St. Mary’s Johnson one of state’s top sophomores

“]

St. Mary's forward Bryce Johnson, center, has been named a First Team All-State Sophomore by Cal-Hi Sports. [RECORD FILE 2017

Bryce Johnson isn’t just one of the top sophomores in the area.

Just ask statewide media outlet Cal-Hi Sports: Johnson is one of the most formidable underclassmen in the state.

Johnson, a 6-foot-6 forward was named a First Team All-State Sophomore by Cal-Hi this week.

Johnson started for St. Mary’s, which shared a Tri-City Athletic League championship with rival Lincoln and reached the Sac-Joaquin Section and CIF NorCal Division I semifinals.

He is a double-double waiting to happen, and Johnson coupled with fellow sophomore Carson Simi (the two are best friends) and freshman guard Jamar Marshall spell trouble for the area (and section, for that matter) the next two years.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

All-Area Baseball Player of the Year Watchlist

 

 

St. Mary's first baseman Christian Almanza, left, could be in the mix for The Record's All-Area Baseball Player of the Year. [RECORD FILE 2016

The Sac-Joaquin Section baseball playoffs are less than a month away, and the pool of candidates for The Record’s All-Area Player of the Year is slowly becoming clearer.

Take a look at a few of the names involved. Keep in mind, The Record gives the benefit to the most successful teams in the area, which you’ll see reflected in our All-Area teams and often in our award choices.

CODY BOLTON (Tracy RHP, senior)

Bolton, a right-handed ace who’s headed to the University of Michigan, is 5-1 with a 0.63 earned run average. He has 45 strikeouts this season, and ironically one of his top performances came in a 1-0 loss to Sacramento-area power El Dorado Hills-Oak Ridge. Bolton has been on the past two All-Area squads as a first-team selection.

CHRISTIAN ALMANZA (St. Mary’s 1B, junior)

Almanza, a talented left-handed hitter, could’ve scuffled with the departure of All-Area Player of the Year Jarron Silva, who’s at UCLA, and catcher Dillon Tatum, who’s been injured. Instead, Almanza is batting .574 with 10 extra-base hits and 16 RBI, touting an OPS of 1.533.

NATE GEORGE (Tracy 2B, senior)

George is a staple in the Bulldogs’ potent lineup, batting .477 with 10 extra-base hits, including four home runs, and a team-high 19 RBI.

WILL SCHAFF (Tracy RHP, junior)

Schaff has been superb in his first turn as a varsity starter, and is 6-0 with a 0.50 ERA. Even more impressively, he has 35 strikeouts to just two walks all season. Strike-throwing will be critical come playoff time: it’s good to have a guy like Schaff.

JACOB STANDRIDGE (Bear Creek RHP, senior)

Standridge has continued to be the Bruins’ intelligent ace, and hits in the middle of the order as well. Bear Creek does not have statistics posted on MaxPreps, but Standridge got the win pitching and went 3 for 3 with a double in a 12-1 win over Chavez on Monday.

JACOB PETERSON (Sierra RHP, junior)

Peterson is an excellent dual-threat player for the Timberwolves, and is batting .389 with eight extra-base hits and 14 RBI, and is 4-2 with a 1.94 ERA and two complete games. Sierra is two games behind Oakdale in the VOL standings, and the two play each other twice this week: on Tuesday at Sierra and on Thursday at Oakdale.

BRAYDEN HARCASTLE (East Union C, junior)

Hardcastle, one of The Record’s former Male Athlete of the Week winners, is the backstop of the third-place Lancers (who are seeking a return to the postseason) and hitting quite well. Hardcastle is batting .400 with three home runs, nine doubles and 20 RBI, and slugging a Bonds-ian .760.

RYAN WARD (Manteca RHP, freshman)

It would take an incredible finish by Manteca, and an exceptional final few starts by Ward, to close in on some of the veterans, but his debut has been amazing nonetheless. Ward is 7-1 with a 0.98 ERA< with 57 strikeouts and 24 walks. The Buffs’ future is bright to say the least.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tracy, East Union, St. Mary’s softball state-ranked

“]

The Tracy softball team is ranked No. 15 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports. [JAMES BURNS/THE MODESTO BEE

Three San Joaquin County softball teams still hold places in Cal-Hi Sports’ state top 20.

Tracy (14-1), which remained at No. 15 for a second consecutive week, leads the way, followed by East Union (up to 18 from 19) and St. Mary’s (up to 19 from 20) follow. Tracy and East Union play in the NorCal Classic Platinum Division at 9 a.m. Thursday at Tracy Sports Complex.

The Bulldogs beat the Lancers 5-1 earlier this season. Tracy has also beaten St. Mary’s 5-1 in their first of three Tri-City Athletic League matchups.

Tracy baseball had been ranked No. 14 in Cal-Hi’s top 20, but dropped out, presumably via its 1-0 loss to El Dorado Hills-Oak Ridge, plus a surge of success from Southern California teams (at least, that’s usually the case).

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Brusa belts first Cal League HR

The swing that’s so smooth, you just know it’s impossible to teach, has produced its first Cal League home run.

Gio Brusa, a product of both St. Mary’s High and University of the Pacific baseball, clobbered his first homer with the San Jose Giants in a road game against the Lancaster JetHawks on Tuesday.

Brusa was a sixth-round pick of the San Francisco Giants last June, and is ranked as the franchise’s No. 30 prospect on sfgiants.com.

The Lodi native Brusa hit a career high 14 homers as a Pacific senior in 2016.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

St. Mary’s football adds Mater Dei to schedule

“]

St. Mary's offensive linemen prepare during the Rams' 56-25 win over Folsom in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I football finals on Dec. 3, 2016, at Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium. [CRAIG SANDERS/RECORD FILE 2016

The St. Mary’s football team will no longer play the reigning CIF State Open Division champion in 2017.

Bellflower-St. John Bosco, which was scheduled for a Week 4 trip to Stockton after the Rams traveled to Whittier College to face the Braves last year, pulled off St. Mary’s schedule after setting up a game with St. John’s of Washington, D.C.

So instead of St. Mary’s picking up a lackluster opponent, it grabbed yet another Southern California power in Santa Ana-Mater Dei.

St. Mary’s hosts Mater Dei at 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 22 at Sanguinetti Field.

The Rams went 14-2 in 2016, and were Sac-Joaquin Section Division I and NorCal Division 1-AA champions. San Diego-Cathedral Catholic beat St. Mary’s 38-35 in overtime in the state finals.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

St. Mary’s, Tracy baseball in NorCal Top 20

The Tracy and St. Mary’s baseball teams are both listed in NorCalPreps’ Top 20 rankings. Tracy (4-0) is No. 11 and St. Mary’s (1-2) is No. 15.

Besides being Tri-City Athletic League rivals, the two teams have been dominating the southern half of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division I playoff bracket.

The two return first-team All-Area players in Tracy’s Cody Bolton and Lee Brewer and St. Mary’s Christian Almanza.

De La Salle (4-0), which beat St. Mary’s 11-0 on Saturday, is ranked No. 1.

Elk Grove (1-4), the reigning Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion, is No. 7. St. Mary’s hosts Elk Grove at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Stockton.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

Posted in High school football, High School Sports, Sports | Leave a comment

Elliot Christian boys ranked No. 4 in Division V

Elliot Christian point guard Jalen Valverde, left, rises for a layup against Envision Academy during a CIF NorCal quarterfinal Saturday at McNair High in Stockton. CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD

The Elliot Christian boys basketball team is the top ranked area team in its division statewide, according to Cal-Hi Sports.

Elliot Christian is tabbed at No. 4 in Division V behind No. 1 San Pedro-Rolling Hills Prep, No. 2 Riverside-Notre Dame and No. 3 Watsonville-St. Francis.

The Eagles host Ross-Branson in a CIF NorCal Division V semifinal at 7 p.m. today at Tokay High.

The other area boys team alive, St. Mary’s, is considered an “on the bubble” team in Division I.

Cal-Hi ranks the St. Mary’s girls at No. 6 in the state for the Open Division, and No. 3 in NorCal behind No. 1 San Jose-Archbishop Mitty and No. 5 Los Altos Hills-Pinewood. Mitty hosts St. Mary’s in a semifinal at 7 p.m. today in San Jose.

The Argonaut girls, who travel to East Palo Alto-Eastside College Prep, are No.6  in Division V.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

Posted in High School Sports, Sports | Leave a comment

Gameday Preview: Lincoln-St. Mary’s semifinal

When two rivals meet in the playoffs, the spectators can be nearly as invested and anxious as the participant.

Take the pregame scene at Pacific’s Spanos Center, where fans awaited the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal between rivals No. 4 Lincoln and No. 1 St. Mary’s.

Doug Murray, Delta College football’s defensive coordinator and the father of Rams guard Naje Murray, sat perched wearing a long-sleeved, black “DC” shirt, at the top of the bleachers where Pacific students usually sit for home games.

Watching his daughter play, he said, is a bit more nerve-racking than a Delta gameday, because of his lack of control.

Nearby, Edison girls coach Diondre Hawthorne reclined and took in the other semifinal between No. 3 El Dorado Hills-Oak Ridge and No. 2 Sacramento-McClatchy.

Edison has won consecutive San Joaquin Athletic Association championships in Hawthorne’s two years. The Vikings earned the No. 10 seed in this year’s Division I playoffs and dropped its opener to No. 7 Brookside Christian.

Hawthorne was watching a game he envisions for his Edison team, which hadn’t won a league title since 1977 until February of 2016.

QUICK HITS

A few vital facts before tipoff, which should be 8:30 p.m.

  • DeCostamania: Junior forward Aquira DeCosta is back for St. Mary’s, and the 6-foot-2 megaprospect showed she’s recovering well from her torn meniscus by scoring 26 points in the quarterfinal win over Davis on Thursday. Lincoln’s win over St. Mary’s in January came without DeCosta, senior guard Naje Murray (ACL tear) and junior guard Ariel Johnson (ankle injury) on the court. They’re all here tonight.
  • “Nobody believes in us”: One of the best things Jim Harbaugh did for the San Francisco 49ers is instill a healthy sense of bitterness and venom. The cliche-but-impactful “Nobody believes in us” tactic. Lincoln has to summon every bit of that tonight, and challenge it into mean-spirited defense, good decision-making, ball protection and driving to the basket without fear of DeCosta, Johnson or Neenah Young.
  • Rare: It doesn’t appear that Lincoln and St. Mary’s have faced each other in the postseason, at least in the tenure of Gonsalves (since 2002). So no matter what happens, tonight’s matchup is historic and should be savored.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

Posted in High School Sports, Sports | Leave a comment

Rapid Reaction: Section Basketball Playoffs

Lincoln's Andre Kelly, right, and St. Mary's J.D. Dike, center, fight for the basketball as Lincoln's Darius Harris looks on during their Tri-City Athletic League game on Wednesday at Morelli Gym in Stockton. CALIXTRO ROMIAS/THE RECORD

It’s almost here. Wait for it. Now WATCH:

The basketball playoffs are here! And usually, the release of the brackets is more a ceremonially-exciting thing. It takes awhile for league rematches, or marquee games, to show up.

But the Sac-Joaquin Section (which communications director Will DeBoard acknowledged during the selection show with The Sacramento Bee’s Joe Davidson) is warming to placing same-city and same-league teams together earlier on in the playoffs.

This leads to three fascinating (and it should be noted, only hypothetical quarterfinal games:

  • Division I Boys: No. 5 West at No. 4 Lincoln
  • Division III Boys: No. 11 Lathrop at No. 3 Manteca
  • Division III Girls: No. 5 Kimball at No. 4 Manteca
Now, Lathrop needs to upset Sacramento-Rio Americano, and Lincoln has no easy task in No. 13 Sacramento High (a team that just defeated a really tough Sacramento-Burbank squad recently).
These games, though, and especially Lincoln at West, could be fascinating.
Now, here are a couple of Stockton matchups that are right off the bat.
  • Division I Boys: No. 14 Stagg at No. 3 St. Mary’s
  • Division I Girls: No. 10 Edison at No. 7 Brookside Christian
You have to love that. Stagg and St. Mary’s used to be in the Tri-City Athletic League together. Edison and Brookside Christian has a great group of talented players. That’s not a rivalry game, but expect it to be a heated one. Edison is a large school with plenty of alumni in its following, so it will be fascinating to see how that plays out in Brookside’s small gym.
http://youtu.be/vu17ghCKWMs
Finally, there could be an epic, noon matchup for the Division V boys championship on March 4 at Spanos Center. Elliot Christian is No. 1 and Brookside Christian is No. 2 in that bracket. Those two are the Central California Athletic Alliance champion and runner-up. Plus, No. 3 Argonaut (Mother Lode League standout) is in that bracket, as is defending champion Mariposa County as a No. 4.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

Posted in High School Sports, Sports | Leave a comment

Prep Baseball Players to Watch this Spring

Tracy third baseman Lee Brewer hits a single during the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South playoffs in May 2016 at Pacific's Klein Family Field in Stockton. RECORD FILE 2016

Lee Brewer was not The Record’s All-Area Baseball Player of the Year last spring (it was impossible to deny St. Mary’s center fielder Jarron Silva, now at UCLA), but he certainly produced a deserving season.

Brewer, now a senior and third baseman for the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South champion Bulldogs, batted .393 with nine home runs, nine doubles, a triple and 29 RBI. He also posted an on-base percentage of .590 and a slugging percentage of .820 for an unearthly 1.510 OPS. Brewer might be a corner infielder and a power hitter, but he’s also fast, with 14 stolen bases in 16 tries.

He’s been recruited by NCAA Division I programs, namely on the West Coast, and don’t be surprised if he appears for a West Coast Conference program.

Brewer is one of 10 of my returning players to watch for the 2017 season. Here are 10 more:

Christian Almanza, St. Mary’s 1B, junior

Almanza commanded his bat like a veteran all-star as just a sophomore last season. The tall lefty batted .360 with a homer, 10 doubles and 25 RBI, with an on-base percentage of .424. While he can remain a contact hitter, expect Almanza’s power numbers to grow as he physically matures.

Jacob Standridge, Bear Creek RHP, senior

Standridge wasn’t given a 6-foot-6 frame, a superb fastball or a gnarly breaking ball. But man, the Bruins’ ace knows how to pitch. And Standridge’s expertise, with a great, aggressive means of throwing strikes and mixing location and speeds, led Bear Creek to the San Joaquin Athletic Association championship and an unexpected playoff run. Bear Creek knocked out area foes Lodi and Lincoln (via upset) of the Division I South playoffs, and had St. Mary’s on the ropes with a one-run lead entering the seventh inning before a dramatic comeback. Standridge went 8-1 with 1.00 ERA including six complete games. He struck out 57, walked 15 and didn’t allow a homer.

Cody Bolton, Tracy RHP, senior

Bolton is a two-time first-team All-Area pitcher who’s headed to play Division I ball at the University of Michigan. He’s a slender-but-powerful, 6-foot-5 pitcher, who went 8-1 with a 1.96 ERA as a junior. Bolton came through on a big stage, beating Elk Grove in Game 2 of the Division I finals series by allowing one earned run on eight hits across six innings, with seven strikeouts and one walk.

Joseph Chalco, Lincoln CF, senior

Chalco is the type of player — fast, incredibly smart and an excellent defensive player — who would excel in any era of baseball. The returning first-team All-Area pick batted .316 with seven doubles and four triples, and his arm in center field was a great weapon for Lincoln.

Nate Torres, Bear Creek C/RHP/UT, senior

Torres came into his own as a powerful middle-of-the-lineup basher late in the season for Bear Creek. Oh, and he can pitch, too! Torres batted .427 with a homer, 15 doubles and a whopping 37 RBI, with a .519 on-base percentage and a .629 slugging percentage for an OPS of 1.148. On the mound, Torres went 4-2 with a 1.81 ERA in seven starts.

Josh Alvarado, Tracy OF, junior

Alvarado wasted no time making an impact on the varsity stage. The Bulldogs’ speedy outfielder hit .330 with seven doubles and 22 RBI, with five stolen bases. He might move to center field after the graduation of Robert “Yaya” Garcia and could be a leadoff hitter should Tracy move Brewer to the middle of the order. However, Brewer had great success at the top spot so a Brewer-Alvarado, 1-2 punch could be deadly.

Jack Mayer, Ripon RHP/UT, senior

Mayer was a menace in the Trans-Valley League for the Indians as a junior. He batted .356 with 13 RBI but his major impact came on the mound. Mayer went 11-2 with a 2.08 ERA, four shutouts, six complete games, no-hitter and 98 strikeouts.

Kyle Rachels, Manteca UT, junior

Rachels thrived in relative obscurity for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champion Buffaloes a year ago. The then-sophomore, a second-team All-Area pick for The Record, batted .351 with three homers, five triples, seven doubles and 31 RBI. Junior standouts may define VOL baseball in the city of Manteca, as Sierra’s Jacob Peterson, a fellow second-team All-Area pick, is another player to keep an eye on.

Dillon Tatum, St. Mary’s C, junior

Tatum was not only a solid backstop for the Rams, but had some pop, batting .349 with three homers (including one in the playoffs), seven doubles and 23 RBI. He and Almanza could be a premier 3-4 duo that can wear down TCAL pitching with the best of them. Plus, that experience at catcher is invaluable for any team with section championship aspirations.

Tyler Lozano, St. Mary’s IF, junior

Lozano was an unsung hero for the Rams, batting .417 with four doubles and a .525 on-base percentage. Expect him to be a fixture at the top of the order for St. Mary’s.

CONNECT WITH THOMAS LAWRENCE

Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence

Email: tlawrence@recordnet.com

Phone: 209-546-8272

Ask a Question: ask.fm/RecordPreps

Posted in High School Sports, Sports | Leave a comment
  • Blog Authors

    Bob Highfill

    Bob Highfill has been with The Record sports department since 1990. He started as a part-time reporter/agate clerk then covered the high school sports beat before taking on the Pacific athletics beat. In 2006, he was named sports editor. Bob was ... Read Full

    Scott Linesburgh

    Linesburgh has been a member of The Record's sports department since 1988. A native of Wantagh, N.Y., he covers the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League, and has spent more than a quarter century reporting various other sports on the high ... Read Full

    Thomas Lawrence

    Lawrence became a prep and general assignment sports reporter for The Record in August 2014. He has covered high school, college and professional sports and more in his career. From November of 2011 through summer 2014, he covered college and prep ... Read Full
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • RSS Related Content