High School Sports

April 28, 2014

Modesto-area conference titles on the line this week in several sports

It’s going to be an exciting week in the Stanislaus District with big games and championship events in baseball, softball and swimming on tap as the spring sports season winds down. There’s even a little holdover from the winter sports scene with the 6 Counties All-Star Basketball game on the slate.

It’s going to be an exciting week in the Stanislaus District.

Big games and championship events abound as the spring sports season winds down.

Starting with baseball, there are several key conference matchups on the slate.

In the Modesto Metro Conference, four teams are still alive for the league championship. Gregori and Enochs, who split their season series just before spring break, sit atop the standings with matching 8-2 records. Beyer, which may be the hottest team in town coming off its win in the Dick Windemuth tournament, is 5-3. Downey is 4-4 and mathematically alive for an MMC co-title, has the toughest journey with two-game sets remaining against Gregori and Beyer.

“Our kids have been talking about it the past week,” Downey coach Jeremy Plaa said. “Beating Enochs (in the Windemuth) gave our kids a lot of confidence.

“Our seniors have four games and four practices left. That’s all they’re guaranteed, and I know they want to extend this season.”

The best way to do that is for the Knights to catch the team immediately ahead of them in the standings – Beyer. That starts Tuesday when the Knights play at Gregori at 3:45 p.m. They’ll host the Jags on Thursday at the same time.

Also Tuesday, Beyer hosts Johansen at 3:45 and travels to play the Vikings on Thursday.

Modesto is 3-5 in the MMC and, though it’s a long shot, could still manage to grab the No. 3 playoff berth if it wins out and gets help.

The Panthers finish the season against Davis – they face the Spartans on Tuesday at 3:45 – and Johansen to close out their schedule. Davis and Johansen are tied for last in the MMC, and it’s not out of the question that Modesto finishes 7-5. Still, the Panthers would need help from others.

Enochs has a bye this week before closing out the regular season next week against Davis.

Looking at the Western Athletic Conference, Central Catholic (8-0) will put its perfect league mark on the line Tuesday when it travels to take on Central Valley (6-2).

Should, the Raiders sweep the Hawks, it sets up a battle of undefeated teams May 5-6 when Central Catholic meets Ceres (10-0).

Conversely, if Central Valley were to win out, and if the Raiders rebounded to sweep Ceres – it would result in a three-way tie atop the WAC.

“We’ve got the league bye this week,” said Ceres coach John Bussard, whose team won’t play again until May 5. “We’ll probably have an intra-squad game later in the week.”

In the Trans-Valley League, there’s a three-way tie for first between Orestimba, Hughson and Ripon, each at 6-2.

Orestimba and Ripon meet Wednesday in Ripon and then again Friday in Newman; Hughson visits winless Riverbank on Wednesday hosts the Bruins on Friday.

The MMC softball race also figures to hinge on the last pitch. Gregori and two-time defending champ Enochs lead the pack with 8-1 marks, while Modesto sits in third place at 6-2.

On Tuesday, Modesto visits Enochs in a game that will tip the first domino. An Enochs victory would give Modesto three league losses and all but close the door on the Panthers’ title hopes. A Modesto win would leave both teams with two league losses and give MHS the head-to-head tiebreaker over Enochs.

Of course, Enochs could go on to beat Gregori on Thursday, in a game scheduled for 3:45 at Gregori, which would give the Eagles a season sweep of the Jags. If that happens, and the teams all go on to finish 10-2, it would create a three-way tie atop the standings, with Modesto sweeping Enochs, Enochs sweeping Gregori and Gregori sweeping Modesto.

“If we all end up with two league losses, then it gets messy,” Enochs coach Tim Williams said.

In the Valley Oak League, Oakdale (11-0) puts its unbeaten record on the line Wednesday when it travels to take on East Union (10-1). The Mustangs beat the Lancers 3-1 when the teams met in Oakdale on March 28.

This week’s action isn’t restricted to the local diamonds.

The MMC swimming and diving championships start Thursday with the diving championships at Johansen at 10 a.m. The swimming trials will be Friday at Johansen at 10 a.m. The finals will be Saturday at 1 p.m. at Downey.

On Friday, the 19th annual 6 Counties All-Star Basketball Game will be played at Gregori. The girls game begins at 6 p.m., and the boys game tips at 8 p.m.

At halftime of the girls game, Modesto Christian’s girls basketball team will be honored for capturing this season’s CIF Division III state championship.

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