had to sit on the visitors’ side. We actually had a marching band with uniforms and they really marched and played music you could understand. The River City choir proudly sang the national anthem. The P.A. announcer could be heard and understood! The homecoming floats and honor court were terrific in their classic cars and trucks, plus there seemed to be as many people walking around from the community, catching up on the past weeks activities, as there were sitting in the stands! The booster club is doing  a great job on the snack bar.

I have attended RCHS soccer and volleyball games, and there is Char again.
Friday night River City football games are the social place to be in West Sac and a great place for the whole family to have some fun.

It is easy to see the impact of the Jr. Raiders youth football program on the River City High team, and as of this writing, the Raiders have concluded their great season for 2011.

Hey, sponsors!

If your business is in a position to sponsor a youth league in town – football, swimming,  soccer, baseball, softball – they sure need the help. Again, there are a lot of people attending River City football games, West Sac girls softball and youth soccer games each and every weekend. Sponsorships help keep the registration fees down and reduce the need for families to do fundraisers.

  I have never been supportive of having kids walk door to door selling candy, popcorn, etc. to pay for their program. Everyone I know involved with a sport league goes out of their way to shop at a sponsor’s place of business just because of the sponsorship.  I would guess each sponsor gets a double or triple return of their sponsor investment each season.

Each league has a website for you to contact it through, and they need the help!

It is already  time to be thinking about the Dolphins swim program and Little League softball and baseball leagues. Volunteer board members are planning registration dates, and now would be a good time to look up their info and be ready to register.

Soccer and fall ball baseball and softball continue as long as the  California  weather we enjoy doesn’t change.
Have you had a chance to go by Bryte Park on a Saturday?  The day-glo (often called “highlighter yellow” by our opponents) uniforms you see are on the West Sac soccer players! Hundreds of them, all day at Bryte! If we ever have a game in the fog, we will  always be able to spot our own players. That sounds odd, but having had the experience of playing soccer in Stockton in the fog, by sound instead of sight because the fog was so thick we could not see the other end of the field  the day-glo uniforms would have been helpful.

However, our opponents can say what they want about our uniforms as long as we beat them.

Congratulations to the under 12 girls team coached by Mike Lara, Adam Medina and Troy Hensley for winning their recent  Land Park Tournament.

Vanessa Hensley and Macie McCann: future River City stars? Maybe in a few years  — and we will be watching!

Fall Ball Little League Softball is wrapping up another successful season in District 6. Katie Saleeba, Charlotte Moore, and Alicia  Lopez have had great season for the juniors and Mikala and Sydney Gonzales, Shelby Haith, and Candace O’Neal for the Majors.

Also, another shout-out to Washington Unified after-school volleyball program. A couple of years ago, it was a struggle for the girls to get the ball over the net now it is not unusual to see 7-8 returns per rally and a real attempt – often successful – at the classic bump, set, spike approach!

On a personal note, I always enjoy watching the games and seeing all the great athletes that are playing volleyball for their school and then seeing the same athletes on the soccer and softball field.

Alicia Lopez, Jazlyn Hendrickson Unique Martinez, Ashlyn Dodd, Hannah Mccann, Gabrielle Mistler, Carlie Blevins, Jesse Olsen, Jasmine Anderson, Jordan Criswell, Kylee Hall: great athletes that represent their school and the community all year long in the many sports in West Sacramento!

The “Heart of the City” goes on beating all year long.

Copyright News-Ledger 2011


River Cats clinch division, head toward playoffs

River Cats celebrate clinching their division title on Aug. 24 (courtesy of Sacramento River Cats)


The Sacramento River Cats have clinched the Pacific South Division championship, returning home Monday to begin their final homestand of the season.

The Triple-A baseball team (an affiliate of the Oakland A’s) is hosting the Las Vegas 51s, who are an affiliate of the major league Toronto Blue Jays. The homestand, and the River Cats’ regular season, end on Thursday.

The team plays at Raley Field in West Sacramento.

A River Cats spokesperson said that the team is the first team in “major American professional sports (MLB, NHL, NBA and NFL) to win ten division championships this century,” and that the team has also matched the record in the Pacific Coast League by earning five division titles.

Playoffs begin on September 7, with the River Cats traveling to the stadium of the league’s North Division champion (to be announced). Tickets range from $7 to $60, and are for sale at the Raley Field Ticket Office, at www.rivercats.com/playoffs, and at Ticketmaster outlets.

Coyright News-Ledger 2011

Baseball sculpture finds a short-term home on West Capitol

Commissioned by the Luckenbill family two decades ago to promote pro baseball in Sacramento, this sculpture now plays on West Capitol Avenue. (News-Ledger photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGE – May 18, 2001 –

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

     There are a couple of new guys playing baseball in the middle of 1100-block of West Capitol Avenue – oversized, bronze fellows. The sculpture was installed with little fanfare several weeks ago after West Sacramento city staff saw an opportunity to pick up some “public art” from storage at Sacramento’s Crocker museum. The city has a policy promoting public art.

“The baseball players were originally commissioned by Frank and Lee Luckenbill as part of their effort to bring a regional stadium,” said Mark Zollo, a senior administrative analyst for the redevelopment agency. “At some point, the Luckenbills donated them to the Crocker. They were on display at Crocker Park. The pitcher was up on one foot, supported by a dowel, and some kids pulled the pitcher over. So the Crocker put the sculpture in storage.”

“Les Bowman (a former manager in Zollo’s department) contacted the Crocker. We initiated the loan with them, and in exchange for the loan, we agreed to do a restoration. We paid about $20,000 for restoration and installation. They gave us a loan through 2014, but we hope to extend that.”

Zollo said that the sculpture is mounted more securely than it was in Sacramento, and the location is pretty well-trafficked and well-lighted, so he hopes it won’t be vandalized.

Ultimately, the city would like to put the two baseball players on display on some city land near the entrance to Raley Field – the region’s minor league baseball stadium. That site isn’t ready yet, though, because it’s under construction and sparsely developed nearby.

“This location (at West Capitol) was selected more as a temporary location – we wanted a place where there is a lot of activity.”

The piece is called, simply, “Baseball Players,” and it was designed by artist Lisa Reinertson of Davis. The two figures, who are somewhat crouched over, stand about eight to nine feet tall.

“These are pretty substantial figures,” said Zollo. “They weigh quite a bit – around 800 pounds apiece.”

The Luckenbills are aware that the statues have been moved, and approve of the loan, he said. The artist may not yet be aware that her baseball players are having a game in the middle of West Sacramento’s main street.

An attempt to reach artist Reinertson wasn’t immediately successful.

  EDITOR’S NOTE, 5/23/2011: After we went to press, artist Lisa Reinertson emailed us a response to an inquiry made by the News-Ledger. We had asked her whom she used as models for this artwork.  We heard from citizens who thought the “hitter” might have been modeled on Rickey Henderson or Felipe Alou.

The artist responded:

“The artwork was meant to be a more universal portrayal of a pitcher and batter and not anyone’s particular portraits.  “To answer your question- I used models who were baseball players up at Chico State where I was teaching at the time. (1991?) They were both assistant coaches, one a pitcher and one a batter. Since the stadium the sculptures were originally planned for was to have a new baseball team, they were not to be portraits of any famous players from existing teams elsewhere.  I did go and see professional games as I did my homework on the sculpture and I did look at and get inspiration from images of stances that may look familiar to those in the know.
“My concept for the sculpture was to capture the psychological battle between the pitcher and batter as they are about to throw the ball and strike it back. I wanted to portray the physical tension of each player winding up and ready- so the exact moment before the movement forward for each player was the moment I focused on capturing.”

Copyright News-Ledger 2011

‘Heart and Soul’: West Sac’s youth leagues

DON SCHATZEL: News-Ledger columnist


By Don Schatzel

Have you ever played “Hey Cow”?

This is a game where, while driving on the highway and totally bored, you take turns yelling “hey cow!” at each cow you pass. You get a point for each one that looks up.

I hope your highway driving is more interesting than mine. But while driving on the highway in and around West Sacramento it is interesting to see how many recreational activities people are involved in.  Fortunately, there’s a lot more to look at than some cows.

  In this city, there are fishing boats, pleasure boats, jet skis, and horse trailers. And in a couple of weeks, we will experience our annual decision making process: “Hmm, do we drive 1 1/2 hours east and snow ski, or 1 1/2 miles west and go to the beach?” It will be warm enough!!

Lots of people with lots of hobbies doing fun stuff!

Which reminds me: the “boys and girls of summer” have started!

West Sacramento girls softball, West Sac Little League, Washington Little League and the West Sacramento Dolphin swim club have all started and are still registering. The West Sacramento Trail Riders Association’s “Pony Club” is also planning a summer of activities for young horsepeople, and they all have web sites for more details and information.

On the local youth sports scene:

Congratulations to Clarksburg Elementary School’s basketball team, finishing the season with and 8-0 record under Coach Sue Whipple. Of the 12 girls on the team, 8 are from West Sac including  Sue’s daughter, Jahna.

Elsewhere on the basketball courts, Julianna Calles of Our Lady of Grace school’s 6th grade basketball team scored 15 of her team’s 21 points and had two assists in a recent win.

And then there’s the River City High School robotics team!  The robotics squad participated in a Bay Area competition recently — for the first time in the history of the school.

Here I am talking about “Hey cow!” and these folks are in a robotics competition!!

Fall ball girls softball: the West Sac teams won the minor and major division championship. They were coached by Leanna Hendrickson and John Blackmer.

And finally, kudos to Jordan Ligons at River City High School.

She is a junior on the River City High basketball team that just qualified for the second year in a row for the playoffs. Jordan is a Sierra Valley Conference “All League” player, and a team “Co-Player of the Year.” She’s also the editor in chief of the school newspaper with a GPA above 3.85.


West Sacramento hometown sports: great things being done by great people, in a great town!

  Do you have a tip about some youth accomplishments for this column?  You can reach Don Schatzel by emailing dons1129@att.net . You can send him your tip and (if appropriate) a separate JPG photo.

Copyright News-Ledger 2011