Williamson, Naile Secure Season's First Awards

Sacramento River Cats News Release  |  2018-04-16

Photo by Barry Sibert

Mac Williamson piles up stats in numerous categories to claim his second career Player of the Week award

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Pacific Coast League announced Monday that Sacramento River Cats outfielder Mac Williamson and Nashville Sounds right-hander James Naile have been named the Player and Pitcher of the Week for the extended season-opening period of April 5-15. 

Williamson entered play today at or near the top of the PCL in every major offensive category, including batting average (.548, 1st), home runs (five, 1st), hits (17, t-1st), total bases (35, t-1st), RBI (14, t-1st) and extra-base hits (eight, t-2nd). Additionally, the outfielder leads all full-season Minor League players in slugging percentage (1.129), on-base percentage (.659) and OPS (1.788).

The 27-year-old recorded a hit in all nine games, a stretch that featured seven consecutive contests with at least one hit, one run scored and one RBI. Williamson’s first homer of the season came as part of a three-hit, three-RBI effort in an April 6 win at Tacoma. After a pair of games in which he combined for five hits, including his only three doubles, he began a streak of four consecutive games with a home run, from April 10 through April 14. The last of those games, Williamson contributed two hits, three RBI and two runs scored as part of the River Cats’ 12-run attack on April 14 against Tacoma. He capped his week by reaching base a season-best five times, three via hits and two via walks, on April 15, also versus the Rainiers.

The Wake Forest University product has been in the Giants organization for his entire seven-year career after San Francisco selected him in third round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. Williamson has spent parts of each of the last four seasons in Sacramento, hitting .264 (206-for-780) with 38 home runs and 137 RBI in 211 games. The Florida native has also appeared in 92 career Major League contests, all coming over the 2015-17 seasons, hitting .226 (48-for-212) with nine homers and 22 RBI. This is his second career Player of the Week award, having previously been honored by the California League in 2013 with Single-A San Jose.

Naile made three starts and did not allow a run over 17.2 innings, walking only two batters and striking out 15. He is the only pitcher in Minor League Baseball to have begun the season with more than 15 innings of shutout ball. Naile’s season began on Opening Day in New Orleans; he went five shutout innings, surrendering just three hits and striking out five. Naile picked up where he left off in his next outing, shutting out the Iowa Cubs over 5.2 innings, while striking out three on April 10 in Nashville. The 25-year-old saved his best effort for last, tossing a seven-inning complete game shutout against Omaha on April 15 – the first complete game in the PCL this year. Naile fanned seven, allowed only five hits (all singles) and a walk.

The right-hander was selected by the Athletics in the 20th round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Prior to this campaign, Naile made only two other Triple-A starts, both in 2016. He spent last year at Double-A Midland but missed nearly two months of the season with injuries. When healthy, Naile appeared in 14 games (10 starts) and pitched to a 3.21 ERA (61.2 IP, 22 ER). He entered this season tabbed by Baseball America as Oakland’s No. 26 prospect. In his professional career, Naile has gone 17-14 with a 3.00 ERA (273.1 IP, 91 ER), 64 walks and 215 strikeouts. This is his first career Pitcher of the Week.

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Coach Guy Anderson Honored by the ABCA

By Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-04-13

Recipients of the 2018 ABCA Dave Keilitz Ethics in Coaching Award: Longtime Stanford Cardinal head coach Mark Marquess (left) and Guy Anderson (right) with award committee chair Tom O’Connell. Photo courtesy American Baseball Coaches Association

Discusses Storied Career and the Current State of Baseball

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - “I’ve been accused of being old school; which I am,” professed legendary baseball coach Guy Anderson.

I sat down with the winner of 927 high school ballgames for a cup of coffee in Gold River on what was a perfect day for baseball. I showed up early, but Anderson was already there, sitting outside. Meeting with him for the first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had only heard stories.

Despite the crowded patio, I knew exactly who Anderson was. You can always tell with baseball guys. We quickly jumped into conversation, as if we’d picked right back up from our last one. The spry, 85-year-old had freshly returned from a Spring Break tournament in Anaheim. Now the assistant coach for Capital Christian High School, Anderson led the Cordova Lancers program for 45 years, winning 17 league titles, five section titles and coaching 24 players who would eventually be drafted by Major League organizations.

Earlier this year he received the American Baseball Coaches Association Dave Keilitz Ethics in Coaching Award. He attended the awards ceremony at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis to accept the award last January. Anderson told me what an honor the award was and how much it meant to him, but also how fortunate he is to have been able to coach such great players throughout the years.

“I compare coaching a little bit to being a jockey,” he explained. “You don’t win on a donkey; you’ve got to have a stallion to win the big ones. I’ve had some pretty good guys that could play the game very well.”

For a man who has dedicated much of his life to coaching and teaching others, he has enjoyed the fact that this award is not just about him, but a recognition of who he is and what he so proudly stands for. “This award was outstanding for me, I’ve been fortunate to be put in a few Hall of Fames. Like I said, you’ve got to have the stallions - it’s important to have the players - but this one here was more, to me, about who I am.”

I asked the self-proclaimed “old school” coach how the game has evolved over the many decades of ballgames that he has taken part of. “If you start at the Major League level, it’s the money. The money is a big difference now and it’s an entertainment rather than a sport.”

Anderson then addressed the collegiate level, summarizing a recent game that he and his Capital Christian team attended when they were in Southern California for their tournament. “The college level is still good baseball and I’ll give you an example. The leadoff batter gets a base hit and the next guy lays down a sacrifice bunt. Early in the game, go get that first run.”

What Anderson stressed throughout our conversation about today’s game was that sacrifice bunting, or any sort of personal sacrifice at all, is a dying art – especially at the pro level. In last year’s 2017 MLB season, a record 6,105 home runs were hit, topping the 5,963 belted in 2000 at the height of the Steroid Era. Strikeouts set a record for the 10th straight season at 40,104 and sacrifice bunts fell to their lowest level since the year 1900 at 925. To put that last number into perspective, there were only eight teams in 1900 and they played anywhere between 140 and 146 games compared to the 30 teams and 162 game schedule in today’s game.

But individual numbers can mean a lot more than team wins and the kind of contributions that won’t show up in the box score to today’s young players. The pressures to perform at a high level have trickled down to a lower age group, making the game a more individualistic sport. Whereas only seniors used to worry about playing at the college level, now underclassmen are receiving recruitment letters and are forced to think about the future rather than living in the moment.

“Play now, play the best you can and good things will happen,” said Anderson. “Don’t worry about next year or you may not get there.” From early recruitment to travel ball to personal coaches and trainers, there are new politics in the game of baseball.

But Anderson also understands that when you’re in the game as long as he has been, things are bound to take on a different shape over time. That’s part of life. “We lost one thing in basketball a few years ago, and we’re losing it in baseball now, and that’s the same color shoes,” Anderson joked. “You go back to the military. You’re a team when you all look alike. And that’s why I’ve always liked the Yankees; they never put the name on the back.”

Coach Guy Anderson is the very embodiment of America’s pastime - a true throwback in every sense of the word; rich in history and accolades, but willing to accept the evolution of the game, whether he fully agrees with it or not. And that’s what great coaches do. They lay down a stern foundation of the history and fundamentals of the game, and the rest, the improvisation, is up to you. And when it comes right down to it, Anderson and the game of baseball may have evolved, but they’ll never truly change.

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Center for Freedom and Flight to host event honoring the Legendary Tuskegee Airmen

By the Center for Freedom and Flight  |  2018-04-12

About the Center for Freedom and Flight:  Our mission is to honor America’s aviation heroes and technology of the past, present, and future. By providing impactful experiences through compelling exhibits, we provide a unique environment to cultivate interest and education to further the aviation industry.

A First of Its Kind Event on the West Coast

VACAVILLE, CA (MPG) - Heritage, The Legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen is a first of its kind event in Northern California on Saturday and Sunday, June 2nd-3rd, 2018. The inaugural weekend long event will be held at the world-famous Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville, CA at the Center for Freedom and Flight. The purpose of this event is to honor the members and their families of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, educate today’s youth, and inspire future leaders in aviation.

Hosted by The Tuskegee Airmen Heritage Chapters of Greater Sacramento and Lee Archer Jr. (Travis AFB), Center for Freedom and Flight, Unsung Heroes: A Living History Project and EAA Chapter 1230 Nut Tree Airport.

Event highlights include Tuskegee Airmen and Heritage families in attendance, mobile Tuskegee Airmen museum, fly in with historically significant aircraft.

A fun-filled dinner and dance will be hosted on Saturday, June 2, 2018. The dinner dance will include a VIP cocktail hour, dinner, a hosted bar and music provided by the Harley White Jr. Orchestra. A free Community Open House will be held on Sunday, June 3, 2018 from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

For more information, sponsorship opportunities, and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/heritage-swing-under-the-wings-tickets-44894283009?aff=erelpanelorg

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SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today responded to the federal government’s request for additional California National Guard personnel with the following letter. The accompanying agreement, submitted this afternoon for review and approval by the federal government, can be found here.

April 11, 2018

Dear Secretary Nielsen and Secretary Mattis:

Pursuant to your request, the California National Guard will accept federal funding to add approximately 400 Guard members statewide to supplement the staffing of its ongoing program to combat transnational crime. This program is currently staffed by 250 personnel statewide, including 55 at the California border.

Your funding for new staffing will allow the Guard to do what it does best: support operations targeting transnational criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers along the border, the coast and throughout the state. Combating these criminal threats are priorities for all Americans – Republicans and Democrats. That’s why the state and the Guard have long supported this important work and agreed to similar targeted assistance in 2006 under President Bush and in 2010 under President Obama.

But let’s be crystal clear on the scope of this mission. This will not be a mission to build a new wall. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life. And the California National Guard will not be enforcing federal immigration laws.

Here are the facts: there is no massive wave of migrants pouring into California. Overall immigrant apprehensions on the border last year were as low as they’ve been in nearly 50 years (and 85 percent of the apprehensions occurred outside of California).

I agree with the Catholic Bishops who have said that local, state and federal officials should “work collaboratively and prudently in the implementation of this deployment, ensuring that the presence of the National Guard is measured and not disruptive to community life.”

I look forward to working with you on this important effort.

Sincerely,

Edmund G. Brown Jr.

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento County Fair is on the lookout for the next generation of farmers to exhibit their livestock this Memorial Day Weekend! FFA and 4H members of all classes are invited to enter their livestock in a competitive and fun-filled weekend of competition at Cal Expo. With over 5,000 entrants expected for 2018, it’s never been a better time to get involved!

With 4 days of competition ranging from 4-H novices exhibiting for the first time to FFA Advanced competing for best in show, there’s something for every level and animal exhibitor at the Fair! And don’t miss out on the junior livestock auction on Sunday, May 27th! Over 600 local youth involved in 4-H and FFA will raise and sell livestock and eggs at the at the Cal Expo Livestock Pavilion. In 2017, over $500,000 was generated at the sale thanks to the generosity of our auction buyers.

To sign up to exhibit or find out more visit http://www.sacfair.com/competitions-contests.html. Paper entries must be postmarked or hand-delivered before close of business by Friday, April 13 and online entries must be submitted by close of business Friday, April 20. Don’t miss out!

As an added bonus, Midway of Fun is proud to once again offer a special unlimited ride wristband good for all 5 days of the fair for junior livestock exhibitors for one low price—only $29.50! That’s any ride in the entire midway—any day of the Fair during midway hours! Restrictions apply. Limit one wristband per junior entrant. Visit the Sacramento County Fair website for more details.

For more information on the Fair and a daily schedule visit www.sacfair.com and #ShareTheFair on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SacramentoCountyFair/, Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/saccountyfair, and on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sacfair

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The leading cause of death for our nation's 15-20 year old drivers is motor vehicle collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.

In our effort to help reduce motor vehicle collisions, the California Highway Patrol (CHP), East Sacramento Area Office is offering two Start Smart Classes in March. The CHP's Start Smart Program is a driver safety education class which targets new and future licensed teenage drivers between the age of 15-19, and their parents or guardians.

The class covers California’s Graduated Driver License Program, collision trends and avoidance techniques, distracted driving laws, and alcohol related driving laws. The program also offers an opportunity for new drivers and their parents or guardians to ask CHP officers clarifying questions. The class runs for approximately two hours. We encouraged parents or guardians to attend the class with their teen driver.

WHEN: April 30, 2018 (Monday) from 6:30pm to 8:30pm May 14, 2018 (Monday) from 6:30pm to 8:30pm May 28, 2018 (Monday) from 6:30pm to 8:30pm

WHERE: CHP East Sacramento, 11336 Trade Center Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95742

If you are interested in signing up for the class, or need additional information, please contact the CHP’s East Sacramento Area Office at (916) 464-1450, or at triggin@chp.ca.gov.

Funding for CHP’s Start Smart program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Administration.

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The Playmakers: "Team Means Family"

Story and photos by Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-04-10

To support Coach Roz and the Playmakers, join them at their annual BBQ dinner on April 28. Visit theplaymakers.org for more information.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - “Family: I am a Playmaker. I have been blessed with coaches who care about me, pour into me, coach me hard, and love me.  Someday I may be a Mom or Dad. I will be prepared to finish the job and pay-it-forward.  That is what a Playmaker does, and I am a Playmaker.  I will not tolerate bullying, speaking negatively about someone, or being unkind.  Team means family.”

That is the first of the four core values in the Playmakers Creed that program founder and executive director Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler instills into his student athletes from day one. Established in 2009, The Playmakers Organization is more than just an after school program, it’s a family. Family, followed by Academics, Serving Others and Winning With Honor.

There are three components to the program: Character and Leadership, Reading and Literacy and Sports and Recreation. “The program is about integrating sports with character,” according to Skycrest Elementary 5th grade teacher Jinne Calvi.

Skycrest Elementary in Citrus Heights is just one of four current locations that the program is currently serving, along with schools in Rancho Cordova, Folsom and Woodland with expansion to Antelope and Rocklin on the horizon.

The nonprofit program is for third, fourth and fifth graders from all different backgrounds and walks of life. They are referred by their teachers, but participate after school voluntarily. “We are old school,” said Coach Roz. “We have the toughest kids that don’t want to go to other programs.”

With Coach Roz in charge, the program is facilitated by Sacramento State student-athletes and fraternity brothers. Sac State senior and former Phi Kappa Tau president Alec Romero has been working with the Playmakers for three years and has become Coach Roz’s right hand man. He manages the rest of the coaches and has dedicated a lot of time and hard work to help make the program what it is today.

Fellow Phi Kappa Tau brother and Sac State sophomore Peter Francisco is the newest coach and had only been on the job for a couple of days but was already leading the charge on the basketball court, running layup drills and teaching the Playmakers how to both follow directions and compete.

The program starts off in the classroom after school with the Playmakers doing their homework then openly discussing anything that may be on their minds. The coaches are there for them and help guide a very structured but free speaking conversation. The class then transitions into a few warmup exercises before heading outside, in a single file line, to play whatever seasonal sport they may choose.

Coach Roz teaches the idea of what he calls the “reverse pyramid.” This is the counter sports culture idea that the veterans and leaders of the team actually go last, rather than first. “Pups, seniors, leaders,” Roz explained. “In life, you earn the right to go last.” This prepares the Playmakers for the idea that sometimes in life you must put your family first – something that Coach Roz and his team are teaching by example.

It is clear that the Playmakers are more than willing to learn and in return lead, but just need that extra guidance from the likes of Coach Roz and his team. While it’s not always easy, by the end of each new concept, both on and off the court, everyone is on the same page and working together as a team – and team means family.

To support the Playmakers, join them at their annual BBQ dinner on April 28 from 6-9pm at the Divine Savior Church located at 9079 Greenback Lane in Orangevale. There will be a number of guest speakers, a tri-tip dinner and drinks, entertainment for all and a silent auction. Tickets are $40 and available at theplaymakers.org.

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