There’s a pretty big game under Friday night lights this week. And I’m not talking about football.
A lot is being made about the potential for the 2016 Spanish Springs volleyball team, which just went 8-0 in the Yerington Memorial Tournament. It was the first regular-season tournament win in program history.
That tournament featured countless smaller schools that allowed the Cougs’ bench to see heavy time. The same will bot be said of the looming 40-team High Sierra Invitational.
On Friday at Bishop Manogue, the Cougars will play Enterprise (Redding, Calif.) at 2 p.m. The Hornets struggled to a 12-24 record last year, but lost just two seniors. They’ll play Faith Lutheran at 4 p.m. The Crusaders went 30-11 last year, rolling to the 3A state title. Just three seniors graduated from that team. And finally, they’ll play Saint Francis (Mountain View, Calif.) at 6 p.m. The Lancers finished last season ranked No. 18 in California, No. 91 in the nation.
We’ll have a much better idea about the Cougs after the weekend.
Spanish Springs grad Hunter Fralick third string at Nevada
Spanish Springs boy Hunter Fralick had a legit shot to win the starting quarterback job at Nevada last year as a redshirt freshman. Junior Tyler Stewart beat him out.
Now a senior, the job was Stewart’s from the start of camp. He figures to lead an improved offense in 2016 under the direction of new offensive coordinator, Tim Cramsey, from Montana State.
So the real intrigue in camp this year, regarding Fralick, was if he could hang on the backup job.
On Sunday, Nevada released its depth chart for Friday’s season opener against Cal Poly at the newly renovated Mackay Stadium and Fralick was listed third, behind fellow sophomore Ty Gangi.
Gangi played for Ventura Community College last year, after spending a redshirt season at Colorado. Gangi threw for 2,288 and 21 touchdowns compared with six interceptions last year.
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t mean much. If there are a few snaps to be had in a blowout or two this year, they will go to Gangi.
However, it does give a preview of the quarterback situation, which figures to be wide open, heading into the 2017 season.
Fralick made his Nevada debut last season against UC Davis and was unable to connect in three attempts. He later scored a 4-yard rushing touchdown on a trick play against San Diego State.
Keeping up with Jones
Earlier this month I wrote a story about 2012 Reed graduate Spencer Jones, who is now pitching in the Tampa Rays organization.
He was taken in the 10th round (300th overall) in June’s Major League Baseball Draft.
Jones made the decision to finish his degree at the University of Washington instead of trying to get drafted in 2015. It cost him financially, nearly $146,000, but it is paying off on the bump.
For the Hudson Valley Renegades (single-A short season), Jones is 2-0 with a 2.54 ERA over 28.1 innings out of the bullpen. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in over a month.
Since giving up his last earned run on July 28, Jones has thrown 12.2 scoreless innings, striking out 12 and walking just one. He even picked up a three-inning save two weeks ago.
In other words, he’s shoved since the story was published.
A key to moving up within any organization is controlling the zone and minimizing walks. Jones has done that. He’s struck out 31 batters this season compared with just eight free passes.
There’s no way to know when/if Tampa will promote Jones, but he’ll get an idea what the Rays brass thinks of him within the next month when the organization chooses which of its promising players to send to instructionals.
Nathan can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His weekly column, ‘Shoup Shots,’ runs in the hard copy of the Sparks Tribune every Tuesday morning.