High School Sports

04/03/08

Large Schools

KOURTNI McCALL

East Union softball

Whether chasing down a ground ball in the hole or swinging a bat as the leadoff hitter, McCall is usually at the center of the action.

That was the case in the NorCal Classic, as East Union's shortstop was named all-tournament after helping the Lancers to the title.

"She throws with great accuracy even when under pressure, (but) the skill that stands out for me is her desire for the ball on every play," coach Brian Goulart said. "She never fears the ball."

In addition to her defense, McCall batted .455 (5-for-11) during the tournament. She was 4 for 5 with a run, two RBIs and two stolen bases in the 4-2 victory over Oak Ridge in the championship game.

"She's our best all-around hitter ... high average, hits with power and rarely strikes out ... and leadoff batters bat the most over the course of a game and season," Goulart noted. "She has a knack for scoring runs."

LINCOLN CLAPPER

Pitman baseball

What a difference a year makes. Clapper was at tiny Delhi High last spring, but this year he's pitching for Division I Pitman — a program that advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section final in 2006.

Clapper scattered six hits over six innings in a 6-2 win over Hughson in the Windemuth Tournament, a victory that sent the Pride into the final — which it won 10-0 over Redwood Christian.

"Lincoln made the transition from the Southern League to Division I without any problems," coach Mick Tate said. "He is a dedicated player wanting to take his game to the next level. He is constantly working on improving his game."

Clapper was also 3 for 8 — scoring four runs, driving in three and drawing three walks — to raise his average to .354. The pitching win raised his record to 2-1.

"He was hitting his spots very well," Tate said, "and ... that usually translates into a successful outing."

Small Schools

SAVANNAH MILLER

Waterford softball

When Miller arrived for Waterford High's first softball practice this spring, it was a turning point for the Wildcats' program and second-year coach Stacy Duncan.

"She's a travel-ball player and we didn't have even one my first year," said Duncan, who inserted the talented freshman as the Wildcats' catcher and leadoff hitter. "We've got a few other girls in travel ball, too, and it's a benefit."

Miller went 5 for 11, including a double and a triple, and scored six runs as the Wildcats won the Denair Tournament. She also threw out two runners trying to steal and picked off a third runner.

"She's aggressive behind the plate and at bat, and she's got that drive to keep improving," Duncan noted. "Those extra months playing travel ball makes a big difference. The pitching, the competition, it really has an impact."

Miller is right-handed but bats from the left side, Duncan said, to give her an extra step toward first base.

AUSTIN JACKSON

Escalon golf

Consistency has been the hallmark of Jackson's season, as his steady play has made him the medalist or runner-up in each of Escalon High's matches. The best performance of his senior year, though, was in the 18-hole Albert Croce Tournament at Lockeford Springs Golf Course.

Jackson, who has the Cougars in first place in the Trans-Valley League at 7-1, fired a 1-over 73 with six birdies to win the event. He is the captain of a team that has only two seniors.

"When I was playing in this tournament I just concerned myself with playing and I didn't worry about my scorecard," Jackson said. "Also, playing with three good golfers like Hilmar's Travis Little, Bret Harte's Russell Riner and Carl Hall of Calaveras made me focus that much better. When you play with good golfers, you tend to play better. This is my senior year and I want to make it memorable."

— RICHARD T. ESTRADA
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