The high school baseball season ends with the Sac-Joaquin Section championship series in June, but much of the closest thing to a state playoff tournament will be played next week.
The Northern California portion of the second Boras Baseball Classic of California starts Monday and runs four days at McAuliffe Memorial Ballpark at Sacramento State. There are 16 teams each from Southern California and Northern California, including six top-10 teams in The Bee’s rankings, in the tournament. The winners from the south and north brackets play in a de facto state title game May 3 at Pacific. Temecula Valley won the South bracket last week. Last year, Mater Dei of Santa Ana beat Pleasant Grove in the title game.
The tournament features state- and nationally ranked teams and 58 players who have committed to Division I programs.
The North field includes The Bee’s No. 1 team, Davis, led by ace Matt Trask (UCLA), No. 3 Elk Grove (outfielder Derek Hill, Oregon), No. 4 Grant (pitcher Cameron Avila-Leeper, Arizona), No. 5 Oak Ridge (pitcher Austin Root, Sacramento State), No. 6 Pleasant Grove, No. 10 Christian Brothers, No. 14 Yuba City and No. 17 Granite Bay (pitcher Mitch Hart, USC). Grant opens against Buchanan of Clovis, the No. 4 team in Cal-Hi Sports’ state rankings. For brackets, go to www.borasclassic.com.
Scott Boras, a Major League Baseball agent and Elk Grove graduate, created the tournament to provide top competition for college and professional scouts. Each of the 32 teams receive a $1,000 donation from The Boras Foundation (there is no entry fee), and each team is guaranteed four games.
“We’re trying to bring the best talent together from different sections, and it’s outstanding competition with a lot of exposure,” said Elk Grove coach Jeff Carlson, who is helping run the North event. “We’re trying to emulate a state tournament as close as we can.”
Et cetera – Dwayne Smith has been hired as Pleasant Grove’s boys basketball coach. Smith takes over for John DePonte, who led the Eagles to the 2012 CIF State Division I championship and recently stepped down to spend time with family. Smith, a Pleasant Grove physical education teacher, has been an assistant coach at the high school, community college and Division I and II college levels.
• Whitney football coach Mike Gimenez was named a 2013-14 CIF Model Coach, based on six core ethical values: “trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and good citizenship.” He has led Whitney to six playoff berths, including a 13-0 season in 2008 that culminated in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship.
• The Sacramento High boys basketball team was given a Sac-Joaquin Section Community Service Award for volunteering in the community. The Dragons under SAC – Student Athletes Caring – spent 30 winter hours at the Sacramento Food Bank and the Shriners Hospital. All five Dragons starters, including Bee All-Metro picks Solomon Young, Christian Terrell and Tre Finch, will return next season, and coach Derek Swafford said the commitment to community service will continue.
• Defending single-school rugby national champion Jesuit hosts longtime power United of Utah on Saturday at 11 a.m. United, the defending national Under-19 club champion, has 29 players from 10 regional high schools. Jesuit, which has won eight national titles, is led by Cal-bound Matt Coyle, Trent Terra and Zac Tavenner and UCLA-bound Joey Pevec, Nik Durst, Austin Gates and Kent Presson.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.