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Elk Grove Citizen

Four Highlights from a High School Spring Season

Jun 13, 2024 09:27AM ● By Alejandro Barron

A fan of the Pleasant Grove Eagles continuously coordinates the crowd for certain cheers and chants to support them toward their first section championship in boys volleyball. Photo by Alejandro Barron

Spring Season Highlights [3 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
ELK GROVE, CA (MPG) - On March 8, I took on my first assignment for sports coverage of the Elk Grove Citizen with the retirement of sports editor John Hull. 
From that moment on, the spring season brought many unforgettable sports moments in Elk Grove and for me as a journalist. 
I compiled a subjective list of moments I experienced while out reporting on local high school sports in these past few months: 
Best Environment: Pleasant Grove Eagles Boys Volleyball Section Championship
What better story than an upset, right? The Pleasant Grove Eagles had lost all their regular season matchups with the Jesuit Marauders and were tasked with facing them in their biggest game yet. 
The section championship couldn’t have started any better for the Eagles, who went up 2-0 with the crowd being into it the whole time. 
One fan had coordinated chants with the PG crowd, which included family, friends and students. 
The Marauders stormed back to even the match-up at 2-2 and could’ve silenced the crowd but never did. 
Fans continued to cheer and chant on their players, who provided some of the best scenes I had ever seen at a local sporting event.
Surely the players were able to feed off the energy that led them to win the section championship with all of the fans jumping, cheering and celebrating this upset. 
Best Individual Performance: 
Micah Kennedy was probably not expecting to pitch at all on April 3 against the Pleasant Grove Eagles in the Sheldon Huskies’ third league match-up of the season. 
Especially since two days prior Kennedy pitched a complete game.
That makes this performance all the more impressive when Kennedy came into the game in relief.
Kennedy came into the bottom of the first inning with two outs and mowed down the Eagle hitters for 9.2 innings in a 10-inning nail-biter. 
It was 1-0 when Kennedy came in, but the Husky offense tied it in the second inning to send the game to the 10th tied up. 
In those 9.2 innings of Kennedy in the pitching circle, she’d allow two hits, no runs and a whopping 19 strikeouts. Dominance is an understatement. 
How would she top this all off? She went 2-4 on offense and in the 10th inning hit an RBI bloop single to give the Huskies the lead. The Huskies went on to win by a score of 3-2. 
Feel-Good Story of the Season: Martin Vega
 and the Florin Panthers
As Florin Panthers head coach Bill Kapp would go on to say, this story can really be made into a movie.  
Martin Vega was born in the United States but at an early age returned to his parents' home country of Mexico and lived his whole life there until 2021.  
His love for baseball put him on a path toward success as he returned to the U.S. to be the face of the Panthers’ revival in its baseball program. 
He’s an ace for this team and despite a language barrier and having to adjust to a different lifestyle in the States, he persevered and led the team to its first league title since 1997.
I agree with Kapp, this should definitely be made into a movie, although the story isn’t finished yet. There’s a bright future ahead for Vega. 
 Best Game: EG Thundering Herd Lose Section Championship in Extra Innings
With an ace on the mound, there’s no bigger heartbreak than, with two outs in the bottom of the eleventh inning, bouncing a pitch to allow the runner on third to win the section championship game.
Unfortunately for the Elk Grove Thundering Herd, this proved true when they let the chance of winning their first section since 2017 slip away. 
Ned Frutchey, who was great for them all season long, started on the mound for the Herd at Sacramento City College on May 24. 
He was opposed by Texas A&M commit and power threat Chase Bentley. 
The power was shown off in the bottom of the first following a two-run home run from Bentley that may have ended up on the street past the batting cages in left field. 
As the game progressed, the Grizzlies had the lead entering the seventh by a score of 3-2. The Herd were not going to go down quietly as they manufactured a run to tie it. 
The Herd brought in their other ace, Russell Pettis, to shut down the Grizzlies' offense.
The game went into extra innings, and this is where the back-and-forth started as the Herd and Grizzlies put up zeroes in the innings that followed but not without any threats. 
In the bottom of the tenth, the Grizzlies, with two outs and the bases, loaded hit a line drive to right field, which looked to end the game with many already celebrating, but the Herd right fielder ranged to his right to snag the line drive and keep the game alive. 
In the top of the eleventh, a sharp line drive was caught by the Grizzlies' first baseman as the infield was drawn in and stepped on first for the double play when the Herd had the bases loaded and no outs. This would kill that rally. 
Finally, when it looked like Pettis had everything under control, a bounced breaking ball ended the game for the Grizzlies' third consecutive section title. 
This type of game was something out of an October matchup during the MLB postseason and was such a great game for my first baseball section championship coverage. 
With that being said, I had a ton of fun being able to cover the talented athletes of this area and am looking forward to covering more incredible moments during the fall.