No Shock in Spokane for San Jose

Photo Courtesy SJ SaberCats
Photo Courtesy SJ SaberCats

By Emily Zahner

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON—The San Jose SaberCats (7-3), riding a four game winning streak, took on the Spokane Shock (5-5) tonight at the Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane, Washington. Riding in with confidence and less impactful injuries, the Cats took the win 49-34. With the added offensive power of Reggie Gray, who returned from injury tonight, the Cats made easy work of Spokane. With the loss of their MVP quarterback Erik Meyer, the Shock have been putting up low numbers lately, and tonight was no exception. However, coming into the game tonight, San Jose didn’t come in with any low expectations. The Shock hold the edge over the season series between the two teams, leading 5-3.

The first half was all Cats. The first period saw the Cats go up 14-6, followed by an equally offensive second, ending with San Jose up 28-13. San Jose didn’t let up until the final whistle. Scoring 14 points in each of the first three quarters, San Jose gave themselves a lead that would give them the victory. Spokane was equally as consistent, but on the opposing side of the score sheet; scoring 6, 7, and 7 in each of the first three periods. The Shock made it interesting in the fourth, outscoring the Cats 14-7.

Spokane seemed out of sorts without the leadership of QB Erik Meyer. Brian Zbydniewski completed 24 of 42 passing attempts, good for 303 yards and two touchdowns, and two sacks. Meanwhile, Russ Michna performed on the other end of the scoring spectrum. Michna completed 17 of 29 passes, good for 4 touchdowns and 218 yards.

In his return to the lineup, Reggie Gray received 8 passes good for 83 yards, completing one touchdown. The next best on the team was Jason Willis, with two received passes and 40 yards and a touchdown. San Jose has now won five games in a row, improving to a 7-3 record.

The Cats have a bit of a break before heading down to Arizona to take on the always impressive Arizona Rattlers on May 31st at 6:30pm.

SaberCats snap three game losing streak, top Thunder 38-32

Photo Courtesy SJ SaberCats
Photo Courtesy SJ SaberCats

By Emily Zahner

PORTLAND, OREGON-The San Jose SaberCats (3-3) look to get back to winning ways tonight and end their three game losing streak as they face the equally struggling Portland Thunder (0-5). This is the second match up between the two this year, with the Cats taking the first win easily 64-34. Portland has yet to find its first win, on the season and of team history. San Jose squeaked out a win, 38-32, handing the Thunder their fifth consecutive loss. The Thunder made it interesting though, battling until the end and looking nothing like a team who hasn’t won a game this season.

The Thunder struggled early, with three straight turnovers that looked to dictate the game; however minutes later, Portland opened the scoring after capitalizing on a San Jose fumble, fueling their energy and giving them momentum. Multiple turnovers and miscues provided to an ugly period, which ended 7-0 with Portland on top. The Cats were unable to find the score sheet, but got on the board early in the second to cut the deficit to 10-3. Every loose ball seemed to find the Thunder, but the Cats remained persistent and ended the half down 19-14.

San Jose came out on fire in the second half. Nathan Stanley came in briefly to relieve Russ Michna, and completed his first possession for a touchdown to Doug Williams. Coming back into the game, Michna took matters into his own hands and ran it himself for a touchdown to give the Cats their first lead of the game. Michna’s TD took the game into the fourth with a tight score of 31-25.

Portland answered in a hurry, giving themselves an early one point lead in the fourth. After trading scores, San Jose went up 38-32 with just under five minutes to go in the game. Portland pressed hard at the end of the fourth, looking as though they would tie the game, but an incomplete attempt on fourth down lead to the final turnover of the game and a SaberCats victory. With the win, San Jose has snapped their 3-game losing streak to improve to an even record of 3-3 on the season.

Russ Michna threw 12 for 29 with 250 yards and 3 touchdowns. In his brief appearance, Nathan Stanley went 1 for 1 with 22 yards and one touchdown. Newcomer Doug Williams had 108 receiving yards for two touchdowns. When asked about his first game as a SaberCat, Williams responded “I’m just happy we got the win. I had to be patient, wait my time to get here.” On his chemistry with Michna throughout the game, the wide receiver praised his QB, “he always has a great touch on the ball. It’s easy to catch a ball from Russ”

San Jose heads to LA next weekend to take on the LA Kiss on Saturday April 26th at 7pm. The Kiss are currently second in the National Conference with a 2-2 record, sitting behind the reigning champions, Arizona Rattlers.

SaberCats suck the Soul out of Philadelphia, 70-33

sabercats

By Emily Zahner and Kahlil Najar

SAN JOSE, CA–Fresh off their convincing week one win over the newly formed Portland Thunder, the San Jose SaberCats cruised to an easy 70-33 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Soul late Sunday afternoon. In his very first start of his AFL career, Rookie Nathan Stanley impressed the Cats faithful with a spectacular game. Stanley completed 18 of 28, for 249 yards with 6 TDs and zero interceptions. Head coach Darren Arbet had nothing but praise for his QB, saying “this game is made for him right now.”  Stanley admitted to having pre-game jitters in his AFL starting debut, especially since he did not anticipate getting into the game so quickly in the season. After starting QB Russ Michna suffered concussion symptoms after the first game of the season, Stanley was told to be ready, and was given the start.

After giving up an early TD, the SaberCats bounced back to finish the first quarter 14-7. The two traded scores in the second quarter, and ended after the Soul pressured hard and earned a touchdown that carried the game into the half with the home team up by a small margin of 35-27. The rookie QB continued to impress, at the end of the second quarter, Stanley had thrown for four touchdowns, 123 yards and no interceptions. San Jose’s impressive defense gave the rookie the chance he needed to put his team ahead. “It’s really comforting to be able to rely on my defense, especially as a new QB”, Stanley said.

The third and fourth were all Cats. San Jose held the Soul completely scoreless in the third and the majority of the fourth. Newcomer Reggie Gray lit up the score sheet in the second half. After just one 24-yard touchdown in the first half, Gray posted 53 yards and 2 touchdowns in the second. Gray had 46 touchdowns last year with the Chicago Rush, and so far has wasted no time bringing those stats to San Jose. When asked about his home debut with the team, Gray stated “the atmosphere here was amazing. There were a few jitters but it’s special to be a part of such a great team”.

In their season opener last week, Philadelphia’s Derrick Ross instantly made a name for himself in their thrilling overtime loss to the defending AFL champions, Arizona Rattlers. Ross posted an impressive six touchdowns, with 12 carries for 46 yards. In week two, the SaberCats held him to only 34 yards with one touchdown.

With just a minute left in the game, Philadelphia managed to break through the SaberCats’ defense and cut the ever-growing lead down to 70-33.

San Jose heads to Pennsylvania next Saturday, looking to continue their strong start to the season against the Pittsburg Power, who were 4-14 last season.

Gaels’ Dellavedova earns training camp spot with the Cavaliers

Days after his 23rd birthday, Matthew Dellavedova came one step closer to achieving his dream.

Yesterday, September 30th, former Saint Mary’s Gael shooting guard Dellavedova was officially named to the Cleveland Cavaliers 20-man training camp roster. After graduation last year, Delly entered the NBA draft, and went undrafted. He was invited to attend the Cav’s Summer League in Las Vegas, and now has a strong shot to make the Cavaliers’ roster. Reports have said Delly is a strong candidate for the third point guard spot.

Dellavedova hails from Maryborough, Victoria, Australia, and was just one of many Aussies brought to SMC by head coach Randy Bennett. A stand out on the Gaels, Delly padded his resume as the all-time leader in scoring, 3-point field goals, free throw percentage, assists, appearances and starts. As a senior, he averaged 15.8 points and 6.4 assists per game. Seemingly always a standout, he was named the WCC Player of the Year as a junior, and then as a senior, and went on to earn the Mike Gilleran Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.

Delly has also shined at the national level. In 2012, he was selected alongside another former Gael and Aussie, Patrick Mills, to represent his country at the London Olympics. The Aussies advanced to the Quarterfinals before being eliminated by the United States 119-86. Delly played 26 minutes, posting just 3 points, but earning 7 rebounds, all defensive, and 4 assists.

Dellavedova still has to make the team out of training camp. The Cavs first preseason game is scheduled for October 8th, the entire contintinent of Australian will be waiting to see if their WCC favorite has made the squad.

GAEL FORCE PRIDE!

Back to back AL West Champions!

By Emily Zahner

 

OAKLAND, CA—The Oakland Athletics (93-63) didn’t need 9 innings for a reason to celebrate, all it took was three. With their magic number down to one, Oakland needed to either defeat the Minnesota Twins (65-90) this afternoon, or see Texas lose. Halfway through the top of the third, cheers started to erupt throughout the stadium, and yet the out of town scoreboard still read the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals were locked in a 0-0 tie in the 10th. After Sonny Gray surrendered a 3-run homerun by Oswaldo Arcia, the A’s finally got out of the inning. That was when a replay was shown of KC’s Justin Maxwell, with two outs in the 10th, crushing a grand slam that instantly sent the A’s into the post season. Once again, at the expense of the Texas Rangers, the A’s would be crowned the American League West Champions.

Not that the A’s needed the Royals help anyway… Oakland erupted for six runs in the 2nd inning, and then added one more in each of the next five innings. The A’s celebrated their division title on the back of a four-game sweep by means of an 11-7 rout of the Twins. Oakland starter Sonny Gray became the youngest pitcher in A’s history to win a division clinching game at the young age of 23. Gray was elated, “this is the best baseball day of my life… today is a very exciting day.” Even though they all knew their fate in the third, Sonny was determined, saying he knew something had happened in the Texas game, but still had a game to win.  Gray did struggle a bit, giving up four earned runs on seven hits through five innings pitched, but with the offensive tear his team appears to be on lately, it didn’t even matter. Gray isn’t worried about where he will land on the post season roster, just as long as he is a part of the team.

After tonight’s game, the A’s finish off the regular season with a three game series in Anaheim, followed by a three game set in Seattle. From here on out, the A’s will be focused on the post season. A’s manager Bob Melvin is ready, saying “we’ve got some unfinished business going forward… we’re going to enjoy today and look forward to tomorrow”. He has extreme confidence in his squad, “this is an unselfish group that just wants to win.” The players themselves are ready, Australian closer Grant Balfour said “we know how to play and we know how to win”.

Not only did the A’s clinch the West today, but Coco Crisp made history as well. In the 6th inning, after Eric Sogard reached first on a single, Coco walked. The two initiated a double steal, and Coco became only the 10th player in Oakland history to have a 20 homerun-20 stolen base year. Players all through the lineup stepped up huge today. In the 7th spot, Daric Barton went 3-3 with a walk; just a triple short of the cycle. Homeruns were a plenty today, and Oakland saw bombs from Crisp, Barton, and Jed Lowrie. Barton has made a huge impact since being called up from Triple A Sacramento on August 24th, and Melvin is taking notice, “I don’t see how Barton could not be on the post season roster”.

This marks the second consecutive and 16th overall AL West Division title for the Oakland Athletics. If the standings hold, the A’s will most likely face the Detroit Tigers once again in the ALDS. With the way this team has been playing, they’re ready for anyone.

 

Game Notes: Josh Donaldson has reached base safely via hit or walk in 27 consecutive games. Oakland has reached a season high of 30 games over .500. Josh Reddick had two outfield assists today, doubling off Brian Dozier in the 7th and Oswaldo Arcia in the 9th.