Jolene Henderson doesn't deny it.
"I'm a little crazy," the Cal softball ace said of her relentless approach to the game.
Henderson's college career ended last weekend in a 3-1 loss to Michigan in an NCAA Regional. The Sheldon High School graduate absorbed the loss but won the admiration of teammates, coaches and a national audience for her perseverance.
Henderson pitched down the season's stretch with a torn ACL, suffered last month in a Pacific-12 Conference game. She never doubted her return. In the Michigan Regional, Henderson's final triumph was a gem: a 6-0 no-hitter over Valparaiso.
Henderson's 130 wins are the most in Cal history, surpassing former All-American Michele Granger (119), now Granite Bay's coach. More impressive was Henderson's threshold for pain.
Throughout her sophomore season, she pitched despite a stress fracture in her hip. She also suffered a concussion early this season while diving to tag out a runner.
Henderson said she plays with purpose, "always giving it everything I've got, with no regrets."
Henderson will undergo surgery before exploring a professional career. She was the third overall selection of the Chicago Bandits, a National Pro Fastpitch team.
Saturday at Sacramento City College, Hank LoForte caught the eye of Fernando Vina, a former 12-year major leaguer, because the Franklin High School sophomore shortstop was a tough out, threat to steal and smooth fielder in the Sac-Joaquin Section baseball playoffs. In other words, much like Vina during his days at Valley High, Cosumnes River College and SCC.
"I love how he competes," Vina said of LoForte. "He plays the game the right way. You know what he is? A pest. Love his game."
Leon Lee was known as a power hitter while playing in Japan in the 1980s. Now a baseball consultant, Lee keeps a lookout for local talent, and his eyes widen when watching Rowdy Tellez of Elk Grove smash pitches.
Saturday at Sac City, Tellez hit a shot just foul. It landed on the softball field's pitching circle well beyond the right-field fence. Later, Tellez kept it between the lines, homering for the second time in the section tournament.
"Awesome power, incredible," Lee said of the 6-foot-4, left-handed Tellez, expected to be selected in next month's major-league draft. "That's big-league power."
Guy Anderson, Cordova's baseball coach since 1970 and a member of numerous high school halls of fame, says, "I'm not sure what I'll do," as he contemplates returning for a 44th season with the Lancers.
The 80-year-old Anderson has 894 victories, the second most by any prep coach west of the Rockies, and countless memories. He remains tireless, playing in three senior softball games on any given Saturday. And he has a summer lineup of bike riding, yoga and wine tasting with his wife, Karen. There's more to life than baseball, but for Anderson, baseball has been so much of his life.
Anderson has loyal assistants in Chad Parker and the equally ageless Ralph Rago. Both hint that they'll fungo-bat the old coach's truck to bits if he bails on them.
We sense another season with the Lancers. Baseball and Guy go hand in hand.
Stanford ace Mark Appel tied a school record joining Kyle Peterson and Justin Wayne for career strikeouts with 363 after fanning 11 Cal batters Friday night in a 9-8 victory. Projected as a high draft pick, Appel did give up a home run to catcher Andrew Knapp, a Granite Bay graduate also considered a draft prospect.
Oakmont wide receiver Justin Holmes was named the position MVP of the recent Nike Football Training Camp at Laney College in Oakland.
The 6-4 Holmes has good hands and is a good blocker. He has one early scholarship offer from Sacramento State with more likely.