Pleasant Grove’s baseball team broke a five-game losing streak and re-established itself as a contender in the powerful Delta League, but the Eagles did it without first-year coach Rusty McLain.
The Eagles beat No. 4 Jesuit 5-2 Wednesday, then knocked Elk Grove out of the top spot in The Bee’s rankings, scoring four times in the final inning to win 5-4 Friday.
McLain, who coached the first 13 games of the season, missed both victories because because of a paperwork snafu with the Elk Grove Unified School District. Dan Boyle coached in McLain’s place.
On Monday afternoon, while preparing his home field for a rematch with Elk Grove, McLain learned the issue had been resolved.
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“I am eligible!” McLain said in a text message.
As McLain ran into the dugout before the game, pumping his fist, his players yelled in unison, “He’s back.”
McLain coached Elk Grove, his alma mater, to the 1997 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship after replacing his mentor and friend Gary Dreher, who died 19 years ago this month from a stroke at 47.
Baseball rankings – Oak Ridge is the new No. 1 team in The Bee’s baseball rankings. The Trojans, 15-2 entering the week, started the season with a 5-4 win over No. 2 Franklin on Logan Denholm‘s walk-off single. They then beat Napa 5-4 in 13 innings on Chris Roppolo’s game-winning hit.
Tyson Solis leads Oak Ridge in batting (.393, 18 RBIs). Connor Davis is 4-0, and Jeff Cunningham, Ryan Sullivan and Kyle Lucke have won three games each.
Franklin coaching changes – Franklin athletic director Mike Cody thought he had a replacement for Mike Johnson, the football program’s founding coach who wanted a change and will coach the girls basketball team.
Mark Johnson – no relation to Mike Johnson – was supposed to take over the football team, but he changed his mind. Mark Johnson, a longtime assistant at Boise State and UC Davis, decided against the commute from his Woodland home to the Elk Grove school.
So Mike Johnson will coach football for one more season, Cody said, in addition to girls basketball.
Cody didn’t have to look far for his new boys basketball coach. Ken Manfredi, who started the program at nearby Monterey Trail, has replaced Jesse Formaker. Formaker, who led the Wildcats to five league championships and seven 20-win seasons, stepped down because his son Chris, 8, is battling bone cancer.
Reber returns – Justin Reber will coach the Sacramento High football team, replacing Paul Doherty, who replaced Mike Gimenez at Whitney.
Reber was the coach at Rio Linda last year after coaching at Capital Christian, his alma mater. Reber led the Knights to the postseason, but he resigned in January to coach in Southern California, then took the Sac High job.
Hall of Fame coach dies – Ron Clarke, the winningest softball coach in section history and a section Hall of Famer, has died. He was 72. Clarke coached Fairfield from 1978 to 2011, winning 732 games and four section Division I championships.
Optimist basketball – Del Oro’s Lauren Heyn was named the North MVP after scoring 12 points to lead her team past the South 63-58 in the girls Optimist All-Star Basketball Classic on Saturday at Center. The South MVP was Oak Ridge’s Isamar Conde, who scored 16 points.
In the boys game, dunks and three-pointers dominated, and the South won 140-129. Christian Brothers’ Finn Whetstone had 15 points and was named the South MVP. Jesuit’s Isaiah Bailey scored 22 points and was chosen as the North MVP.
Other leading scorers for the South were Pleasant Grove’s Marquese Chriss (20) and Johann Tate (17), Capital Christian’s Justice Shelton-Mosley (16) and Cosumnes Oaks’ Jaaron Stallworth (15). For the North: Woodcreek’s Noah Blackwell (23), Placer’s Justin Diruscia (18) and Antelope’s Mister Harriel (16).
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.
THE BEE PREPS SHOW
Check out “The Bee Preps Show,” hosted by Joe Davidson of The Bee and Mike Finnerty of All-City Preps today at 4 p.m. on CSNCA. It will be repeated today at 10:30 p.m., Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., Thursday at 7 p.m. and Friday at 10 a.m. It also can be seen each Friday at sacbee.com/high-school.
THE BEE’S BASEBALL TOP 20
Records through Saturday; previous ranking in parenthesis
1. Oak Ridge (2) 15-2
2. Franklin (4) 13-2
3. Elk Grove (1) 8-6
4. Jesuit (3) 10-5
5. Pleasant Grove (-) 6-9
6. Woodcreek (9) 7-6-1
7. Davis (8) 7-8
8. Grant (11) 10-4
9. Sheldon (5) 8-7
10. Oakmont (10) 10-5
11. McClatchy (12) 13-4
12. El Camino (14) 8-4
13. Whitney (15) 10-6
14. River Valley (16)11-6
15. Woodland (17) 10-5
16. Christian Brothers (18) 8-6
17. Vista del Lago (7) 12-3
18. Rocklin (-) 5-10
19. Del Oro (6) 9-7-1
20. Rio Americano (20) 11-4
THE BEE’S SOFTBALL TOP 20
Records through Saturday; previous ranking in parentheses
1. Elk Grove (1) 13-2
2. Pioneer (2) 14-1
3. Woodcreek (3) 15-1-1
4. Rocklin (4) 9-6
5. Ponderosa (6) 15-1
6. Casa Roble (9) 11-5
7. Sheldon (11) 12-5
8. Bella Vista (10) 15-4-1
9. Pleasant Grove (5) 11-6
10. Del Campo (7) 11-7
11. Cosumnes Oaks (12) 13-6
12. Roseville (8) 10-8
13. Antelope (13) 11-10
14. Lincoln (15) 13-6
15. Bear River (17) 9-5
16. St. Francis (18) 9-10
17. Del Oro (19) 11-7
18. River City (14) 11-3
19. Christian Bros. (20)10-7
20. Whitney (16) 8-12