Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Freshman throws perfect game for Antioch High Varsity Softball

Friday, April 3rd, 2015
Ayanna Sanchez winds up 682x1024 Freshman throws perfect game for Antioch High Varsity Softball

Antioch High pitcher Ayanna Sanchez winds up on her way to a perfect game. Photo by Michael Pohl

By Luke Johnson

Ayanna Sanchez, a freshman on Antioch High School’s varsity softball team, pitched the second perfect game in school history Thursday, March 19, in a 10-0 victory against Dublin. The other perfect game occurrence at Antioch was in 2001 from Melissa Baugh according to coach Nick Wisely.

Sanchez, who has been playing softball since she was 5 years old, is no stranger to throwing perfect games. She has done so on two separate occasions, both coming last year on her travel ball team.

My defense had my back the entire game,” Sanchez said. “Without them, I would not have been able to throw a perfect game… I am proud to be playing for Antioch!”

Two plays that really set the tone of the game defensively came from senior Ciara Whitesell in centerfield. She made two over the shoulder catches in the right centerfield gap running in full stride. Sanchez struck out five batters in the contest, and after the Panthers went up 10-0 in the bottom of the fifth in the game was called due to mercy rule.

Throughout the season, Sanchez has an ERA of 2.90 and has 41 strikeouts in 41 innings pitched. She is not only lethal on the mound, but also has a strong skillset offensively. She is batting .414, third best on the team behind senior shortstop Natalie Larsen (.474) and junior third baseman Julia Odom (.455), and has scored the most runs on the team with 10 through eight games.

Something unique about Sanchez is that she is not even a student Antioch High School. She attends Dozier-Libbey Medical High School, which has not been known for producing great athletes since its establishment in 2008.

The Panthers have been a little shaky as a team this season. They blew out Kennedy (Richmond), 32-0, in the season opener, but after that they lost three straight, getting shutout in the latter two. Now the team is red hot and currently possesses a four-game winning streak. In the past three games they have outscored their opponents 40-4. At 5-3 overall, the Panthers have the second best record in the Bay Valley Athletic League and will begin league play on April 14.  

Heritage is the team to beat for sure,” Wisely said in regards to contending for BVAL Championship, “But after that I think it is wide open… Every team is a possible playoff team, and anybody can beat anybody any given day. If we play the right ball, we can win day in and day out.”

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Warriors celebrate 40th anniversary of NBA Championship, players reunite

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015
Warriors 74 75 Team photo Warriors celebrate 40th anniversary of NBA Championship, players reunite

Head coach Alvin Attles, Clifford Ray, Jeff Mullins, Charles Johnson, Rick Barry, George Johnson, Jamaal Wilkes, Butch Beard and Assistant Coach Joe Roberts pose with their 1974-75 championship trophy.  Photo by Z’ma Wyatt

By F.D. Purcell

The banners that hang high in the raptors of Oracle Arena for the players, teams and coach who’ve made contributions during their Philadelphia years and since their relocation to the Bay Area in 1962.

May 25th will mark 40-years since Golden State won their last NBA Championship. Comprised of a deep bench and players led by Hall of Famers such as Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes the Warriors finished with a 48-34 record finishing 1st in the Pacific Division.

“It was a fantasy year, said Barry the MVP of Game 4, we never quit and we never gave up. We were the deepest team in the NBA, a Cinderella team.”

He’s correct, the Warriors weren’t the favorite to win and certainly weren’t expected to sweep the then Washington Bullets in Washington especially after Bullets forward Mike Riordan attempted to get into the head of star player Rick Barry in the final game but instead it would be head coach Alvin Attles who would be ejected in the first quarter for standing up for Barry. Golden State scrapped their way to a 96-95 victory, their first and last championship since that date.

Fast-forward 40-years later, a little more gray and some no longer with us a handful of those team members graced Oracle Arena with their presence and it was as though they hadn’t missed a beat. Butch Beard, George Johnson, Rick Barry, Clifford Ray, Jeff Mullins, assistant coach Joe Roberts, Jamaal Wilkes and head coach Alvin Attles were some of those present on Monday.

There were lots of laughs and Barry was in his usual dominate form taking over questions and choosing the longer route when answering questions and everyone else’s; however, he also gave much deserved credit when it came to his former teammates and coaches.

The press room was packed as new media blended with old, times when you couldn’t live tweet and watched the game on tape delay. Those in attendance sat on the edge of their seats marinating on every word from the championship team and each vivid detail from flying coach and the sometimes disgusting habits of teammates and legendary announcer Bill King. It was refreshing to hear raw honesty minus the direction of a spin doctor.

“I’m appreciative to the Warriors for bringing us all together. I’m excited to see everyone including the late Phil Smith’s kids,” said 1975 Rookie of the Year Jamaal Wilkes, then known as ‘Keith.’ “It’s very moving and touching.”

A heartfelt ceremony was held before the second quarter honoring the championship team and the sellout crowd of 15,595 gave a rousing standing ovation as former center Clifford Ray, known on the court as a menacing figure, fought back tears.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr chose not to discuss any plays during the timeout instead opting to allow his team to soak in the ceremony. Afterwards Kerr said how special it was to have the championship team speak with his guys after their 107-76 victory over the Wizards.

“It’s just good encouragement for the mission that we’re on this year. I think there is something special about it being their 40th anniversary of winning the championship,” said center Marreese Speights, who finished the game with 16 points. “Having them all here gives us a visual of where we want to be. I think it’s a good motivation for the last part of this regular season and then once we get to the playoffs.”

Golden State will return for one game on Thursday, April 2nd versus the Phoenix Suns after their four-game road trip. They will head on the road again for a three-game road trip that includes Dallas, San Antonio and New Orleans.

They will host their final four games at home: Portland, Minnesota, Memphis and finish their regular season versus the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, April 15th.

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World of Outlaws sprint car races at Antioch Speedway Sunday night

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Antioch Speedway 3 29 15 World of Outlaws sprint car races at Antioch Speedway Sunday night

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Antioch middle schools hold soccer tournament finals on Saturday, March 21

Friday, March 20th, 2015

AUSD Soccer Tournament Flyer 670x1024 Antioch middle schools hold soccer tournament finals on Saturday, March 21

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Delta Baseball and Softball League donates over $10,000 to local schools

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

By Rick Hilton, Administrative VP, Delta Baseball & Softball League

Local youth sports organization, The Delta Baseball & Softball League (DBSL), announced recently, its donation of over $3,150 to East Contra Costa County schools.  The donations will be made through a special DBSL program called, “Delta Goes to Bat for Schools” and this isn’t the first time this youth sports league has donated money to local schools.

Starting in 2012, the program has provided much-needed donations that give schools and their PTAs/PTOs additional resources.  With the latest announcement, Delta Goes to Bat for Schools reached a significant milestone – over $10,000 in donations to local schools.

The Delta Goes to Bat for Schools program began at a late night board meeting in the Spring of 2012.  Due to an unanticipated influx of new sponsorship dollars and an enrollment 5% higher than budgeted for, DBSL found itself with a slight budget surplus.

Several alternatives were batted around, but the league eventually settled on their local schools as the place where a few hundred dollars might have the greatest impact, both practically and symbolically for the kids in the league.  

From this initial budget overage, they developed the Delta Goes to Bat for Schools program, making it a part of the league’s priorities.  Now a percentage of the fees families pay to play in the Delta Baseball & Softball League are donated back to the school that the players attend, bringing tangible benefits to students beyond the DBSL.  Board member David Chuey explains the nexus between youth sports and schools, “sports in general and team sports specifically teach kids things like communication, teamwork, good sportsmanship, and responsibility – all qualities that aid in their overall physical and educational development”.  

The success of the program has inspired DBSL to go beyond donations.  In addition to over $10,000 in direct cash contributions, DBSL partners with local schools to assist with carnivals and fairs, field day activities, and a wide variety of fundraising events, all focused on increasing the opportunities for local students to grow and develop their mind and bodies through better access to athletic programs. 

This year’s donation of $3,150 will go to public, charter, and private schools in Antioch, Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, Oakley, and Pittsburg.  Representatives from five schools – Sutter Elementary, John Mir Elementary, Lone Tree Elementary, Orchard Park K-8 School, and Holy Rosary Catholic School – have been invited to the league’s Opening Day at Freedom High School on March 21, 2015 as honored guests.  The league will present checks to each of the represented schools as a part of their opening day ceremony.

Matthew Wright, the League President in the inaugural year of Delta Goes to Bat stated “As an idea that was kind of stumbled upon towards the end of a long night of league meetings, Delta Goes to Bat ended up being one of the best things we did as a board of directors that year.  It’s great to see that the leadership of the Delta Baseball & Softball League continues to make it a priority to support our local schools through this program.”

League President Mark Foley does indeed continue the commitment started by 2012 Board of Directors.  “The Delta Goes to Bat program has become fundamental to DBSL and is high on my list of priorities for the league,” Foley said.  “This program, along with our C.H.A.M.P. Buddies Program, exemplifies the spirit of community service and involvement we hope as a league to instill in our young players.”

The Delta Baseball and Softball League, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was founded in 1984 as the Delta Peanut League by a group of like-minded parents seeking an alternative to the high pressure, high intensity youth sports leagues available at the time.  Starting with 6-8 year old players the league has grown to include children from age 4 to 13, and today continues the non-competitive legacy and vision of the league founders, and competitive divisions playing under the banner of Cal Ripken Baseball and Babe Ruth Softball.  In 2007, the league added a division for differently-abled children, the C.H.A.M.P. division (formerly FREEDOM division) where physically or mentally challenged children learn and play baseball free of charge alongside all of the other children in the league.

To learn more about the Delta Baseball & Softball League please visit www.deltabaseballleague.com or www.facebook.com/DeltaBaseballandSoftballLeague.

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Fun golf leagues forming at Lone Tree Golf Course

Monday, March 16th, 2015

What: 6 week golf league at Lone Tree Golf Course

When: Your choice of afternoon each week (ie. Monday Teachers’ League); Start generally between 4 – 5:30 PM

Cost: $120 up front per person

Includes: 9 holes of golf with cart, prize fund, after play simple appetizer

Other: Lone Tree staff will organize different format of play each week to keep fun & interesting. All levels of players welcome. Closest to the pin each week also.

·League can be customized. Number of weeks, start times, skip week if need.

·Lone Tree can create online sign up to make easy!

·Start can be consecutive tee times or Shotgun start.

·Various week nights available.

· # of total weeks 5 min, 16 max ($20 per week per person)

·Min # of players 12; Maximum: 68

·Just grab some friends and Lone Tree Golf staff will help you coordinate it.

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Antioch High’s Damani Jackson-Wright is an inspiration on and off the court

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
aheralddamani 2 682x1024 Antioch High’s Damani Jackson Wright is an inspiration on and off the court

Damani Jackson-Wright drives down the court. By Michael Pohl.

By Luke Johnson

Not many 17-year-olds can say they inspire nearly everyone they encounter. But that is the case for Antioch High School senior Damani Jackson-Wright.

Damani is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and without his presence at practice, the intensity we have now wouldn’t be the same!” Antioch shooting guard Victor Anguiano exclaimed. “He doesn’t affect every single kid directly, but he motivates others, especially me.”

What makes him a unique athlete for varsity basketball and track is that Jackson-Wright has an extremely rare birth defect called Meromelia, leaving him without a left hand and forearm.

When basketball coach Andrew Riva met Jackson-Wright, he was skeptical initially, but that changed quickly.

I thought to myself, ‘How is this gonna work?’” Riva said. “But it took all of about five minutes for me to realize it was going to work.”

Jackson-Wright played just about every sport growing up, and has always been a huge video gamer He uses the end of his left arm, which he refers to as “the nub,” to stir the analog stick, and will use his left knee to tap the left trigger button on the back of the controller.

But it was not all fun and games for Jackson-Wright as he matured, because other kids would sometimes pick on him for his disability.

Growing up he always got made fun of,” his cousin Cameron Schmidt said, who is a senior on Deer Valley High’s basketball team. “I felt like it was my responsibility and the rest of the families’ responsibility to stick up for him. But now, he has learned to stick up for himself. He shrugs it off and is really strong about it now, but growing up it was kind of hard.”

Jackson-Wright’s has been on the varsity basketball team for two seasons, and has been competing in varsity track since his freshman year. Schmidt, along with teammates and coaches, added that Jackson-Wright made these teams from strictly merit and not out of pity.

His role on the team is not one with a lot of playing time, but still serves significant value and requires leadership. When given the opportunity, the 5-foot-6 guard has proven why he deserves to be on the hardwood by draining multiple contested three-pointers.

He also had an assist that was featured on Cal-Hi Sports’ Top Plays of the Week last month.

Without him, we wouldn’t have the record we have now, that’s for sure,” Anguiano said about the Panthers who are playoff bound for the first time in four years.

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Warriors to host Nothing But Nets Day March 8 to fight malaria

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

image002 1024x124 Warriors to host Nothing But Nets Day March 8 to fight malaria

Stephen Curry to host postgame Chalk Talk with fans following matinee game versus Clippers

OAKLAND, CA – The Golden State Warriors are hosting Nothing But Nets Day on Sunday, March 8, against the Los Angeles Clippers at Oracle Arena (12:30 p.m.), the team announced today. For every special event ticket purchased for this game, the Warriors will donate a life-saving insecticide-treated bednet to the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign. Fans interested in purchasing the special event tickets can do so by visiting warriors.com/nothingbutnets.

Warriors guard and Nothing But Nets Champion Stephen Curry will host a unique postgame chalk talk with fans who purchased a special event ticket. For the third season in a row, Curry is holding his Three for Three Challenge and donating three life-saving bednets to Nothing But Nets for every three-pointer he makes during the 2014-15 season. The Warriors are once again matching Curry’s donation up to $5,000. Over the past two seasons, Curry and the Warriors have donated a combined 2,382 nets to help protect families in Africa from malaria.

Before the game, Nothing But Nets Director Chris Helfrich will be on hand to present an award to Union City resident Aniruddh Mandalapu, a Nothing But Nets Champion and local high school student, who started the martial arts-inspired organization The Fight Against Malaria, raising thousands of dollars for the cause.  A second award will go to the United Nations Association East Bay Chapter, represented by President Herb Behrstock, for their efforts to mobilize members and successfully meet their goal to send 2,014 nets by the end of 2014.

Nothing But Nets is the largest global, grassroots campaign to fight malaria, a disease that kills a child every 60 seconds. Malaria, a disease caused by a single mosquito bite, is preventable. Since 2006, Nothing But Nets has raised more than $56 million, and together with its UN partners, has delivered more than nine million insecticide-treated bed nets to protect families in sub-Saharan Africa from malaria. It only costs $10 to purchase and deliver a bednet and educate the recipient on its proper use.  Over the last decade, millions of lives have been saved thanks to coordinated global efforts to fight the disease.

Special event tickets for Nothing But Nets Day against the Clippers and the exclusive postgame event with Stephen Curry are still available, and can be purchased at warriors.com/nothingbutnets

The only place to purchase guaranteed resale tickets to all Warrior home games is at warriors.com, or by calling 1-888-GSW-HOOP. The Warriors have sold out 108 consecutive games at Oracle Arena and currently have a Season Ticket Priority Wait List of over 8,500 members. Please be advised that tickets purchased through other third party sites are not verified by the Warriors. Resale tickets are currently available through warriors.com, and offer a safe and convenient way for fans to access all levels of tickets throughout the regular season and playoffs. 

For more information on Nothing But Nets, please visit  warriors.com/nothingbutnets.

Visa is a proud sponsor and preferred payment partner of the Golden State Warriors.

For more information on the Golden State Warriors 2014-15 season, presented by Kaiser Permanente, visit warriors.com.

About Nothing But Nets

Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in sub-Saharan Africa. Inspired by sports columnist Rick Reilly, hundreds of thousands of people have joined the campaign that was created by the United Nations Foundation in 2006. Since then, Nothing But Nets has raised more than $56 million to help deliver more than 9 million bednets to families in need. Campaign partners include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Basketball Association’s NBA Cares, Junior Chamber International, and Major League Soccer’s MLS W.O.R.K.S. It costs $10 to purchase and deliver an insecticide-treated bednet, provide education on its proper use, and provide other malaria reduction interventions that can prevent this deadly disease. Visit www.NothingButNets.net to send a net and save a life.

About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.

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