Reno players race onto the field to celebrate the division title.

Reno players race onto the field to celebrate the division title.

An Abrupt End to A Successful River Cats’ 2014 Season

One minute, the Sacramento River Cats were embroiled in a fight for their lives, with a playoff berth on the line. And in an instant, the fight was over with no more tomorrows. With the division title in reach, the Sacramento River Cats’ season ended Labor Day Monday on a brutal 100-degree afternoon at Raley Field. The 10-inning, 2-1 loss capped a tense, season-ending five-game series against the Reno Aces, who entered the series down a game to Sacramento. The rules of the series couldn’t have been any simpler. The winner would claim the division title and continue into the Pacific Coast League playoffs. The loser would go home. With a one-game lead, the River Cats needed to win twice to claim the division, but Sacramento could only muster a victory in the third game. The end came quickly. With the score tied 1-1 in the top of the 10th, Reno’s Nick Ahmed’s blooped a two-out single to center that scored Michael Freeman, who had doubled, with the eventual game-winner. In both the ninth and 10th innings, the River Cats had runners on first and second with just one out (a hit in the ninth would have won the game), but a double play ended the inning each time. The final two outs came when Sacramento’s Daric Barton hit the game-ender grounder, prompting a Reno […]

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John Wade, 81

Sacramento Gold Players Still Going Strong in Their 80s

Think a softball team made up of 80-year-old players is something to be celebrated? Then take a good look at the Sacramento Gold. That’s right, 80. Think about that for a moment, and then picture yourself at that age still playing a half-dozen softball games during a single hot summer weekend, as the Sacramento Gold recently did, then playing more during the week.  Then repeating, week after week, summer after summer. One of the most enduring softball teams in the Sacramento region, it is only one of two teams (the Elk Grove Renegades being the other) made up entirely of 80-year-old players. During a couple of weekends a month, the Gold competes as a tournament team across the West, often playing up to six games in a weekend against teams younger than them.  Then most of the Gold players also play in additional Golden Seniors Softball Club league games during the week with their regular teams (usually in the 70-and-up division) just for the exercise. This is a team that when talking about their “glory days,” players were in their 60s. Many have had hip and knee replacements, some have had both, and virtually all of them have pretty much any other ailment that would limit the athletic prowess of a normal 80-year-old man. But they keep playing, their love of the game obvious to […]

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Triple play!

Colorado Springs Pulls Off First Triple Play in Raley Field History; River Cats Still Win

Despite the best efforts of the River Cats’ Alden Carrithers to break it up, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox pulled off the first triple play in Raley Field history Thursday night. Sacramento had runners on first and second with no outs when Colin Walsh hit a hard grounder to third baseman Drew Garcia, who stepped on third, then threw to second baseman Angelys Nina who fired it to first to complete the play. The River Cats and Carrithers had the last laugh, though, driving in the walk-off winning run in the 12th inning. Sacramento beat Colorado Springs 5-4.

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Sacramento Native Andrew Susac Gets His Major League Chance After Giants’ backup catcher is injured Friday night against the Dodgers

When Giants backup catcher Hector Sanchez left the big Giants-Dodgers game Friday night in San Francisco with an apparent concussion, my first thought was: “Will this be Andrew Susac’s ticket to San Francisco?” Saturday morning Andrew’s uncle Johnny confirmed via Facebook that Andrew had received the call late Friday and was headed to play in the huge Bay series between the National League West Division’s top two teams – the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. With no other backup catcher on the Giants’ roster, there was a good chance Susac could start Sunday night’s ESPN game. The 24-year-old Susac, a 2009 graduate of Jesuit High School, made two trips to Sacramento’s Raley Field this season with the Fresno Grizzlies, hitting two home runs during those visits. I happened to catch both homers, and so here’s a slideshow of Susac’s visits to Sacramento, the last coming on July 1, when Giants’ first baseman Brandon Belt was on his rehab stint.      

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Sac Republic FC Earns a Draw with Orlando City

In its first game back from a two-game road trip, the Sacramento Republic FC hosted the undefeated Orlando City SC at Bonney Field on Thursday night. Both teams were aggressive and had good chances to score throughout the night, but the match concluded as a 0-0 draw. Midfielder Max Alvarez gave Sacramento (10-6-3) its best chance of a goal against Orlando (14-0-4) with a shot at the top of the box during stoppage time in the first half, only to be saved by the opposing goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo-Aparicio. Sacramento goalkeeper Jacob Gleeson had four saves throughout the night, including three in the second half. The Republic FC would play a man short for the rest of the night when Alvarez was given a red card and ejected after a physical altercation during a throw in at the 79th minute. Although Republic FC Coach Predrag Radosavljević was not pleased with the result, he praised his players for holding the USL’s only unbeaten team scoreless. “I can only take my hat off to our guys,” Radosavljević said. “They showed a lot of heart, a lot of courage against the No. 1 team in the league, the team that’s going to the MLS. I’m just disappointed because things didn’t go our way tonight.” The Republic FC will host the UK’s West Bromich Albion FC, also known as the Baggies, […]

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Young Girl Fighting Brain Cancer Shines in Sac Republic FC Pre-Game

When the Sacramento Republic FC made its inaugural appearance at the new Bonney Field in late June, they gave fans not only an exciting game, but also a touching pre-game spotlight on a 10-year-old girl who is battling brain cancer. The festivities were a surprise for Riley Simmons, who has passionately played soccer since she was four but is not yet strong enough to play the game due to her treatment. While the girl and her family were VIP guests, Riley didn’t know she was going out on the field until a couple minutes before she proudly and excitedly walked out with the Republic players. Riley stood with forward Justin Braun as “The Star Spangled Banner” echoed throughout the field, and her smile radiated as she took in the moment. For the remainder of the game, she and her family were honored with VIP seating and treatment. Riley and her family was invited by Bonney Plumbing CEO Jimmy Crabbe, who has met with many families that Bonney serves in the community, but was especially touched after he learned of her fighting spirit and how her involvement in soccer is what her family says saved her. “Riley embodies the spirit of an indomitable city. Always steadfast and positively looking ahead, she continues to make incredible strides forward,” said Crabbe said in an email. “Bonney’s passion is […]

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A Busy, Record-Breaking 2014 First Half at Raley Field Ends with News of Blockbuster Trade

July 4 is the traditional halfway point in a baseball season and for the Sacramento River Cats, it’s a time to reflect on what’s occurred and what’s ahead. This year’s Fourth of July brought a bombshell to River Cats fans, when Dan Straily‘s name surfaced as one of the players the A’s dealt to the Chicago Cubs. Straily was part of the Sacramento River Cats family since 2011. He was considered the team’s top pitcher in 2014, and always seemed to be on the cusp of sticking with the Oakland A’s permanently, where he went 13-11 since 2012. But he never did, and his trade, which included Oakland’s top minor league prospect Addison Russel, a shortstop who had yet to reach Sacramento. The official halfway point for the Sacramento River Cats’ 2014 season has come and gone, but it was notable for several reasons other than the blockbuster trade. There were players coming and going at a frantic pace, as is typical. Careers stalled and careers flourished, and another River Cats icon moved on. The River Cats also won an astonishing, record 11 walk-off games at Raley Field – this is out of a total of 33 wins in Sacramento. And as the Fourth of July holiday loomed, Sacramento found itself in a familiar place – first place in the Pacific Coast League’s Pacific Northern […]

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Soccer Meets State Fair in Highly Entertaining Bonney Field Opener

With a water slide and ribs joint backdrop providing a fair midway atmosphere, there was a State Fair feel in the air at Friday night’s Sacramento Republic FC Bonney Field opener. Though the current configuration of Bonney Field holds some 12,000 fewer fans than cavernous Hughes Stadium, the new facility was built for soccer, and fans seemed to voice their support for the Republic as loudly as they did at Hughes. And, of course, the Tower Bridge Battalion members were out in force to show things haven’t changed that much. Sacramento scored a late goal to nip the Colorado Rapids Reserves 4-3 in a somewhat sloppy, but highly entertaining debut for the new facility located at Cal Expo. So what is new and different? Because of the compact size, there’s not a bad sightline at the facility, which one couldn’t say about Hughes Stadium. Workers were fine tuning Bonney Field right up until the crowd started to arrive on Saturday, and noticeable right off were the white and maroon premium seatbacks that spelled out SRFC on both sides of the stadium. The “midway” areas beyond the grandstand provided for plenty of drink, food and merchandise choices, easy restroom access, and of course being on State Fair grounds, there was plenty of parking. The sunset views weren’t bad either. The match on Friday was a treat for spectators, […]

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Sacramento Republic FC’s 2nd Era Begins at Bonney Field Opener on Friday Night

In the early life of Sacramento Republic FC, in just the team’s first season of existence in the United Soccer League, one can already point to three major eras in the soccer team’s development. Era No. 1 is now officially over, and that consisted of the very successful four-match run at Hughes Stadium, where three eye-popping 20,000-plus attendance sellouts were recorded, as well as an opening season team record of 6-4-2, 2-1-1 at Hughes. Sacramento is currently in fourth place in the 14-team USL PRO standings with 20 points. Era No. 2, one can argue, begins Friday night, with the opening match at the new 8,000-seat “temporary” Bonney Field located at Cal Expo. The match is against the Colorado Rapids Reserves, at 7:30pm  and according to the team’s web site, the Bonney Field opener is a sellout. Catch a live look at Bonney Field via their Live Cam. Era No. 3? That would be a new permanent stadium sometime in the future and possible entry into the Major Soccer League (MSL). OK, so Era No. 3 isn’t here yet and may never happen. But Sacramento has been doing a great job of dreaming. Friday’s game is sold out, but a limited number of tickets are still available for the remainder of the season.  

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Suns Set the Stage

On Saturday, June 7 athletes from LA, San Francisco and Sacramento will descend upon Bryte Park in West Sacramento to participate in an Aussie Rules Football tournament. Teams include the Los Angeles Dragons, Golden Gate Roos, San Francisco Iron Maidens and the home teams, the Sacramento Suns men and women. “We are extremely excited to be hosting the tournament and welcome the (LA) Dragons to Sacramento for the first time” said Head Coach, Matt Bishop. “We have a large number of new players who have joined the Suns in 2014 and it is a great opportunity for them to play the full version of the game, which is 18 per side, for the first time.” While some of the players competing this weekend are relatively new to the sport, a number of players from the Suns, the Roos and Iron Maidens will be heading to Australia this August to complete in the Australian Football League’s (AFL) International Cup. “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to represent the USA once again on the international stage,” said Suns President Saleh Tyebjee. Saleh, along with teammate, Melvin Chen will both be representing the USA Revolution, the men’s national team. The women will also be represented on Team USA with Sacramento Sun Alexa Blatnick being named as a midfielder for the USA Freedom for the first time in […]

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