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BH grad Miller a step away from Majors

Trevor Miller is one step closer to fulfilling his dream of pitching in the majors.

Miller was promoted from Double-A Jackson Generals to the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers on Tuesday night after the Generals fell 8-2 to the Chattanooga Lookouts in Tennessee.

Summerville's Quirie rescued from Liberian life

Humphrey Quirie has experienced what most high school students never will during their lifetimes.

The Summerville Bear senior was born in a rural West Africa village of Peter Town, Liberia.

Liberia, during that time was in the midst of civil unrest, and Humphrey had to experience all that chaos firsthand.

Sonora gridders work for playoff return

Sonora senior linebacker/fullback Serge Kiriluk (above) looks into the backfield for a ball carrier during practice last week. JESSE JONES / UNION DEMOCRAT
Sonora football and playoffs are words used almost every year to describe the Wildcats, except for the last two. For consecutive seasons, the Wildcats have finishes 4-6 and watched postseason from the outside looking in, something that doesn’t sit well with head coach Bryan Craig and his staff.

“We have to get back to playoffs, it’s unacceptable not to be in the playoffs,” Craig said. “It’s an automatic here, that’s what we do. We play good football and we get ourselves into the playoffs. All of us, including the players and coaching staff, we all worked hard in the offseason to get ourselves ready.”

Sonora’s Francis inducted into Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame

From left: Jill Mortensen (daughter), Brian Mortensen (son-in-law), Payten Mortensen (granddaughter), Rick Francis, Kimberly Francis (daughter) and Pattie Francis (wife). Courtesy photo
Rick Francis is a year retired from being the head coach of the Sonora Wildcats boys basketball program, but his success on the hardwood is still being recognized.

Francis, 64, was one of 32 individuals inducted into the 2014 Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame Sunday at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.

New schemes have Frogs hopeful in ‘14

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Bret Harte senior running back Logan Lowe charges upfield on a carry during practice last week. JESSE JONES / UNION DEMOCRAT
Bret Harte didn’t find much success on the gridiron last year, but that had more to do with execution and the Bullfrogs instability at the most important position on the football team.

The Bullfrogs started two quarterbacks and were never able to find an established signal-caller until late in the year.

Jake Bailey took over the reins at quarterback after a player quit mid-season in 2013, and showed promise, but he graduated this summer.

Head coach Jon Byrnes, who is entering his second year, will be hand over the keys to the Bullfrog offense to Michael Ziehlke, a 6-foot-4, 165-pound junior.

Over 600 Dillashaw fans heading to UFC 177

A strong contingent of family, friends and fans will make the two-hour trip to Sacramento to support UFC bantamweight champ and Angels Camp native TJ Dillashaw.

The 28-year-old Bret Harte Bullfrog graduate will defend his title on Aug. 30 against top contender Renan Barao in the main event at UFC 177: Dillashaw vs. Barao II at Sleep Train Arena.

Champs ready for another run

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Calaveras senior Connor Hamilton eyes a pass during practice last week at Frank Meyer Field.

For The Union Democrat

For Calaveras Redskins seventh-year head coach Jason Weatherby, the 2014 football season will begin in a way he has yet to experience in his coaching career. 

When the Skins take the field Friday night in Stockton to face the McNair Eagles, they will do so as outright defending Mother Lode League champions. 

If Calaveras expects to repeat as MLL champions, they will have to rely on a few seasoned seniors, and a large group of talented juniors.

Calaveras is replacing 20 graduating members of the 2013 team, and the junior class is stepping up and accepting the challenge.

“The juniors on the team have really come a long way over the summer,” Weatherby said. “I don’t feel like they are behind because they made such positive strides in camp.” 

Bears gridder aiming for postseason

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Summerville’s Humphrey Quirie makes a reception at practice Thursday.
The Summerville Bears football team won only two games in 2013.

That win total was the squad’s lowest since 2007 — head coach Ben Watson’s second year in charge.

But with Summerville returning key impact players, including first-team 2013 All-Mother Lode League performers Bryce Farrell and Jake Fulkerson, the Bears are in better position to turn things around.

“I think we have the potential to compete every single week and do well,” Watson said. “I think we have an opportunity to make playoffs — but having said that — it’s going to take the very best that we have to offer. We’re not going to be able to take plays off and just show up. It’s going to be a very difficult goal to attain. I firmly believe it can be done, but it’s going to take commitment, dedication and the willingness to prepare and work hard every week.”

Bird hunting seasons near; Bill could raise waterfowl stamp price

With the first of the bird hunting seasons coming up Sept. 1, hunters tracking fast flying doves on private lands must legally obtain written permission to hunt in such areas. 

For those without those options, there are public areas open in Merced County, much of which is in the Los Banos Complex. 

For more information, go to www.losbanoscomplex.com or call 209-826-0463.  

Waterfowl hunters may soon be paying more for their Federal Migratory Bird Hunting stamp.

Wildcat runners begin new chapter

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Sonora Wildcat runners (above, from left) Thomas Kruetzfeldt, Paul Mika and Shaan French Jr. warmup during Wednesday’s practice at Dunlavy Field.
Steven Grolle’s ridiculously fast pace will be missed this season,  but a new chapter has begun for the Sonora Wildcats cross country team.

For the first time in four years, the Wildcats will field a girls’ team that could compete immediately for a Mother Lode League title and  the boys return a solid core that helped reach the Sac-Joaquin Section finals last season.

The irreplaceable Grolle, who finished eighth and medaled at last year’s Division IV CIF State Cross Country Championships, graduated this summer.

Filling the void of the a two-time Sac-Joaquin Section champ, will be an experienced trio of runners: Shaan French Jr., Thomas Kruetzfeldt and Paul Mika.

“Frenchy has been looking good and working hard all summer,” said Sonora Wildcats coach Glenn Bass. “He also ran a great race at Pinecrest (Aug. 10). Thomas has looked good too as has Paul Mika.”

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