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BSAL Softball

Alright, I’m working at our West County office in Richmond tonight so I wanted to talk a little Bay Shore Athletic League softball.

For starters, Albany won the big game of the day, beating St. Patrick-St. Vincent 4-3 to pull off a road win and move into sole possession of first place in the league. Sara Muse picked up the win for the Cougars and let me tell you something, I haven’t missed how good this team could be. I would not be surprised to see the Cougs take a run at the NCS 2A title later this year.

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Softball’s day of upheaval

Did anyone pick up today’s paper and gasp when you saw the EBAL softball scores? Well if you did, let me tell you that you’re not alone. The league season got off to a rousing start with Foothill beating Cal 4-0, Amador Valley eeking out an 8-7 win over San Ramon Valley in 11 innings and Monte Vista (yes, Monte Vista) beating Granada 6-0.

I was on hand in San Ramon to watch Foothill beat Cal and I think a couple of factors played in favor of the Falcons. First, pitcher Keri Ball was on fire in the circle. Second, Foothill executed and California didn’t, plain and simple. Actually this game was about as straightforward as a 4-0 game can be. I think Cal will bounce back fine but the Grizzlies will have to put forth a better effort if they want to beat Foothill the second time they meet.

As for the Monte Vista win over Granada, don’t be so shocked. Yes, I was the one who predicted Monte Vista to finish last in the EBAL. If I could run a disclaimer with those predictions, I would. The difference between No. 1 and No. 7 in the league race this year is as finite as it comes and the Mustangs showed that. I saw Monte Vista at the Livermore Stampede and in the game I saw, a 3-0 loss to Deer Valley, the Mustangs only played one bad inning. Kylie Day is going to be a good, good pitcher as she gets more innings and Kellee Venturi can flat out swing the bat.

The long and short of yesterday’s action is this: expect the unexpected. This kind of thing is going to happen all year long and yesterday was simply the tip of the iceberg.

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A stigma in the making?

Recently, I asked my 11-year-old son if he would consider joining a sand volleyball team for boys. Since volleyball was a fun part of high school PE classes for dad some years earlier, I figured he might find it fun, too.

My son’s response? “Volleyball is for girls.”

Try as I might, talking to him about the great Karch Kiraly and all of the stars of the U.S. men’s indoor gold medal Olympic volleyball teams of 1984 and 1988, I could not convince him otherwise. Unfortunately, I could not blame him for his attitude toward the game.

Take a look around. Not so much at the worldwide view of the game, but at what happens right in front of our noses. In my grade school days, the girls played volleyball in one part of the playground while the boys played either touch football, wiffle ball or kickball in another. Never the twain shall meet.

To the present day, California high schools have state championship playoffs for girls in the fall, but none for boys in the spring. And at some high schools, unfortunately, few seem to care much about the boys version of the sport.

Back to the worldwide view, volleyball in its various forms is popular among both genders. Heck, in Brazil there’s a form of the game called futvolley (or futevolei, if you happen to be visiting there). It blends soccer and volleyball as players attempt to play the ball with any part of the body except the hands (which goes a long way in explaining why Brazilians are so good at both sports). But in other parts of the world, sadly - – including some schools and neighborhoods nearby – - old stereotypes persist.

For comparison, field hockey had a 72-year head start as an Olympic men’s sport before the inaugural women’s competition in 1980. But this country has long went against the international grain, as the game has long been considered a “girls’ sport” here.

Will volleyball fall into the same trap? Like field hockey, it’s too good a sport to get stereotyped. Unfortunately, though, it’s very easy for a volleyball-for-all proponent to feel like a voice in the wilderness.

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Baseball Poll

Team Record Pts Last week
1. Livermore (10) 10-1 150 1
2. San Ramon Valley 7-3 133 2
3. Monte Vista 8-2 131 4
4. St. Mary’s 7-3 122 3
5. Foothill 9-1-1 110 6
6. Alameda 6-3 93 7
7. Miramonte 8-2 88 8
8. De La Salle 5-4 74 5
9. Alhambra 9-1 60 14
10. Arroyo 6-3 57 11
11. Newark Memorial 10-3 52 13
12. Pinole Valley 7-2-1 49 12
13. Irvington 9-4 36 15
14. Clayton Valley 6-5 24 9
15. Albany 7-4 5 10

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

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