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Bowling column: Sour apples in season this winter


For The Union Democrat 

(This report covers the scores from the week of Nov. 6-11 as bowled at Black Oak Lanes.)

William Thomas, of Gold Country, in the youth/adult league rolled one of the best game and series for a youth this season — a 244/619, which was 91/160 pins over his average. 

Umchu Full House’s Dave Rossi rolled the men’s high game, bowling a 268/739. It was nice to see Rossi back on the lanes after a brief absence.


Set ‘em up, knock ‘em down: Sonora routs Escalon 3-0, advances to final

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat. Bella Bergamaschi (6, far right) sets for outside hitter Shannon Friend (11) Tuesday night in Sonora’s 3-0 win over Escalon at Bud Castle Gym.
Sonora had been to the Final Four a handful of times over the years, but never had any Wildcat team reached the championship game.

That changed Tuesday night at Bud Castle Gym.

The No. 1 seed Wildcats dismantled the No. 5 Escalon Cougars 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-10) in front of a loud, boisterous crowd spurred on by the Golden Regiment, in the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Volleyball Championships. They will play Thursday at UC Davis for their first section title.

“I’m just ecstatic,” said Wildcat junior Shannon Friend. “We played really well and came out and dominated like usual. I’m really proud of my team for beating Escalon in three. It’s hard, they made it so far and it’s tough competition, but we made it look easy. We’re making Sonora history for volleyball and I hope to go all the way.”

“The girls came out well prepared, well rehearsed and ready for this moment,” said Wildcat head coach Kim Evans. “I couldn’t be more proud of this group with their determination and dedication to be where they are today, to make history.”


Volley Jumpers end solid 2013 campaign

Jesse Jones/Union Democrat. Columbia libero Brooke Earling (7, above) digs the ball as teammate Taylor Smahlik looks on.
In their season finale, the Columbia Claim Jumpers volleyball team lost 3-2 (20-25, 25-21, 16-25, 25-13, 15-8) to College of the Sequoias on Friday at Oak Pavilion.

Columbia battled back from a 2-1 match deficit, routing COS 25-13 in Set 4 to force a fifth set.

“The last few years, we kind of had a rough go,” said Claim Jumpers head coach Jennifer Ousterhout. “It didn’t really fall together, but this year was a huge step in the right direction. The team worked really well together.”

Section Success: Grolle, Boblet, Hull qualify for Fresno

Jason Buck/Union Democrat. Sonora Wildcats (above, from left) Shaan French Jr., Patrick McConnell (1352), Steven Grolle and Thomas Kruetzfeldt start Saturday’s Section race in Folsom.
By just 11 seconds, Steven Grolle missed out on being the Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section Cross Country champion for the third straight year at Folsom.

The Sonora Wildcat senior, who captured back-to-back section titles as a sophomore and junior, came in at second with a time of 16:26, and was edged by Hughson’s Zach Morrett, who shaved 58 seconds off his time at Subsections in Frogtown.

“It was tough,” Grolle said. “It was just difficult. I felt like I was 100 percent before I started running. By the end of the race, I didn’t really feel 100 percent. I felt kind of off.”


Tioga’s Spring runs to Div. 5 title, again

Tioga’s Matt Spring is the Division V Sac-Joaquin Section Cross Country champion.

Spring, for the second year in a row, ran down the title on Saturday at Folsom.

“He ran his best race of the season,” said Tioga head coach Randi Mittlestadt. “Matt ran really tough.” 


Jumpers win 3rd straight, top Delta

Ian Merzwinski recorded the first double-double of his Columbia career to lead the Claim Jumper hoopsters past San Joaquin Delta College 82-72 on Friday night in Stockton.

Merzwinski scored a team-best 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

“He played a great game,” said Columbia head coach Rob Hoyt. “He had six offensive rebounds. Every offensive rebound, he put it back and scored. Had key points in the last two minutes. They made a run late, but he played really well.”

Skins pummel Huskies

Jesse Jones/Union Democrat. Calaveras star running back/ receiver Mike Seawell (34) cuts through traffic Friday night during the Skins 40-21 drubbing of Hughson at Frank Meyer Field.

For The Union Democrat

Calaveras cruised through the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Championships on Friday night.

The No. 5 seeded Redskins throttled No. 12 Hughson Huskies 40-21 on the gridiron at Frank Meyer Field.  

“This week we did a good job of staying focused — knowing that it’s win or go home,” said Calaveras senior Emmett Barrett. “So that was motivating us all week long, and we took that with us onto the field tonight.”

The Huskies (6-5, 2-4 Trans Valley League) took the opening kickoff and did what was expected — run the football. 

Hughson moved the chains efficiently on the ground behind seniors Tanner Duron and Kyle Kerlee. 

Kerlee lined up at quarterback for the majority of the night. He attempted only one pass, running mostly the read-option.

But Calaveras’ defense stiffened and on 3rd down, Redskin defensive coordinator Doug Clark dialed up extra pressure and senior Blake Ehlers sacked Kerlee for a 9-yard loss, forcing a punt.

“We may not be the biggest team in the playoffs, but we have threats, and the guys play hard every play,” Clark said. “At this point there is no what if, and there is no tomorrow. During the season, if you make a mistake, it’s OK because there is always next Friday. At this point, there are no guarantees. There may not be a next Friday. We have the potential to do some damage.”

No. 5 Escalon edges No. 4 Calaveras

In spite of a 3-1 (25-15, 24-26, 23-25, 23-25) loss to the Escalon Cougars Thursday in Round 2 of the Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section Championships, the Calaveras Redskins volleyball program is headed in the right direction.

Calaveras captured its first Mother Lode League title in 28 years, won a home playoff game and hosted another in just Kristy Dwyer’s first year as Redskins head coach.

“It was such an amazing season,” said Redskins middle blocker Rebecca Conley. “It was our first league title since the ‘80s. We’re really proud of that. That was a really big goal. We made it really far in playoffs, and I think we did really well as a team.”

Cats advance: Sonora sweeps Colfax, reaches Final 4

Jesse Jones/Union Democrat. Sonora’s Savannah Lawrence (2) denies a kill attempt on Thursday with Angela Gardella (15) ready for a deflection on Thursday against Colfax at Bud Castle Gym.
Sonora huddled during a timeout with the score tied in Set 3 20-20.

The Wildcats had dominated Colfax in the first two sets of Thursday’s volleyball playoff match, but the third set was up for grabs.

Suddenly, a loud team yell emanated from the Wildcat huddle that echoed around Bud Castle Gym. A few seconds later came another.

“Coach (Kim Evans) came in and said, ‘Who’s No. 1?’ and we said, ‘We are!’ ” said Wildcat Angela Gardella. “And then she said, ‘Who’s gonna beat them?’ And we said, ‘We are.’ We all had faith in our team always.”

Jumper volleyers beaten by Reedley

The Columbia Claim Jumpers volleyball team fell to Reedley College 3-0 (20-25, 22-25, 14-25) on Wednesday night in Reedley.

From the beginning, Columbia could not settle down to play its game.

“Tonight’s game was frustrating to watch,” said Claim Jumpers head coach Jennifer Osterhout. “We have so much talent and hardworking players on this team and they always play with heart, but tonight we didn’t reach our usual standards. The team had a hard time gaining momentum and holding a lead for any length of time.”


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