The road back to the baseball diamond has been a long and strenuous journey for Summerville Bear pitcher Johnathan Olsen.
Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Summerville hurler Johnathan Olsen (24) delivers Wednesday against Bret Harte in Tuolumne.
The senior dislocated his throwing shoulder during the middle of football season, cutting short his time on the gridiron and possibly ending his baseball career.
Olsen also tore a few muscles in his shoulder, including his biceps.
With the baseball season more than six months away, the right-hander wasn’t sure if he would be able to return in time for the start of his final year.
“Honestly, I didn’t think so,” Olsen said. “But I wanted to believe I could.”
Thomas Boitano hit a home run and the Calaveras Redskins baseball team topped Amador 13-0 on Wednesday in Sutter Creek.
Redskins pitcher Wyatt Durham went the distance and struck out seven as Calaveras had an error-free game.
The Redskins tacked on three runs in the first, two in the second, three in the sixth and five in the seventh to complete the shutout victory.
For one local runner, his inclusion in the Boston Marathon on Monday marked a significant event.
It has been more than a year since the bombing took place near the finish line in 2013, but that attack did not derail the goals of Murphys resident John Hieb.
He ran for himself, but also for the city of Boston in its attempt to heal from that devastating attack.
“It was very inspiring,” Hieb said by phone on Tuesday. “I learned early on when I became a part of the running community that there’s just a lot of great folks that are part of it. It doesn’t matter what political party you’re affiliated with, everybody is focused on running and bettering their times and just being a part of the marathons, especially this one. It was a lot of fun.”
Sonora’s Tyler Casteel came into Tuesday’s game against Lathrop not expecting to play.
Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Sonora pitcher Tyler Casteel (7) winds up for a pitch during the Wildcats 10-4 win over Lathrop in a Valley Oak League game on Tuesday at Bev Barron Field.
The Wildcat junior is fighting for playing time on a strong pitching staff and had thrown just 6 2/3 innings in the last month covering four relief appearances.
“I woke up this morning and didn’t expect to play,” Casteel said. “I didn’t even clean my jersey thinking I wasn’t gonna play.”
But late in the day at school, Casteel was asked an important question by his head coach Scott Johnson.
“I got a text around 12:30 asking if I wanted to start,” Casteel said. “And I said, ‘Yeah!’ I couldn’t have been happier.”
Columbia College head coach Rob Hoyt and the Claim Jumpers men’s basketball program hosted two high school all-star games on Saturday for its annual Madness in the Mother Lode.
Jesse Jones / Union Democrat. Bret Harte’s Will Whited (top left) glides to the basket for a layup.
In the girls’ game, the home team won 65-40 and the boys’ home squad topped the away team 87-83.
“It went really well,” Hoyt said. “The girls’ game was a little lopsided, but it was huge turnout. The seats were full. There were more people for the girls’ game than the boys’ game. It was great.”
By LEN ACKERMAN
For The Union Democrat
Last Saturday I attended the Moccasin Creek Hatchery’s Trout Fest, along with Bert Kronnick, local collector of vintage fishing tackle.
It was a great, well attended event that showed all the aspects of trout raising, fishing, fish cleaning and cooking. Youths under 15 had great fun catching trout from well stocked runways.
I was surprised to find that the hatchery also raised Golden and Cutthroat trout. When large enough the goldens go to high elevation lakes and the cutthroats go to Nevada’s Pyramid Lake. Photo coverage by Union Democrat photographer Jesse Jones appeared in Monday’s paper.
With a 208-223 win over Oakdale on Thursday at Oakdale Golf and Country Club, the Sonora Wildcats boys’ golf team has won 13 straight Valley Oak League matches.
Serge Kiriluk shot an even par 36 to gain medalist honors for the Wildcats. Sam Mays and Brandon Phelan both carded 41s and Spencer Morse and Zach Atwood both finished with 43s.
“It’s a great day when you have a victory,” said Sonora head coach Steve Lee. “We’re keeping it within a reasonable score. Anything under 210 is a good score. We did what we came to do.”
It didn’t take long this season for Bailey Henington to show how talented she is on the basketball court.
Maggie Beck / Union Democrat. Bret Harte's Kelsey Switzer (3) and Sonora Wildcat Bailey Henington are The Union Democrat 2014 Girls Hoops All-Area Co-MVPs.
In her third game, and first as a starter, Henington caught fire in the team’s 56-45 victory over Bret Harte at the 40th annual Sonora Girls Basketball Tournament in December.
Although Henington missed a big chunk of preseason practices while still playing for Sonora’s record-setting volleyball team, the versatile 5-foot-3 point guard scored a jaw-dropping, and career-high, 37 points at Bud Castle Gym.
“She was beating them no matter how they guarded her,” said Sonora head coach Amy Santos. “It was just one of those nights where she was on, and nobody could stop her.”
If there was one word to describe Kelsey Switzer’s value to the Bret Harte Bullfrogs girls’ basketball team, it would be indispensable.
The senior guard was worth the price of admission, but more importantly, her leadership and playmaking abilities helped navigate the Bullfrogs through a brutal Mother Lode League schedule.
With Switzer leading the charge, Bret Harte dethroned defending MLL champions Argonaut twice and swept cross-county rival Calaveras in a three-game series en route to a 14-1 record in 2013-14.
“When you have a player that is scoring nearly 19 points a game, it’s hard to not have that player,” said Bullfrogs head coach Ronnie Davis. “If we didn’t have Kelsey Switzer, would we have the same success? I’m not sure, but at the same time, it would have been a different road. I think there’s no doubt that it could have been a different road. I think our team this year — we had so much success — because our team bought into a team philosophy.”
Bret Harte’s one-two punch would not have been possible without Jessie Evans.
If opposing team’s tried shutting down Bullfrog star Kelsey Switzer, Evans was more than capable of knocking down shots.
And in her senior year, she proved she was a big time threat.
Evans scored a season-high 22 points against Summerville in February on 9 of 13 shooting (69 percent) and finished the year averaging 11.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 1.5 assists per game. She tallied in double figures 16 times as a senior.
For her effort and reliability, Evans anchors The Union Democrat’s 2013-14 All-Area Girls Basketball Team.
“It was rough when she was out,” Switzer said of Evans, who missed eight games in the preseason. “We tried to do some different things without her, but it was hard. When she came back, we got a lot better as a team. It was nice to have a player like her at my level to be on the court with me. She can shoot from outside and also on the free throw line.”