This week marks the final stretch of the regular season. Some races will be a photo finish, serving as a primer for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs that start next week.
The Delta River League is a three-team scramble with No. 3 Jesuit playing No. 5 Pleasant Grove three times. Both teams are 10-2.
No. 4 Oak Ridge (9-3) also is in the mix. Led by shortstop Alec de Watteville and junior ace Austin Root, the Trojans take their nine-game winning streak into a three-game series against rival Ponderosa.
Oak Ridge, Jesuit and Pleasant Grove are all in the Division I playoffs. The seeding order is undecided.
"It's been a great race," Oak Ridge coach Todd Melton said. "I think all these Division I teams are ready to go. It will be unlike any D-I playoffs I can remember. So many teams seem are capable of winning (the title)."
The Delta Valley Conference will crown a champion today when No. 2 Davis hosts top-ranked Elk Grove. Both are 13-1 in DVC play.
Davis beat Elk Grove 2-1 last month on a Matt Trask bottom-of-the-seventh infield single, and the Thundering Herd gained revenge with a 12-2 triumph behind ace David Smith (7-1, 1.19 ERA) over the then-No. 1 Blue Devils on Friday.
The third playoff team from the DVC is Franklin, the defending D-I North champion led by infielders Tyler Blake and Hank LoForte.
Sixth-ranked Woodcreek and No. 7 Granite Bay lead the Sierra Foothill League with 9-3 marks, a game ahead of No. 9 Rocklin, which plays Granite Bay three times this week.
Woodcreek is a combined 5-1 against Granite Bay and Rocklin down the stretch, elevating its play despite missing ace Stephen Nogosek.
Woodcreek, led by another strong pitcher in Tyler Milani, is the defending D-II section champion. SFL teams will compete in the D-I playoffs for the first time. Nogosek said he will pitch in the playoffs after resting his sore arm.
The other regional race to the wire is in the Pioneer Valley League. No. 19 Colfax is 13-1, a game ahead of rival No. 20 Lincoln. The teams meet Wednesday at Lincoln.
The Metro Conference race comes down to No. 18 Rosemont, led by ace Tyler Masterson (8-1), and McClatchy. The teams split their two games this season and sport 11-1 conference records. Third place and the final playoff berth comes down to Kennedy and Sacramento. Kennedy is a game up on the Dragons at 8-4 entering the week.
The Cougars have not reached the postseason since the early 1990s. Second-year Kennedy coach Marcos Pineda has relied on juniors Adam Takeuchi (.492 batting average with 23 RBIs, 8-2 pitching record) and T.J. Hicks (.485).
Root on the mend Root of Oak Ridge has found his form after battling an intestinal virus earlier this season that sapped him of his strength and fastball. He is 5-2 with a 2.49 ERA.
Senior Tommy Hummer is 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA, and sophomore Ryan Sullivan is 3-1 with a 1.79 ERA.
"Root's back on track, and he looks phenomenal," Melton said. "We feel really good about our three starters. We're ready to go."
Et cetera Derek Rodigo of Del Campo leads the section with seven home runs. Rowdy Tellez of Elk Grove and Brandon Langan of Sheldon are second with six each.
No. 8 Whitney's J.R. Robinson (45) and Trevor Abrams (39) lead the section in RBIs.
Whitney's P.J. Floyd has scored a section-best 41 runs, just ahead of Capital Christian's Mauricio Dubon (40) and Ben Ritchey (39) and Inderkum's Austin Thurman (39).
Valley's Dwight Alston tops the section with 31 stolen bases.
Matthew Huss (8-2) of Argonaut leads the section in strikeouts with 135 in 68 2/3 innings.