All three started with baseball; they loved to swing the bat and run the bases.
Eventually, sisters Jordan and Maci Fines switched to softball and excelled as middle infielders and at the plate at Sheldon High School, mirroring Dylan Carlson’s success at nearby Elk Grove High.
Carlson and the Fineses, all of whom led their teams to Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championships this season, are The Sacramento Bee’s Baseball and Softball Players of the Year.
Carlson, a first baseman and outfielder, helped the Thundering Herd repeat as section champion, too, giving coach Jeff Carlson his seventh title since 2003 and his third in his son’s four years of varsity baseball. Jeff Carlson is The Bee’s Baseball Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year.
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“It’s been great, really special, especially having my dad as coach,” Dylan Carlson said.
Carlson, 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, batted .406 with 41 hits, 41 RBIs, 41 runs, 13 doubles and nine home runs, tied for third-most in the state this season, and he was 6-0 as a pitcher. In an 8-1 victory over Tracy in the section title game, he struck out 10 and hit a three-run home run.
On Thursday, Carlson was selected in the first round (No. 33) of the major-league draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, who plan to develop him as a hitter.
With Maci leading off and Jordan following her in the lineup, and with their penchant for fielding sharp grounders and turning double plays, Sheldon also repeated as section champion, beating Tracy 2-1 in the title game. It was the seventh title since 2002 for Sheldon coach Mary Jo Truesdale, The Bee’s Softball Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.
The sisters learned the game together and have won tons of games together. They also were coached by their father; Edwin Fines, who played baseball growing up, coached them in youth leagues and keeps a bucket of softballs and gear handy.
“We pull the cars out of the garage and set up a batting cage with a net,” Jordan said.
“We’ll go in there and hit all the time,” Maci added. “It really helped us get better.”
Jordan, a senior, batted .444 with 44 hits, 38 RBIs, 12 doubles and 30 runs. Maci, a junior, hit .518 with 58 hits, 24 RBIs and 50 runs.
They’re also best friends, never mind the flare-ups.
“We’re sisters that can fight like brothers,” Jordan said, her sister agreeing with a laugh.
“It’ll be hard not having her as a teammate because we’ve always played together,” Maci said.
Jordan, who is headed to Cal on scholarship, aspires to be a doctor – or “the president of the United States,” with Maci assuring her sister she would have her vote. After another season at Sheldon, Maci will play on scholarship at UC Santa Barbara.
Carlson understands the Fines’ relationship. His brother, Tanner, started at third base for Elk Grove this season as a sophomore. Winning a championship alongside his brother for his school and his father-coach, Carlson said, “was a dream come true.”
Carlson’s next dream is to play professional baseball. If he doesn’t sign with the Cardinals, he will play at Cal State Fullerton on scholarship.
Player of the Year
Dylan Carlson, Elk Grove, Sr.
Alex Isola, Jesuit, Sr.
Ryan Kreidler, Davis, Sr.
Joe McNamara, Christian Brothers, Sr.
Beau Philip, Oak Ridge, Sr.
Tyler Malone, Woodcreek, Sr.
Josh Urps, Elk Grove, Sr.
Aidan Malm, Whitney, Sr.
Ryan Robards, Elk Grove, Sr.
Jordan Vujovich, Granite Bay, Sr.
Trenton Denholm, Oak Ridge, Jr.
Aaron Lee, Bella Vista, Sr.
Ben Purcell, Del Campo, Sr.
Jack Wolger, Jesuit, Sr.
Alex Zalasky, Elk Grove, Sr.
Cameron Eden, Yuba City, Sr.
Elijah Garcia, Lincoln, Sr.
Tiegen Jones, Capital Christian, Sr.
Matt Manning, Sheldon, Sr.
Zach Tresemer, Franklin, Sr.
Brendan Galbreath, Oak Ridge, Sr.
Jack Filby, McClatchy, So.
Jeffrey Jamison, Del Campo, So.
John Mook, Oak Ridge, Sr.
Nick Sogard, Jesuit, Sr.
Aaron Wong, Elk Grove, Sr.
Ryan Holgate, Davis, So.
Riley Lamb, Elk Grove, Jr.
Patrick Smith, Oak Ridge, Jr.
Marques Buford, Capital Christian, Sr.
John Cross, Oak Ridge, Jr.
Zach Jedlowski, Sheldon, Jr.
Cody Lindsey, Woodcreek, Sr.
Darren Nelson, Granite Bay, Jr.
Josh Congress, Laguna Creek, Sr.
Jaylund Johnson, Capital Christian, Sr.
Tim Wieser, Oakmont, Sr.
Josh Winkler, Vista del Lago, Sr.
CATCHERS: Logan Appino, Cordova; Diego Black, Christian Brothers; Erek Bolton, Elk Grove; Casey DeMello, Valley Christian Academy; Justin Grace, El Camino; Hunter Jury, Davis; Isaiah Morales, Franklin; Michael Nelsen, Vista del Lago; Jack Rotteveel, Woodcreek
INFIELDERS: Kevin Acuff, Center; Darren Baker, Jesuit; Jackson Balantac, Christian Brothers; Bear Belding, Bear River; Tim Butler, Del Campo; Colton Burns, El Camino; Matt Clarke, Bella Vista; Jacob Cross, Bear River; Justin Erickson, Whitney; Kevin Fitzgerald, Laguna Creek; Weston Gaddis, Nevada Union; Kody Gardner, Rio Americano; Avery Gould, River Valley; Josh Hook, Folsom; Nick Iwasa, Jesuit; Kenny LeBeau, Granite Bay; Tommy Lindenthal, Foothill; Jacob Torres-Luna, Mira Loma; Billy Martina, Oak Ridge; Landon Mitchell, Vista del Lago; Ceto Munoz, Christian Brothers; John Papapietro, Inderkum; Chris Piazzoni, Folsom; Jacob Rapp, Delta; Amari Reed, Pleasant Grove; Brennan Rozell, Lincoln; Daniel Vitoria, Galt; Justin Watari, Woodcreek; Nick White, Golden Sierra
OUTFIELDERS: Jared Alameida, Jesuit; Cameron Allie, Oak Ridge; Tim Balmain, Oakmont; Alec Bessinger, Rocklin; Mason Breiphol, Elk Grove; Mitchell Hirata, Woodcreek; Steven Langley, El Camino; Adam Hughes, Bradshaw Christian; Dean Lucas, Sheldon; Brandon Motheral, Mesa Verde; James Pizzuti, El Dorado; Nate Thimjon, Franklin; Donovan Sykes, Bella Vista; Brig Trucker, Placer; Kyle Williams, River Valley
PITCHERS: Dennis Boatman, Woodcreek; Anthony Carrion, Winters; Tyler Condie, Oak Ridge; Tanner Cunha, Christian Brothers; Kyle Galart, Pioneer; Drew Rodriguez, Yuba City; Carlos Salaiz, Oakmont; Jason Schafer, Rocklin; Matt Smith, Pleasant Grove; Spencer Swain, Bradshaw Christian; Radd Thomas, Placer; Grant Woodside, Valley Christian Academy
UTILITY: Montel Aaron, Antelope; Corey Cater, Valley Christian Academy; Greg Creamer, Winters; Burle Dixon, Sheldon; Maurice Hayden, Cosumnes Oaks; Ashton Hughes, Rocklin; Sonny Ledford, Rio Americano; Rudy Mendoza, Christian Brothers; Landon Mitchell, Vista del Lago, Sr.; Scott Randall, Del Oro; Matt Voelker, Granite Bay; Caden Voges, Sacramento; Hogan Weaver, San Juan; Josh Winkler, Vista del Lago
Coach of the Year
Jeff Carlson, Elk Grove
After losing several key players to graduation – including brothers Nick and Ty Madrigal, The Bee’s 2015 co-Players of the Year – Carlson retooled, and the Thundering Herd kept winning. Elk Grove beat Tracy to repeat as the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion, the seventh title for Carlson since 2003. One bonus to the season, which Carlson called his most special, was coaching sons Dylan, an outfielder-first baseman and The Bee’s Player of the Year, and Tanner, a third baseman.
Players of the Year
Maci Fines, Sheldon, Jr.
Jordan Fines, Sheldon, Sr.
Jessica Scott, Sheldon, Sr.
Madison Anderson, Ponderosa, Sr.
Kayla Curtan, Woodcreek, Sr.
Aly Manzo, Roseville, Sr.
Shea Moreno, Sheldon, So.
Miranda Rodriguez, Elk Grove, Sr.
Rebecca Bernard, Woodcreek, Sr.
Victoria Camina, Pleasant Grove, Sr.
Maggie West, Del Campo, Sr.
Jacy Boles, Woodcreek, Sr.
Carli Cutler, Rocklin, Sr.
Nerissa Eason, Bear River, Sr.
Brooke Larsen, Del Campo, Jr.
Taliyah Miles, Sheldon, Jr.
Rachel Bennett, Bella Vista, Jr.
Sarah Fukushima, Sheldon, Sr.
Amaryssa Medina, River City, Jr.
Kaitlyn Rubio, Placer, Sr.
Jazmine Moreno, Elk Grove, Sr.
Katie Manley, Rocklin, Sr.
Ashlyn Adams, Bella Vista, Jr.
Melanie Baccay, St. Francis, Sr.
Kianah Corey, Pleasant Grove; Sr.
Holli McNeil, Woodcreek, Sr.
Virginia Robello, Del Campo, Jr.
Cherise Silvan, Vista del Lago, Sr.
Shelby Tevis, St. Francis, Sr.
Raeanna Young, Pleasant Grove, Sr.
Megan Anderson, Roseville, Jr.
Cassidy Clavelle, Marysville, Sr.
Rachel Gordon, Pioneer, Sop.
Beth Hammer, Union Mine, Jr.
Courtney Riley, Elk Grove, Sr.
Morgan Hawkins, Vista del Lago, Jr.
Miranda Menees-Miles, Elk Grove, Sr.
Danielle Reyes, Kennedy, Jr.
Madeline Skibitzki, Antelope, Sr.
Raeanna Young, Pleasant Grove, Sr.
CATCHERS: Mazzie Davies, Laguna Creek; Kimberly Evans, Kennedy; Lexi Harrington, Granite Bay; Claire Inouye, Davis; Lauren Niemiec, Oak Ridge; Mya Reynolds, Casa Roble; Katelyn Snow, Bella Vista; Hannah Willover, St. Francis; Kaylee Winn, Del Oro
INFIELDERS: Sami Aguilar, Casa Roble; Maddie Amos, Roseville; Kylee Boykin, Dixon; Cassidy Busch, McClatchy; Jody Cova, Casa Roble; Jordyn Farren, Liberty Ranch; Makenna Firenze, Rocklin; Sierra Gonzalez, Pleasant Grove; Andrea Hardin, Bear River; Sarah Kosmata, Placer; Makenna Lipelt, Pioneer; Cierra McClain, Capital Christian; Hannah Mueller, Bella Vista; Isabella Munoz, West Campus; Amber Orchard, Oak Ridge; Peyton Rawls, Franklin; Catherine Slabaugh, Davis; Taylor Snyder, Folsom; Haley Suter, Casa Roble; Katie Vretzos, Vista del Lago
OUTFIELDERS: Calista Almer, Union Mine; Jessilyn Barrow, Folsom; Kai’lee Cole, Cordova; Emily Geil, Placer; Sabrina Guerra, Inderkum; Kelsey Hall, Bella Vista; Cameron Kirtlan, Oak Ridge; Amanda Loya, Casa Roble; Juju Malana, Sheldon; Natalie Miller, Del Oro; Riley Newman, Nevada Union; Jaciana Vasquez, Sheldon
PITCHERS: Brittany Baroni, Liberty Ranch; Maren Bernal, McClatchy; Blake Craft, Yuba City; Taylor Keinath, Franklin; Brianna Leavell, Rio Linda; Reece Lewis, Del Oro; Karissa Mejia, Foothill; Amber Mackay, Foresthill; Maddie Mitchell, Whitney; Chloe Teese, Casa Roble; Bethany Thornton, Placer
UTILITY: Audrey Dufrense, Davis; Courtney Jack, Franklin; Adreanna Killingsworth, Capital Christian; Naomi Kubo, West Campus; Melissa Martinez, Bradshaw Christian; Bailynn Meek, Casa Roble; Emily Moran, Vista del Lago; Cheyenne Price, El Dorado; Morgan Price, Christian Brothers
Coach of the Year
Mary Jo Truesdale, Sheldon
Truesdale kept a team expected to repeat as the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion focused yet loose, mixing in fun at practices and on the road. The Huskies (30-2), featuring a prolific lineup and a dominating defense, beat Tracy to win the championship. It’s Truesdale’s seventh title since 2002.