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Softball Poll

Team Record Pts Last week
1. Castro Valley (8) 8-3 146 6
2. Freedom (1) 10-1 139 1
3. Granada 10-2 128 2
4. California (1) 9-1 118 4
5. Foothill 7-5 116 5
6. Deer Valley 7-3 101 3
7. James Logan 11-2 91 7
8. College Park 7-3 74 8
9. San Ramon Valley 9-3 64 11
10. Berkeley 8-3 59 9
11. Livermore 5-3 50 12
12. Amador Valley 6-3 40 10
13. Bishop O’Dowd 10-0 31 15
14. Albany 8-1 25 14
15. Concord 8-0 7 NR

Others receiving votes: Alameda 4, Moreau Catholic 1, Antioch 1, Arroyo 1.

Note: This poll is compiled for games through March 30 only.

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Allard to Northwestern

I mentioned this in passing in my story today about yesterday’s Livermore Stampede but earlier this week, Deer Valley pitcher/outfielder Emily Allard gave an oral commitment to play softball at Northwestern in 2010.

Allard, only a junior, hits leadoff for the Wolverines and tripled in all three of their runs in their second Stampede game against Monte Vista. She told me that she’ll head to Northwestern as an outfielder/slapper and she might officially be the tallest slapper I’ve ever seen (her club team’s Web site lists her at 6-foot-0).

“It was the coaching staff and the players,” Allard said Thursday. “The coaching staff is hilarious and when I called (coach Kate Drohan) on the phone to tell her I was coming, she was screaming in the airport.”

Allard also played basketball this year for Deer Valley and she becomes the second high-profile local athlete to commit to the Wildcats, joining Las Lomas wrestler Jason Welch. Allard (one of the most well-spoken athletes I’ve encountered, by the way) added that Northwestern’s academic prowess was a selling point as well.

“It’s a great academic school. It’s like the Stanford of the midwest,” Allard said. “They have a great softball program. It just worked.”

The Wolverines continue pool play action tonight against Sheldon-Sacramento.

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Livermore Stampede Update: Day One

Sorry for the delay. Been out at the field all day. Here are the box scores I have so far:

Softball
High school
Livermore Stampede
Pool play
Foothill 1, Castro Valley 0
Castro Valley 000Ø000Ø0 — 0 3 1
Foothill 000Ø001Øx — 1 5 0
Lemmon and Ammerman. Ball and Tabler. W: Ball. L: Lemmon. 2B: Sweeney (F). 3B: Viveiros (CV) 2, Sweeney. Records: Castro Valley 4-3, Foothill 5-3. Highlights: F — Ball CG, 10 strikeouts, 2 hits; Sweeney 2-for-3; Ortiz 1-for-2, game-winning RBI.

Livermore 7, Alameda 3 (5)
Livermore 150Ø10 — 7 7 0
Alameda 002Ø10 — 3 9 0
Varady, Rooney and Kiefer. Sedlack and Sorenson. W: Varady. L: Sedlack. 2B: Lonsdale (A). HR: Sabatini (L). Records: Livermore 6-2, Alameda 4-3. Highlights: L — Sabatini 2-for-3, 2 RBI, 3 runs; Keller 1-for-3, 2 RBI, run. A — Sanchez 2-for-3, RBI, run; Rodriguez 2-for-3; Lonsdale 2-for-3.

Archbishop Mitty-San Jose 6, Granada 0
Granada 000Ø000Ø0 — 0 1 1
Mitty 003Ø021Øx — 6 10 0
Beerman and Neal. K. Ricketts and Rangieh. W: K. Ricketts. L: Beerman. Records: Granada 7-1,  Mitty 4-1-1. Highlights: M — Ricketts 15 strikeouts.
Castro Valley 5, Analy-Sebastopol 0 (6)
Castro Valley 130Ø100 — 5 8 0
Analy 000Ø000 — 0 1 0
Lemmon and Ammerman. Petersen and Natale. W: Lemmon. L: Petersen. HR: Sanchez (CV). Record: Castro Valley 5-3. Highlights: CV — Lemmon 15 strikeouts.

Notre Dame-Belmont 3, Deer Valley 0
Notre Dame 100Ø020Ø0 — 3 4 1
Deer Valley 000Ø000Ø0 — 0 2 3
Holden and Palermo. Allard and Martinez. W: Holden. L: Allard (3-1). 3B: Jepsen (ND). Record: Deer Valley 5-1. Highlights: ND — Jepsen 2-for-4, 2 runs; Holden CG, 2 hits, 15 strikeouts. DV — Allard 1-for-3.

Deer Valley 3, Monte Vista 0
Deer Valley 030Ø000Ø0 — 3 7 2
Monte Vista 000Ø000Ø0 — 0 4 2
Allard and Martinez. Day and Swinnerton. W: Allard (4-1). L: Day. 3B: Allard (DV). Records: Deer Valley 6-1, Monte Vista 3-4. Highlights: DV — Allard CG, 5 strikeouts, 3-for-4, 2 SB, 3 RBI. MV — Venturi 2-for-3, HBP; Kuemmuler 1-for-2, walk; Day CG, 2 ER, 9 strikeouts.

Granada 2, College Park 1
College Park 000Ø000Ø1 — 1 3 1
Granada 000Ø020Øx — 2 6 0
Fairclough and Coloma. Beerman and Neal. W: Beerman (7-1). L: Fairclough (2-1). 2B: Ragusa (G). 3B: Head (G), Kennealy (CP). Records: Granada 8-1, College Park 5-1. Highlights: G — Head 1-for-2, walk, 2 RBI; Miller 1-for-2, 2 walks, run; Ragusa 1-for-3, run; Beerman CG, 3 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts. CP — Kennealy 1-for-3, run; Ballard 1-for-3, RBI; Fairclough CG, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts.

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Softball East Bay Super Poll

Team Record Pts Last week
1. Freedom (10) 8-1 150 1
2. Granada 7-0 140 2
3. Deer Valley 7-0 126 5
4. California 7-1 119 4
5. Foothill 4-3 109 3
6. Castro Valley 3-2 101 6
7. James Logan 11-2 89 8
8. College Park 5-0 80 9
9. Berkeley 6-2 55 12
10. Amador Valley 5-1 50 11
11. San Ramon Valley 5-3 44 7
12. Livermore 3-2 36 13
13. Alameda 4-2 31 10
14. Albany 8-1 29 14
15. Bishop O’Dowd 8-0 26 NR

Others receiving votes:  Concord (5-4) 10, Heritage (4-3) 1, Pinole Valley (4-2) 1.

Note: This poll is compiled for games through March 22 only.

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Baseball East Bay Super Poll

Team Record Pts Last week
1. Livermore (7) 8-1 147 2
2. San Ramon Valley (3) 6-1 139 3
3. St. Mary’s 6-0 128 4
4. Monte Vista 7-1 119 5
5. De La Salle 4-2 109 1
6. Foothill 8-0-1 108 7
7. Alameda 4-2 87 9
8. Miramonte 5-2 71 11
9. Clayton Valley 5-4 54 6
10. Albany 7-2 50 8
11. Arroyo 5-2 48 15t
12. Pinole Valley 5-2-1 42 13
13. Newark Memorial 8-3 29 NR
14. Alhambra 7-1 25 NR
15.Irvington 7-4 18 10

Others receiving votes: Piedmont (5-2) 9, Berkeley (5-4) 6, Northgate (6-1) 6, Amador Valley (4-3) 2, California (4-3) 1, College Park (3-3) 1, Skyline (7-2) 1.

Note: This poll is compiled for games through March 22 only.

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Livermore Stampede Preview

On Thursday, the Livermore Stampede kicks off in Livermore at Ernie Rodrigues Field at Robertson Park. I’ve talked a ton of local coaches in the last few days and they all seem to say the same thing: we’ll learn a lot about our team this weekend. I agree with most of them but for some, we know a good deal already.

To me, this will be a chance for the best teams in the area to prove themselves against some of the best teams in the state. Sheldon-Sacramento has spent much of the year ranked No. 3 in the country by various publications and even after a 1-0 loss to a team from Florida, the general consensus is Sheldon is still the team to beat at this year’s Stampede.

Another big time team coming to town is Notre Dame-Belmont and it should have some serious motivation after losing an extra inning game against Foothill last week.  The Falcons will be in the house as well and they’re always dangerous.

The big thing I’ll be looking for this week is how the top teams like Freedom and Granada stack up in such a big-time tournament. Both of those teams, College Park, Deer Valley, Castro Valley and Foothill have a clear goal: survive pool play. If they make it to Saturday’s semifinals, anything is possible.

Also, look for a spoiler to emerge. Could it be Livermore? Maybe Piedmont? We’ll find out. Anyway, get out to Livermore on Thursday for some softball. I’ll be there to take in a few games. Also, keep your eye out for the Geeks this week as we’ll preview the tournament.

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Blue collar volleyball for the Jets-set

Some years ago, a volleyball publication ran a story about the sport’s appeal as an after-work activity for urban factory workers in the early decades of the 20th century.

Fast forward to the present, and high school boys volleyball is a hit-and-miss proposition throughout Northern California. Yeah, some large-enrollment schools – - especially well-heeled ones – - can dominate their leagues. Some players here and there even get college scholarships. The Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League, however, is more a throwback to volleyball’s blue-collar roots. While the ACCAL might not produce many – - if any – - Division I college players, many of the games will please the average fan.

Encinal High School’s island derby with crosstown archrival Alameda at the Hornets Nest on March 20 serves as a case in point. Encinal won 25-12, 25-20, 25-12; and true, Alameda was short four players, including a starting setter and hitter, who sat out for undisclosed reasons. But that’s not to take away from Encinal’s effort. There was flow. There was style. There was synergy. There was enthusiasm. And there was a distinct feel for the game among the experienced Jets, who have 10 seniors on their roster. Oh, and the Jets’ Hawaiian floral-print trunks add a sense of fashion, too.

Volleyball is a second sport for a lot of guys. Often, teams reflect this reality. Encinal middle hitter Jason Silsdorf offers a refreshing exception. An All-ACCAL basketball player as Encinal’s center in the winter, Silsdorf looks very much at ease in the middle of volleyball coach Chris Bautista’s frontcourt. The senior is not a bad server, either. Could it be that Silsdorf actually is a volleyball player who doubles as a basketball player?

Volleyball, of course, is a team game, and the Jets are not only about one player. Fact is, frontline play is an overall team strength. Aaron Wang (a match-high 11 kills against Alameda) and Ryan Perdiguerra would be welcome additions to most any team. And Kamaka Baculpo brings an added presence off the bench.

As for setting, Steve North gave 16 assists against the Hornets. And libero Mervin Arquero was a strong presence in the back row, as were Melvin Arquero and Francisco Cano.

Encinal’s primary team color is blue. Fittingly, the Jets are a throwback to blue-collar volleyball.  And if one match tells a story, such a level and style of play are pretty darn good. Division I prospects or not, it’s volleyball well worth seeing.

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The state champion Vikings could be coming

The St. Mary’s high school boys basketball team may not have to wait three years to get another shot at state champion Campbell Hall-North Hollywood. Preliminary talks are under way to invite Campbell Hall up in either December or January to play in a two-day, four-team invite. The Vikings would  play against Salesian one night and St. Mary’s the following night. The fourth team in the mix right now sounds like Oakland.

Campbell Hall beat St. Mary’s 83-61 in the Division IV state title game on March 14. The Vikings also beat St. Mary’s 74-53 in the Division IV state title game in 2005. Campbell Hall also beat Salesian that year 60-51 on Jan. 22, 2005.

Campbell Hall loses Jrue Holiday to UCLA but returns freshman point guard Austin McBroom, who scored a career-high 30 points in the state championship win. Salesian has junior forward Desmond Simmons and guard Jabari Brown returning, and St. Mary’s returns UC Santa Barbara-bound Chris Brew, San Jose State-bound Aalim Moor and sophomore twins Dominique and Demetrius Lee.

 Stay tuned.