Joe Davidson

In with the new: How Jesuit High's revamped baseball field plays into team's success

Jesuit High baseball players talk in the dugout at their remodeled field. The makeover includes several new elements, including the infield, dugouts, fence, foul poles and more.
Jesuit High baseball players talk in the dugout at their remodeled field. The makeover includes several new elements, including the infield, dugouts, fence, foul poles and more. Courtesy of Jesuit High School baseball

About the only things old to be found on the new baseball digs at Jesuit High School are the throwback uniforms.

To be specific, longtime coach Joe Potulny fancies his relic Houston Astros garb, or any other team, as a baseball purist with a soft spot for nostalgia. He will reach for a uni for a practice run, his players long past rolling their eyes.

Otherwise, Jesuit park has a complete makeover, with a new infield, dugouts, backstop, retaining wall, fence and foul poles, as well as fresh concrete behind home plate and an upgraded grass berm behind the home dugout.

Oh, and it's a new-look team, too.

Jesuit started the season 0-4, with losses to powerhouse programs such as Bellarmine and Valley Christian of San Jose by scores of 7-5 and 3-2, respectively. The Marauders are now riding an 11-game winning streak and are 15-6 overall. Entering Monday, this was the only unbeaten team in the Delta League standings.

Jesuit is ranked third by The Bee behind league rivals Elk Grove and Franklin, with both looming for Jesuit down the stretch of the regular season. The Marauders host top-ranked Elk Grove on Thursday, visit the Thundering Herd on Friday and close the regular season with two games against Franklin, including the regular-season finale on May 8 at home.

Troy Shields crushed a three-run home run in a 10-7, 10-inning victory over Davis on April 24, and Carter Benbrook tossed a complete game in a 2-0 win over Davis on April 26, striking out nine. Davis entered the series unbeaten in league play.

Cody Jensen and Benbrook have been Jesuit's top pitchers, and its top hitters have been Shields, Benbrook, Cade Cunningham, Daniel Susac and Luke Williams.


Nevada Union has named Brad Sparks as its new football coach. He was previously the freshman coach and a varsity assistant at the school.

"We've hired an incredible football coach that always has the best interest of kids in mind," Nevada Union athletic director Jeff Dellis said. "He has a great ability to communicate. Kids love him. He's a perfect fit for what we're trying to accomplish here."

Sparks is a familiar face of calm for a program that has been rocked by tragedy. A drunk driver crashed into a car carrying three of the Miners' players last month, killing two. The survivor, Dawson Fay, is one of the area's top players. He said he will dedicate his senior season this fall to his "brothers and best friends" Tyler Nielson and Justin Gardner.

Track and field

Zach Larrier of Monterey Trail on Saturday eclipsed the 48-second barrier in the 400 meters for the third time, winning the Sacramento Meet of Champions in 47.50 seconds.

The California leader in the one-lap race, Larrier also won the Arcadia Invitational in 47.12.

Juan Zarate-Sanchez of Davis won the 800 in 1 minute, 52.78 seconds, and teammate Sondre Guttormsen took the pole vault with a mark of 17 feet, 2 inches.

The Sheldon 4x100 relay won in 42.16 with legs David Norris, Justin Williams, Dillon Juniel and DeQuon Foster, edging Grant (42.33). The Sheldon girls won the 4x400 relay in 3:51.73 behind runners Michaela Andrews, Imani Dupree, Tatumn LaChapelle and Thalia Reid.

Dupree was second in the 100 in 12.13.

Elena Denner of Oak Ridge won the 1,600 in 4:51.30, and Anna Hicks of Ponderosa was second in 4:57.32. Olivia O'Keeffe of Davis won the 3,200 in 10:22.30, with Maddy Denner of Oak Ridge second in 10:45.47. Cathilyn McIntosh of Del Oro won 800 in 2:12.09.

Nia Collins of Monterey Trail won the 100 hurdles in 14:42, edging Mackenzie Fletcher of Ponderosa, who was second in 14:52. Sadye Peschke of Bella Vista edged Collins in the 300 hurdles, winning 43.25 to 43.44.

Hannah Lybbert of Davis won the high jump at 5-5. Ceonna Pipion of Vista del Lago was second in 200 in 24.95 and second in the 400 in 55.72.


The Sac-Joaquin Section announced $30,500 in scholarship money to be awarded to 49 winners of the A. Dale Lackey/CSEA Scholarships for outstanding athletic performance, community service and academic success in high school.

The local winners are: Neeve Chen of Woodcreek, a four-year swimmer and golder and an AP scholar who will graduate No. 1 in her class of 502; Amalie Fackenthal of Sacramento Country Day, a five-time section swimming champion and a National Merit Scholar; Andrew Birch of Del Oro, a three-sport athlete and a 4.24 student and a member of the National Honors Society; Patrick Wiseman of Chrsitian Brothers, a four-year cross country and track runner and an Eagle Scout with a 4.29 GPA; Alyssa Bei of Dixon, a four-year basketball and water polo player with a 4.58 GPA, which is fifth in her class of 251; Johnna Dreschler of Forest Lake Christian, a four-year basketball and volleyball player with a 4.33 GPA, the second highest of her class; Alize Hartke of Oakmont, a four-year runner and a section Division II champion with a 4.12 GPA; Ramnit Kaur of Inderkum, a four-year soccer player and team captain with a 4.67 GPA, which is sixth in her class of 476.

More winners: Madeline Mercer of Christian Brothers, a four-year swimmer and water polo player with a 4.27 GPA; Clarissa Nowag-Nelson of McClatchy, a four-year track and cross county runner and a four-time CIF State cross country qualifier with a 4.59 GPA, which is No. 1 in her class of 515; Lisa Sedgwick of Sheldon, a four-year soccer player with a 4.11 GPA; Kayla Toft of Bear River, a three-sport star and campus leader with a 4.5 GPA; Yekatarina Zhezherya of Rosemont, a golfer and AP scholar with a 4.35 GPA, which is No. 1 in her class of 332.; Jacob Giardino of Dixon, a four-year basketball player who has a 4.2 GPA; Payton Hunter of Sacrament, a four-year football player and star wrestler with a 4.02 GPA, which is No. 2 in his class of 162; Garrett Imbach of Woodland, a three-sport star whose 4.28 GPA is No. 3 in his class of 277; Nicholas Kull of El Dorado, a three-sport star whose 4.23 GPA is No. 5 in his class of 304; Joseph Morrison of Davis, a four-year football player with a 4.27 GPA; Garren O'Keefe of Colfax, a three-sport star whose 4.32 GPA is No. 1 in his class of 142; Branko Otashevich of Bella Vista, a four-year swimmer and water polo player who has a 4.36 GPA; Chance Sinerius of Valley Christian, a four-year basketball player and golfer whose 4.00 GPA is No. 4 in his class of 34; Eric Wyatt of Woodland Christian, a four-year football and basketball player whose 4.19 GPA is No. 3 in his class of 39.

The Bee's Top 20 baseball rankings

With last week's ranking in parentheses.

1. Elk Grove (1) 10-4-2

2. Franklin (2) 18-4

3. Jesuit (5) 15-6

4. Davis (4) 12-9

5. Del Campo (6) 18-4-1

6. Woodcreek (7) 15-8

7. Oak Ridge (8) 12-9

8. Rocklin (3) 13-4

9. Capital Christian (9) 20-3

10. Winters (10) 26-1

11. Yuba City (11) 20-4

12. Granite Bay (12) 12-9

13. Lincoln (15) 19-3

14. Woodland (13) 15-6

15. Christian Brothers (14) 16-5

16. El Dorado (18) 21-3

17. Laguna Creek (16) 16-5

18. McClatchy (17) 13-8

19. Pioneer (-) 15-7

20. Dixon (-) 15-3

Dropped out: Bella Vista, Rio Americano

The Bee's Top 20 softball rankings

With last week's ranking in parentheses.

1. Sheldon (1) 15-2

2. Elk Grove (5) 15-5-1

3. Pleasant Grove (6) 13-5

4. Granite Bay (2) 12-3

5. Casa Roble (3) 17-5

6. Del Campo (4) 15-2

7. Del Oro (7) 9-7-1

8. Pioneer (10) 15-1-1

9. Oak Ridge (8) 13-5-1

10. Lincoln (9) 13-6

11. Rocklin (11) 8-8

12. Woodcreek (12) 9-7

13. Whitney (13) 12-9-1

14. Christian Brothers (14) 11-5

15. Roseville (16) 14-6-1

16. Bella Vista (15) 14-6-1

17. Sutter (17) 19-1

18. Yuba City (18) 15-7

19. McClatchy (19) 12-3

20. Liberty Ranch (-) 17-3

Dropped out: Bear River