With winning streaks that match the suddenly warming weather, three area high school baseball teams are playing with maximum effort to distance themselves in competitive league races.
Eighth-ranked Del Campo (15-5) has peeled off nine consecutive victories and won 14 of its past 16 games.
No. 3 Davis (15-5) has won eight in a row, and No. 5 Rocklin (12-5) has won nine straight. Only Turlock (20), Mariposa County (13) and Manteca (11) have longer active winning streaks in the 197-member Sac-Joaquin Section that spans seven divisions.
But none of those teams plays nearly the taxing schedule as the local trio.
Del Campo is 8-0 in the Capital Valley Conference ahead of No. 14 Bella Vista (6-2).
Derek Rodigo (.475 batting average), Jared Biggs (.463) and Mike Hatfield (.410) lead the Cougars in hitting. Pitchers Sam Long, Tim Hall and Mike Ramirez are each 3-0.
Rocklin started 3-5 this season before warming up. Its current winning streak includes a 3-1 victory over No. 6 Oak Ridge.
The Thunder is 6-0 in the Sierra Foothill League, which includes No. 4 Granite Bay and No. 11 Woodcreek.
The SFL also includes previously ranked teams Roseville, which defeated Woodcreek last week, and Nevada Union, which beat Granite Bay last week.
Rocklin is led by pitchers Austin Dick and Logan Webb, and outfielder Jake Faulkner, whose diving catch and throw to second for a double play highlighted an 8-1 victory over Del Oro on Saturday.
Davis, 8-0 in the Delta Valley Conference, has 3-2 and 4-1 victories over No. 12 Franklin, which beat the Blue Devils in the section D-I North finals last season.
The Blue Devils' streak includes a 2-1 win over top-ranked Elk Grove, which is a game behind Davis in the DVC (the teams conclude conference play with a two-game set next month).
Davis is anchored by ace pitcher Matt Trask (5-1, 0.74 ERA) and reliever Jake Miille (2-0, 0.38 ERA), and second baseman Joe Murray (.387).
Trojans uprising Oak Ridge has the most misleading league record in the section. The Trojans are 3-3 in the Delta River League, but each victory is as impressive as it is cherished.
Oak Ridge (9-8) had a 7-0 DRL victory over No. 2 Jesuit this month, and last week it belted No. 7 Pleasant Grove 11-3 and 10-3. The Trojans lost the three-game series opener 7-4.
Shortstop Alec de Watteville had three RBIs, and Tommy Hummer struck out five, walked one and allowed one earned run in the 11-3 win over Pleasant Grove.
Mickey Meinhofer had three RBIs, and F.P. Santangelo and Logan Marston two each in the 10-3 victory.
Nogosek sidelined Woodcreek's Stephen Nogosek, one of the state's top pitchers, will be sidelined for what he estimates will be "a few weeks" to recover from bicep and shoulder tendinitis.
The hard-throwing senior headed for Oregon is 3-1 with games of 15 and 12 strikeouts this season.
Nogosek led the Timberwolves to the D-II section title last season.
Swingin' For Life The fifth Albie Swingin' For Life baseball benefit, in conjunction with the Albie Carson Breast Cancer Foundation, will feature four games Saturday at Sacramento City College.
Franklin plays No. 10 Antelope at 10 a.m. followed by Jesuit against rival Christian Brothers at 1 p.m. Oak Ridge meets Roseville at 4 p.m., and Elk Grove plays small-school power Bradshaw Christian at 7 p.m.
All players, coaches and umpires will wear pink items during the game. The bases will be painted pink, and breast cancer survivors will throw out ceremonial first pitches before each game.
Carson died of breast cancer in 2002. The event raised more than $10,000 last season.