Pitching a case for pitchers
We're counting down the days until playoff time — with a spring season like this, why not?
After coming up empty in football and collecting just one basketball section title, the Mid-Valley area is enjoying an amazing year on the diamonds this season, with several teams having the potential to hang banners.
The strikeout numbers have been almost ridiculous and the no-hitters continue to rack up. John Kukuruda knows something about this.
In the past two weeks, the East Nicolaus pitcher recorded three straight no-hitters and still got it done at the plate.
Coach Dave Deniz was waiting for Kukuruda to break out the bat earlier in the season, but I don't think he expected this:
In four games, he went 7 for 12, with 10 RBIs, seven runs, four stolen bases, three doubles, no strikeouts and a walk-off home run.
Oh yeah, his pitching: 16 innings, 32 strikeouts, no hits and just four walks.
The senior stud throws gas and it's been showing as he leads the Spartans to a 20-3 record, 8-0 in league.
And speaking of top pitching, Daniel Atkins finally gave up a run.
The Faith Christian senior leader nearly went through the season without allowing a single earned run, but on Thursday that came to an end in a 14-3 loss to perennial power Valley Christian — two-time defending section champs — nothing to scoff at.
Now Atkins sports a bloated 0.15 ERA, sitting just in front of Maxwell's Tyler Wells (0.19) and Yuba City's Jake Stassi (0.34).
The fact of the matter is, Atkins is one of many Mid-Valley area pitchers posting outstanding numbers.
I mean, I'm not sure when the last time 15 pitchers in the area had an ERA below 2.00.
And this is just baseball.
In this past week alone, Chelsey Souza of Live Oak delivered a perfect game.
Meanwhile, Randi May of Wheatland, Courtney Smith of River Valley, Jolene Graham of Sutter, Tiffany Friel of Colusa and Jordan Stanaland of Lindhurst came up just short in recording no-hitters — nothing new for these gals.
Friel has three no-nos and just recorded strikeout No. 342 on the season — fifth in the nation, according to Maxpreps.com. Meanwhile Stanaland has four no-hitters this year and continues to lead the Blazers to a hopeful league title.
And forget about Courtney Smith, the junior hurler is off the charts in Tri-County Conference land: Three no-hitters and just seven walks.
Again, just the tip of the iceberg when noting local pitching talents, but almost every team has an ace. If you don't believe me, head out to a game and see for yourself.