"The Captain": The Kendall Henry Feature

 Kendall Henry taking a Swing During Woodcreek's playoff game versus Bella Vista ( Jeremy McDonald- 65 Sports)

Kendall Henry taking a Swing During Woodcreek's playoff game versus Bella Vista (Jeremy McDonald- 65 Sports)

By Jeremy McDonald

The Captain.  The dictionary defines it as "One who commands, leads, or guides others".

Kendall Henry.  Senior at Woodcreek High School. was the Captain of the Timberwolves softball team. 

“I like to lead not only verbally but also by example,” said Henry.  “I take pride in knowing my teammates look up to me.”

Those leadership traits can be traced back to her father, who taught her to lead on and off the field

“My dad has had a huge impact on my life,” said Henry.  “He has always been my number one fan on and off the field. He has taught me to lead not only on the field but also in everyday life.

“He always tells me I can succeed at whatever I put my mind to. My dad is definitely my role model and I hope to be like him someday.”

The competitive and leadership juices have been flowing through Henry and the bat for the past 12 years, but she also played soccer, basketball, and volleyball along with softball and Henry said sports have taught her some valuable lessons on life.

“Sports have taught me hard work, determination, integrity and so much more that will help me throughout life,” she said.

Once she got to Woodcreek, Henry turned her focus to softball and volleyball, having played softball and volleyball at the varsity level for the past two years.

By her senior year as a T'Wolve athlete, her leadership and versatility skills got her tabbed as captain by head coach Jeff Fischer on the softball team.

“It has been great having Kendall in our program the last four years,” said Fischer on Henry.  “She's very talented and also has the versatility to play pretty much wherever you need her.

“She was great for Ron (Mathus) and I this year as far as letting her know what we needed done that day, whether it was a practice or a game.”

For Henry, it was an honor to be named team captain.

“Being selected as captain was a huge honor. I took pride in knowing my teammates looked up to me,” said Henry.  “I played with a very talented group of files. We had great camaraderie which made the season flow and made my job as captain that much easier.”

Bolstering a 4.3 GPA, Henry preaches the importance of time management as a student-athlete.

“ Being a student athlete is hard work. It requires time management as well as focus and determination,” she said.  “I was lucky enough to have a strong support system at home. I wouldn't be where I am without the support of my parents.”

 After graduation, Henry is going to attend Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee where she will major in Kinesiology with a goal in hand to become a Physical Therapist after receiving her master’s degree while continuing to play the sport she loves.

“I am so excited to be attending Rhodes (College),” said Henry.  “Not only is the campus beautiful but the people are amazing, and the food is delicious who doesn't love southern BBQ! I'm excited to continue playing the sport I love at the collegiate level.

“I really hope to be a positive contributor to the team. As a student I hope to continue my strong academic achievements.”

In the meantime, Henry will be played in the Optimist All-Star Game, an opportunity to end her high school career and represent the Maroon and Black once more.

“It was a huge honor to be selected to represent Woodcreek in the optimist all-star game,” she said. “It feels great to be recognized and know that my hard work paid off.”

The North won 9-6 and Henry made a diving catch out in the outfield, walked and hit a line drive in the third inning, but it was a bitter sweet ending to her high school career however.

“It was so fun playing with the best girls in the area,” said Henry.  “It was truly an honor to be selected to represent my school. I was a little sad because it was the last time putting on my high school jersey but I just wanted to go out there and play my game and have fun. 

There is a bright future for Henry, but once thing is for certain.

“I'm a huge goofball,” she started.  “I love pulling pranks especially on my family. They are so gullible so they make it easy.”

Let’s hope she doesn’t pull too many pranks at Rhodes!

Woodcreek Found Their "Balance" In 7-1 Victory

 Woodcreek's Rebecca Bernard hands Caity Szczesny the bat following an at-bat.  ( Jeremy McDonald 65 Sports)

Woodcreek's Rebecca Bernard hands Caity Szczesny the bat following an at-bat.  (Jeremy McDonald 65 Sports)

By Jeremy McDonald

SACRAMENTO-- The Woodcreek softball team found their balance offensively and defensive against the Bella Vista defense Monday afternoon in the CIF-Sac Joaquin Section Division-I playoffs at the Sacramento Softball Complex.

Behind  16 hits on offense, and an 11-strikeout performance by Jacy Boles in the Timberwolves 7-1 victory over the Broncos, putting them two-wins away from the Section Title Game.

"There was a great balance today," said Woodcreek head coach Jeff Fischer.  "Anytime we have Jacy on the mound you know we have a chance and we put runners on base, we put pressure on (Bella Vista) and the kids came through and they executed."

"That's the main thing executing, moving runners along and of course getting a big hit by (Szczuesny) that helps out.  So the kids played great."

Behind eight hits that included RBI single's by Kendall Henry and Riley Adams, the T'Wolves led 2-0 after two innings.

Behind Jacy Boles' six strikeouts in her first four innings of work, mixed in with some great defensive plays, Woodcreek kept the Broncos off the board entering the bottom of the fourth.

"We just calm down and played our game, we didn't try to push anything." said Boles on the defense.  "I pounded the strike zone a lot and I was sync-ing on my pitches.  i got ahead in my counts and I think that what helped me."

Entering the bottom half of the fourth, Caity Szczesny made herself known to the public.

With the bases loaded, Szczesny connected on her second pitch down center field that cleared the bases en route to a three RBI triple.

On the next pitch, Rachel Bennett overthrew catcher Katelyn Snow and that brought Szczesny home as the Timberwolves softball lead held at 6-0 after four innings.

"It was really nice to finally get a hit like that and really be clutch in a game to score the runs that we needed," she said.  "It really helped take a lot of pressure off of Jacy too." 

"She's done that all year.  Asked anyone, she's done that all year," added Fischer with a smile.

Kayla Curtan would add one run for Woodcreek off a RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning.

But the run was matched by Bella Vista when an error by Amanda Bernard at third base allowed the Broncos to break the shutout in the top half of the sixth.

But the defense stayed within themselves and up 7-1 on Bella Vista would go down in succession as Boles picked up her 11th strikeout on the day and her defense turned two ground balls into outs to end the game.

"We worked together pretty well," said Szczesny on the game.  "We had some clutch hits  and it scored runs that we needed.  Our defense was really strong too."

Up next for Woodcreek is a Tuesday match-up at 5pm against the winner of the River City-Pitman game. 

If they win in that game, the T'Wolves will play again at 7pm to have a chance to go to Wednesday's section final game.  Both games will be held at Field 4 at the Sacramento Softball Complex!

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Woodcreek Softball Shut Out Chavez 10-0 in 6

 Courtney Bell and Rebecca Bernard high five after Bell scores Thursday ( Jeremy McDonald 65 Sports)

Courtney Bell and Rebecca Bernard high five after Bell scores Thursday (Jeremy McDonald 65 Sports)

By Jeremy McDonald

SACRAMENTO -- If defense translates to offense, then Woodcreek softball has gotten it down to a tee Thursday afternoon.

As their bats slowly came to life, Jacey Boles and her defense dominated Chavez’s offense limiting them to one hit and striking out nine in the 10-0 six inning game in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I playoffs.

“What’s nice is if our offense isn’t clicking right away, we always have our defense to keep us in the ball game,” said Timberwolves Head Coach Jeff Fischer.  “Our offense came through, it took us a while but we came through.”

Through the first three innings of the game Boles had six strikeouts, two walks and had a no-hitter going entering the fourth.

“It was nice to have her throw strikes, she was striking everyone out,” said Kayla Curtan on Boles performance and the defense.  “We didn’t really have too many chances to make plays but when we did make them.”

Woodcreek would break the scoreless tie with a Kinley Kyro RBI single in the second that was followed by a error at home plate that brought Kendall Henry home as well for the 2-0 lead.

Curtan picked up an RBI single in the third followed by a RBI double by Riley Adams in the fourth and Holli McNeil’s RBI single in the fifth to give the T’Wolves a 5-0 lead entering the sixth inning.

“It’s important for us to stay strong in every game and focus on each one at one at a time because that’s really been working for us well this season,” said McNeil.

Boles ‘K’ pace slowed down as her defense picked up the pace behind her. 

Celina Molina broke Boles No-Hitter with two outs in the fourth inning, but Woodcreek’s defense kept that hit as the lone hit of the game for the Titans.

After giving up a opening inning walk in the sixth, Boles settled back in by picking up her ninth strikeout to end the inning.

What followed was the fury of bats by the Timberwolves offense starting with a single by Kyro.

With the bases loaded two batters later, Woodcreek slowly added runs over their next four at-bats starting with a RBI single’s by Caity Szczeny and Curtain followed by a two-run RBI double by McNeil.

The game would end by the ten-run rule with a RBI single by Henry that sent the T’Wolves to the next round.

“The first game of the playoffs you don’t know how the kids would come out,” said Fischer.  “But the kids came out fine.  A little slow at first, but they picked it up through adjustments.  Everything worked out well.”

Up next for Woodcreek is Vacaville, winners Thursday with a 10-5 result over Pleasant Grove.

The plan is the success tool that has gotten them to this point, focus on the here and now.

 “It’s important for us to stay strong in every game and focus on each one at one at a time because that’s really been working for us well this season,” said McNeil.

First pitch is 9am at Field 1 at the Sacramento Softball Complex.

 

Former Timberwolves Davis Picking Her Direction

 Aliyah Davis averaged 8.4 pts and 2 assists a game in her final season with Sierra

Aliyah Davis averaged 8.4 pts and 2 assists a game in her final season with Sierra

By Jeremy McDonald

After leading the Sierra College Wolverines in three-pointers with 64, Woodcreek alum Aliyah Davis is pondering over four  schools looks back at her time at Sierra, it taught her a few things.

“Hard work pays off,” she said.  “If you want something, you got to go out and do it no matter what it takes, you have to go and do it if you really want to do it.”

Sitting in the Board Room in the library on campus the sophomore was one of 64 athletes that were either committed at a school or still undecided. 

For Davis, it’s between Simpson University in Redding, Cal-Lutheran, San Bernado State or San Marco State, but the decision to pick one of the four is a tough one she said.

“It’s definitely hard to make a decision because you want to make sure it’s the right fit for you and all athletes want to play at the highest level that they possibly play at.  It’s stressful.”

During her sophomore year Davis averaged 8.4 points a game and two assist a game, but off the court she was a Kinesiology major with a passion to be a part of the physical therapist field after she receives a master’s degree in the Kinesiology  field.

But all and all, Davis describes how it is to be a student-athlete through all of this.

“It means responsibility, time management, learning how to balance school,” she started.  “Maintaining good grades, performance on the court or the field wherever you are.

“It’s just a lot of mental toughness.”


Woodcreek Softball Playoff Preview

By Jeremy McDonald

Under sunny and warm conditions at Mahany Field, Woodcreek are gearing up for a deep playoff push.

“It puts us in game situations,” said Timberwolves Head Coach Jeff Fischer on the situational work. “We pulled up some freshman and their fast so they’re going to be our runners in playoffs so what better way to work them and our defense by having them run bases.”

Behind the philosophy of 'one day at a time', Woodcreek went 21-1-1 overall and 12-0 in Sierra Foothill League play and nabbed the number one seed of the CIF-Sac Joaquin Section Division-I bracket.

But the mentality will be as if they’re playing as a lower seed in the bracket.

“It feels good to be recognized with how we’ve done so far,” said senior Kendall Henry. “But the number one seeding doesn’t mean anything in playoffs, we’re going to have the same mentality. 

“(Just) go out there and play our game.”

Success of their regular season was to focus on the game directly ahead of them. 

The message that Fischer told his team was the same for their game Thursday versus Chavez and not to be overwhelmed by the overall picture of picture but to focus on the here and now.

And his team is taking it to heart.

“We really do take it one game at a time,” said Henry.  “The SFL is such a hard league we knew we had to win every game and bring our 100-percent. 

“We had to be the best that we could be and we just gotten use to that kind of team motto, so we just take it one team at a time and play our best every single time we step on the field.”

Chavez’s offense have produced runs, averaging 6.3 runs a game and Victoria Forrester is their best all-around athlete they have.

On offense, Forrester have four of the Titans nine homeruns and lead the team in hitting (.432), RBIs (21), Doubles (7), and Triples (5) not to mention her success on the mound.

With nine wins to nine losses, Forrester also has a 0.93 ERA with 112 strikeouts on the season.

But confidence is high with the T’Wolves.

 “We’re just really hot all at the same time,” said Henry.  “If one girl isn’t doing so hot, the girl behind her is picking her up, we work really well together.  We’re always there for each other, we have really good team commodore.”

Woodcreek’s playoff opener is 4pm at Field 1 at the Sacramento Softball Complex in Sacramento.

Woodcreek Softball's Jacy "The Ace" Boles

 WOODCREEK'S JACY BOLES HAS ONLY LOST ONE GAME TO 15 WINS IN 2015

WOODCREEK'S JACY BOLES HAS ONLY LOST ONE GAME TO 15 WINS IN 2015

By Jeremy McDonald

The ace of a pitching staff is no easy task for anyone, but don’t say that to Woodcreek’s Jacy Boles.

In 2015, the junior is an amazing 15-1 after Tuesday’s game versus Rocklin with under a 1.5 earned run average and over 90 strikeouts on the season.

“ I focus in on every batter and I focus on every single at-bat,” described Boles.  “I don’t ever look ahead and I don’t look back.  If I walk someone I just move on to the next player.”

The key for the dominance is how she’s about to change it up.

“Just mixing it up,”  Boles said.  “I’ve been throwing different speeds and every single game I have a different pitch that’s go too. 

“One game it’s my curve ball that I go too and another game it’s my rise ball is my go to.  So it’s just mixing it up.”

In her 15th win against Rocklin, where she allowed just one run in a complete game effort despite having a high pitch count following a hard start of the game.

“I finished good.  I was getting a lot of pitches, I was getting a lot of batters,” Boles said of the game. “I think at the end I did good, I pumped myself up and had a good game.”

Boles have already verbally committed to Division-I UC-Riverside for softball, but is focusing on her goals between now and when she gets to the campus.

“I want to get better mentally, like get stronger mentally and become more of a leader,” she said.

The first step for her to work towards her goals is this playoff season, where her and the Timberwolves entered with a 21-1-1 overall record and completed Sierra Foothill League play with a perfect 12-0 record.

Woocreek defeats Rocklin, Undefeated In SFL Play

By Jeremy McDonald

ROCKLIN-- Rocklin manage to challenge Woodcreek Tuesday afternoon and picked up six hits on a tough pitcher in Jacy Boles.

Boles would settle in late in the game as the Timberwolves completed Sierra Foothill League play a perfect 12-0 with a 5-1 victory.

“The girls played well,” said Woodcreek head coach Jeff Fischer.  “We came out with Holli (McNeil) hitting that two-run homerun which was nice, that broke the ice for us a little bit.

“It was their senior night, you know they’re going to be tough.  Everytime we play Rocklin, it’s a tough game it doesn’t matter what their record is.”

Rocklin's offense was able to force the T’Wolve's Jacy Boles to throw a high volume of pitches in the first two innings of the game.

But couldn't get a run on the board as the Woodcreek  McNeil was able to do so for Woodcreek with a two-out, two-run homerun in the top of the first for a 2-0 lead.

Emmalie Hopping would get the Thunder on the board in the bottom of the third with a single to mid center field to cut the Timberwolves lead to 2-1 entering the fourth.

After a pair of one, two, three innings in the fourth, Woodcreek would get their bats going once more as Kendall Henry drove two in on a RBI Double in the top of the fifth.

For Rocklin starter Sami Storjand, the plan was to limit the ‘big hits’.

“I was trying to say ‘no hits’, like I didn’t want any big hits over the hits,” she said.  “I mean they’re a good hitting team, they’re going to get hits, it is what it is.

That was followed by a RBI single by Henry that would ice the Timberwolves perfect Sierra Foothill League season.

“It was a hard fought game, they’re one of the better teams in the area, and their record proves it” said Rocklin head coach Marissa Hardy.  “I don’t know if (Woodcreek) played a tight game like that and faced that pressure in a while.  So I think we gave them that pressure and we feel good heading into playoffs.”

 

T'Wolves Girls Soccer Playoff Game Preview

By Jeremy McDonald

After a 6-2-4 Sierra  Foothill League season that saw Woodcreek finishing third in the traditionally difficult league, the Timberwolves open up the  CIF-Sac Joaquin Section Division-I bracket with the 12th seed.

But the plan entering the playoffs is one the team is similar with during the regular season.

"We have to stick with our game plan and keep our eye on the prize," said Woodcreek head coach Mark Bowman.

But they open the playoffs on the road against St. Francis, who ate bolstering a 16-2-2 overall, 10-2-2 in the Delta Conference League and are sixth-ranked in the state of California according to MaxPreps.

The Troubadours are averaging 3.5 goals a game offensively and are led by senior Anna Gregg, who has scored 29 goals this season.

Both St. Francis and the MaxPreps 14th-ranked T’Wolves have surrendered 12 goals all season apiece, but the key for success will be the Woodcreek defense slowing down the high scoring Troubadour offense.

We're looking at tomorrow's game like any other game but with a new opponent,” said Bowman.  “In (the) play-offs, especially (Division-I) play-offs, all of the teams are good. We plan on putting in a solid 80 minutes of play and see what happens. 

The Timberwolves will try to do something that no other team has done to St. Francis Tuesday afternoon.  Hand them a loss on their home turf!

Woodcreek will look to do just that, kick off is at 4pm at St. Francis High School