Magical season opening series as Cats sweep Oaks

 

The sample size is small but the early returns point to an exciting and fruitful 2016 Chico State Wildcat baseball season. Behind two walk-off wins and improbable comeback from six runs down the Wildcats served notice that the 2015 season appears to be an aberration, a mere blip on the screen in their storied and historic run.

After Friday’s 1-0 walk-off win over a very good Menlo College squad the Wildcats were pushed to the limit on Saturday in the first game of a double-header. Menlo jumped on the Cats early and often in the first game scoring two runs in the first and 5 more in the second. Chico found themselves down 7-1 in the 2nd. By the fifth it was 9-3, and the deficit seemed insurmountable in the 7th after Cal Berkeley transfer Lucas Erceg slugged a home run to right giving Menlo a 10-4 lead in the 7th.

With hope waning Chico State summed up some old Nettleton Stadium magic. The Cats would score two in the 7th and then four runs with two outs in the 8th highlighted by a Josh Falco bases clearing double to tie the game at 10. The game almost slipped away in the top of the 9th after a one out error allowed the Oaks to grab an 11-10 lead. Chico had the tying run on third with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the 9th, only to have Erceg air-mail a 1-2 pitch to the back-stop allowing the tying run to score.

In the bottom of the 10th, after a single and two walks, the Wildcats Dillon Kelley would hit a ground ball in the hole, Menlo got the force at second but the return throw to first was late setting off a wild celebration and improbable 12-11 win.

The Chico State Wildcats would win the night-cap 8-1 finishing off a fantastic weekend for the Wildcats.

In 2015 the Wildcats finished under .500 for the first time in 21 years. The autopsy from the disappointing season revealed that the Wildcats were lacking some key components that leads to success between the lines.

First, the Cats had virtually an entire roster that under-achieved from their 2014 West Region Championship. Second, the club lacked the necessary depth to withstand pro-longed slumps from key players.  And lastly, the Wildcats needed to canvass their squad with players that mimicked the teams of Wildcats’ past. Chico State baseball isn’t about playing perfect baseball. Wildcat baseball is about playing the game with a laser like focus and belief that you will somehow find a way if you “GRIND” it out. Grinders…..Chico State had lost that identifier in the 2015 season. On the recruiting trail, the Cats needed to find a bunch of players that would throw caution to the wind and play the game with a joy, fervor, passion and belief that made us all believers again

As I said, it’s the smallest of sample sizes. It’s a long season, there will be highs and invariably there will be lows, but when a group of players are all pulling in the same direction and play with passion and selflessness good things happen. This weekend showed the Wildcat faithful that is all is well in Wildcat Land. They showed us……..

That it’s OK to believe again.

*PHOTO AND VIDEO COURTESY OF CHICO STATE ATHLETICS AT CHICOWILDCATS.COM

Is this Peyton’s last rodeo

By. Michael Vislosky

When everybody counted out Peyton Manning this year, when the article came out saying he may have done HGH, when he missed six games because of injury, he may have been the only one that knew he was not going out like that. His family has admitted they didn’t know what was going to happen. When you have had as much success and are arguably one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, what do you have to prove?

I am rooting for the Broncos to win this SuperBowl. As a Jets fan, I am of course tired of seeing Brady win, that I can not deny, but I am also tired of people not giving Peyton his credit. Yes he has not been terrific in the playoffs, but did he ever really have a great defense in Indianapolis? Yes they had big names, and Bob Sanders did win a defensive player of the year award, but really look at that defense overall. Then look at the one the Broncos had two years ago. The reason why this Broncos defense is as good as it is, is because they knew the defense was the missing link.

The Broncos do have a tall task that’s not even a question, but it can be done. The video came out after the AFC Championship with Manning telling Bill Belicheck that this may in fact be his last rodeo, and it should be. He has shown the heart to fight and come back to lead his team. No offense to Brock Oswiller, but the Broncos would not have been here if he was the quarterback. Brock has a chance to be a great quarterback, but he was not fully ready yet. The Broncos needed one man for this, and Peyton was that man.

I believe in my heart that this it for Peyton, and I believe that his teammates sense that, and that might be the extra motivation needed to get the job done. To say one day that you were on the team that helped win Peyton Manning his second SuperBowl, that would sure be a life moment for me. John Elway went out winning two SuperBowls, and now he will have a chance to watch a quarterback try to walk off into the sunset like he did with his team.

On Purpose or Accident

By. Michael Vislosky

Last night in an NHL game between the Calgary Flames and the Nashville Predators, defensemen Dennis Wideman cross checked referee Don Henderson to the ground on what looks like a purposeful act. At first glance it looks like its a sure thing that he hit the referee on purpose, but many analyst and some hockey executives believe his story that he did not see the referee until the last minute. You be the judge…

Dubs dismantle Spurs; move to 41-4

(AP) — Stephen Curry scored 37 points and hit six 3-pointers in three quarters as the reigning champion Golden State Warriors showed they still rule the West by routing the San Antonio Spurs 120-90 on Monday night.

Curry had 15 points in the opening quarter and shot 12 for 20 in Golden State’s 39th straight home win at raucous Oracle Arena, where a star-studded sellout crowd saw a lopsided showdown in what was billed as a potential Western Conference finals preview.

The Warriors (41-4) snapped a 13-game winning streak by the Spurs (38-7), off to the best start in franchise history but without Tim Duncan this time. The teams had the highest combined winning percentage in NBA history by opponents meeting at least 40 games into the season.

(AP) — DeMarcus Cousins set a Sacramento record with 56 points, most by an NBA player this season, but the Charlotte Hornets beat the Kings 129-128 in double overtime Monday night after Troy Daniels hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 9 seconds left.

Daniels made eight 3s and scored a career-high 28 points, enough to help the Hornets overcome a dominant performance down low by Cousins. The All-Star center grabbed 12 rebounds before fouling out early in the second overtime. He surpassed his career best of 48 points set in the previous game, Saturday’s victory over Indiana.

Cousins broke Chris Webber’s mark of 51 points for a Sacramento team, also in an overtime game.

Kemba Walker scored 24 points for the Hornets, who won their third straight. Marvin Williams had 21 points and fouled out in the first overtime.

Jeremy Lin added 20 points and 11 assists. Spencer Hawes scored a season-high 18 and fouled out late in regulation.

 

Hall of Famer Pat Gillick on the BitOBaca Show……

We had a chance to talk to Hall of Famer, Butte County native and co-owner of the Chico Heat Pat Gillick today. We chat about the return of summer baseball to Chico, plus his continuing work with the Philadelphia Phillies in trying to rebuild their organization……

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*header photo courtesy of the Chico Orion*

 

Denver and Carolina head to Santa Clara for Super Bowl 50

(AP) — Super Bowl 50 is set. The Denver Broncos have reached the title game for the second time in three years, and the eighth time in franchise history. They will take on the Carolina Panthers, who will make their second Super Bowl appearance and first in 12 years

The Broncos captured the AFC championship game as Peyton Manning threw a pair of TD passes to Owen Daniels while in the first half of a 20-18 win over the New England Patriots. Manning completed 17 of his 32 passes for 176 yards and no interceptions.

Brian McManus hit two field goals, a 52-yarder with 33 seconds remaining in the first half and a 31-yard kick that gave Denver a 20-12 lead with about 10 minutes left. C.J. Anderson had 72 yards on 16 carries for the Broncos, who have tied Pittsburgh, Dallas and New England for most Super Bowl appearances.

It was the fifth time Manning and Tom Brady have locked horns in the AFC title game. Manning now has a 3-2 edge in those battles.

The Broncos’ defense hounded Brady all afternoon, recording four sacks and knocking him down 14 times. Denver linebacker Von Miller was one of the stars of the game, recording 2 ½ sacks and one interception.

Brady completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes, hitting on 27 of 56 for 310 yards, one TD and two interceptions.

However, Brady converted a pair of fourth-down plays on the Patriots’ final drive, including a four-yard TD pass to Rob Gronkowski on fourth-and-goal with 12 seconds left. The Patriots would have tied the game with a successful two-point conversion, but Brady’s pass was tipped by Aqib Talib (ah-KEEB tah-LEEB’) and intercepted by Bradley Roby. The Pats had to go for two after Stephen Gostkowski missed an extra-point try following Steven Jackson’s one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

The NFC Championship game was a total blowout as Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others in the Panthers’ 49-15 laugher against Arizona. Newton was 19 of 28 for 335 yards through the air, including an 86-yard scoring pass to Corey Brown in the first quarter. Newton’s five-yard TD toss to Devin Funchess in the fourth quarter iced the victory.

Ted Ginn had a 22-yard TD run and Luke Kuechly (KEEK’-lee) capped the scoring by returning Carson Palmer’s fourth interception 22 yards. Brown and Greg Olsen each finished with 113 yards receiving.

The Panthers held the Cardinals to 287 total yards. Palmer was 23 of 40 for 235 yards, one touchdown and six turnovers, including a pair of fumbles.

The Super Bowl is slated for Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, Calif. The Panthers are the early four-point favorite.

(AP) — In the San Francisco Bay Area, where high housing costs are notorious, residents looking to make a quick buck are offering to rent their homes at super-sized prices to the 1 million visitors expected for Super Bowl 50 festivities.

There’s a luxury 8,500-square-foot home in San Jose, California, listed for $10,000 a night. A four-bedroom apartment near San Francisco’s “Super Bowl City” is listed at $1,495 a night, with a minimum six night stay.

And let’s not forget a treehouse for two in a 150-year-old oak tree a half hour drive from downtown San Francisco. It’s listed at $495 a night.

Whether customers will pay such prices is uncertain, even in an area where hotel rooms are limited for the week-long extravaganza with festivities in San Francisco culminating Feb. 7, when the Denver Broncos square off against the Carolina Panthers.

The Wonderful Side of Sports

By. Michael Vislosky

A couple of weeks ago I found a video of tennis player Jack Sock telling his competitor that the referee made the wrong call in their match and that he should challenge the call so he received the point that he deserved. Last night I saw this gem where a ball girl at the first tennis major of the year, The Australian Open seemed to be injured and Frenchmen and Top 10 player Jo Wilfred Tsonga did this…

 

Dubs dismantle Cavaliers in Finals rematch

(AP) — The Golden State Warriors bounced back from their ugly, blowout loss in Detroit by completing a two-game season sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Stephen (STEH’-fehn) Curry nailed seven 3-pointers and scored 35 points before sitting out the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 132-98 pounding of the Cavs in Cleveland. Curry’s final trey put Golden State up by 40 late in the third quarter, and the lead stretched to 43 before the Cavaliers avoided the worst home loss in team history. Curry says it was a great bounceback win for the Dubs….

Andre Iguodala (ihg-ah-DAH’-lah) finished with 20 points for the Warriors, who held LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to a total of 27 points on 11 of 32 shooting. James scored 16 points, Irving had eight and Love delivered just three.

The Warriors improved to an NBA-best 38-4 as they try to win their second straight title. They top the Western Conference by two games over San Antonio.

Also in the NBA:

— The Hornets had dropped nine of their previous 10 games before Kemba Walker poured in a franchise-record 52 points in a 124-119 win over Utah in double overtime. Walker shot 16-for-34 from the field, including six of his 11 3-point tries. He also was 14 of 15 from the line in breaking the previous team mark of 48 points, set by Glen Rice in March 1997.

— The Los Angeles Clippers squandered a 12-point lead over the last three minutes of regulation before Jamal Crawford, J.R. Redick and Chris Paul drained consecutive 3-pointers in a 140-132 overtime win against Houston. Redick shot 9-for-12 from beyond the arc and finished with 40 points in the Clippers’ 10th victory in 11 games.

— Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points and Deron Williams added 10 of his 20 points in overtime to push Dallas past Boston 118-113. Nowitzki contributed 14 points in the final period and seven in OT after the Mavericks blew a 17-point, first-half lead.

— Chicago knocked off Detroit 111-101 behind Pau Gasol’s (pow gah-SAHLZ’) 31 points and 12 boards. Derrick Rose had 20 points for the Bulls, who dominated after falling behind by 13 in the first quarter.

— Marc Gasol (gah-SAHL’) had 16 points and 10 rebounds in the Grizzlies’ third straight win, 101-99 over New Orleans at Memphis. Matt Barnes, Jeff Green and Courtney Lee also had 16 points apiece for the Grizzlies, who trailed 80-75 before putting together a 10-1 run.

— Kyle Lowry hit for 31 points and DeMar DeRozan added 30 as Toronto beat Brooklyn 112-100. Lowry hit three of his seven 3-pointers while scoring 13 points in the third period to help the Raptors tie a season high with their fifth consecutive win.

— Al Horford scored 15 points and Jeff Teague (teeg) had 14 in Atlanta’s second straight win, 98-81 over Orlando. Paul Millsap had 13 points and 12 rebounds as the Hawks dealt the Magic their seventh loss in eight games.

— C.J. McCollum dropped in 25 points and Damian Lillard had 16 in Portland’s 108-98 win at Washington. The Trail Blazers blew a 17-point, first-half lead and trailed in the third quarter before responding with a 23-1 run.

— Carmelo Anthony drained a tying 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left in regulation before finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in New York’s double-overtime win against Philadelphia, 119-113. Arron Afflalo led the Knicks with 25 points, and rookie Kristaps Porzingis (KRIS’-tahps pohr-ZIHN’-gihs) delivered 16 points and 12 boards before sitting out the overtimes because of an injured right foot.