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Starting with his first column in the Feb. 16, 2011, News-Ledger, resident Don Schatzel intends to bring us a monthly look at what's going on inside West Sacramento's youth and school leagues -- whether the sport be baseball, swimming, basketball or something else altogether.
  This column will usually be available only in the print edition of the newspaper.
  Don is a West Sacramento resident and former director of the city's Parks & Recreation Department.
  You can send him some youth sports information or a photo for his column at
dons1129@att.net ( for a photo, a separate JPG attachment will have the best chance of being usable).

From the News-Ledger
Feb. 16, 2011


By Don Schatzel

  In my opinion, the heart and soul of any city is its youth, and with that in mind, the News-Ledger has given me the opportunity to write monthly articles that will highlight the successes of our city’s young people.

  West Sacramento has all kinds of activities for its young people, especially in the area of sports, including baseball, football, basketball, soccer, swimming, and horseback riding, just to mention a few. If it has anything to do with youth sports, you can find it here.

  Have you ever had the opportunity to visit a local Little League game, or a youth soccer match, or a swim meet? Bryte Park, Memorial Park, Alyce Norman/Bryte Park, and River City High School have all become community centers each and every weekend. You can hear the excitement in the conversations of the spectators.

  The articles will highlight significant accomplishments that happen all the time, but often go unnoticed. The fact is that the performances of our kids are remarkable and worthy of celebrating. And here are a few examples:

   Graeme Farrell was just listed by the publication Travel Ball Select as one of the Pacific Northwest’s ten-year old players to watch. He catches, plays the infield, and is an all-around player! There are roughly 1,500 young people playing baseball at various ages in leagues throughout West Sacramento.

  Congratulations to Southport Elementary School for winning the Washington Unified School District girls basketball championship by defeating defending champion Bridgeway Island! The City of West Sacramento has 450 youth basketball players this year.

  The West Sacramento girls softball Major League All-Star Team won the 2010 District 6 championship and competed in the Martinex, California section region tournament with 17 other teams from Gilroy to Paradise, California, and when all was said and done, were finalists for the section crown with Consumnes River, the two remaining teams from our section.

  In soccer, the under-19 boys/men Raiders won the District Cup and had a league record of 9-0-1. The under-14 girls Tigers are undefeated in the South Natomas indoor league and the under-12 Hooligans were the B League champion. More than 1,000 kids play youth soccer in West Sacramento.

  These are just a few examples of what West Sacramento young people are doing in athletics and I look forward to hearing from other local sports fans at dons1129@att.net.

  The goal is to highlight the great achievements of our young people that too often go unnoticed so that we can celebrate their accomplishments together!   

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