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Merced College's spark plug must take it easy on leg

Asking a high-energy guy to hold still is just cruel. But that's the regimen Kori Melo's doctor said can get the Merced College second baseman back onto the field.

Melo suffered a stress fracture in his right leg, sidelining the freshman for the last three weeks of the regular season.

"I haven't even been able to practice in weeks, so I'm going crazy," Melo said. "Especially because it's happening at this time of year."

Melo said the leg feels better every day, but he can't rejoin the Blue Devils until he gets clearance from his doctor.

On top of everything else, an insurance dispute has delayed that examination.

"It doesn't look like Kori's going to be ready to go this week, but Ruben Perez has done a good job of filling in," MC coach Chris Pedretti said.

"The main thing is we want him to get healthy, and hopefully he'll be back to help us for the playoffs."

Recreational Swim

One of Scott McCall's proudest moments at last weekend's Bay Valley Conference swim championships wasn't a victory.

It wasn't even a second- or third-place showing.

It was Paul Wilson's eighth-place finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle.

Why?

McCall first met Wilson in a beginners swim class he was teaching in the fall semester.

"He said he wanted to get into the Navy SEALS," McCall said. "So I told him he should come out and train with the team.

"A lot of the guys would stay after practice and work with him. He worked so hard. It was amazing how far he came."

Wilson broke the 30-minute barrier for the first time, finishing in 27:35.66.

Waiting Game

With the MC baseball team set to finish up its regular season at Hartnell on Saturday, Spincostats.com has the Devils ranked sixth and eighth in its two NorCal RPI polls.

But MC's Pedretti isn't ready to speculate on playoff positioning just yet.

According to Pedretti, the ultra-competitive Big 8 Conference is throwing a monkey wrench into the works.

Just two games separate the top five teams in the conference heading into the final week.

"The top teams could easily flip-flop with the bottom teams," Pedretti said. "We'll just have to wait and see what happens."

All six conference winners are guaranteed a first-round home game, along with two second-place teams.

MC's 31-9 record is better than any other second-place team.

Sean Lynch is a Sun-Star sports writer. He can be reached at 385-2476 or via e-mail at slynch@mercedsun-star.com.

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