Having an uncle who works for the San Francisco Giants definitely has its perks.
For 15-year-old Modesto resident Alec Nerland, it meant being on the field for Jonathan Sanchez' no-hitter on July 10. Nerland got to be a batboy for the Giants, thanks to the connections of his uncle Matt Nerland -- a special assistant of general manager Brian Sabean. It was Alec Nerland's first time in he role, and one that will be tough to top.
Nerland got to high-five Pablo Sandoval at the plate after the third baseman's fifth-inning homer, and jump around with the team on the field after the no-hitter.
Since then, some Giants have asked Matt Nerland when that good-luck charm of a nephew will be returning.
No word on when Nerland will make an encore appearance, but the Giants might consider him for a Barry Zito start.
TRACK & FIELD -- The Central Valley Roadrunners had 21 athletes qualify for the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics in Greesnboro, N.C., July 28-Aug. 2. The qualifiers were among the top 3 at the Section 14 Regional Championships in Bakersfield, July 11-12.
Central Valley girls winners were Veronica Flores in bantam shot put (23-feet, 4 inches), Nicole Warwick in midget 1,500-meter run (5 minutes, 3.20 seconds), the 4x100 relay midget girls team of Danielle Drew, Chabryel Fay, Raquel Garcia and Sara Stevens (54.74), Melissa Salinas in the midget javelin (107-2) and Angela Ceppaglia in the young women's discus (124-03).
Boys winners were Dauson Booker in the bantam javelin (96-11), James Warwick in the youth 100 (14.80), Karunueer Chohan in the youth 200 hurdles (27.94) and the youth 4x800 relay team of Cameron Crippen, Anthony Garcia, Brynn Sargent and Arnel Surnip (9:14.85).
BASEBALL -- It took two wins out of the losers bracket for the Salida 9-10 year-old All-Star baseball team to claim the District 67 Championship on July 14. They became the first Salida team to win a district title at any level. Salida beat Tracy National 10-4 and 14-2 to advance to the Section 3 Tournament. Salida was in the losers bracket Sunday after falling to Hillsboro 6-3. Unfortunately, their season ended Sunday when Niles-Centerville beat Salida 14-6. ...
The Bel Passi Bronco-11 all-stars, winners of both sectional and regional titles, will meet Spokane, Wash., in the first round of the eight-team West Zone Championship on Thursday at 5 p.m. in Walnut. If it wins the tournament, Bel Passi -- the Northern California representative -- will advance to the Pony League World Series in Chesterfield, Va., July 29-Aug. 1. Local all-stars, who reached the West Zone level last year, have gone 6-0 en route to their sectional and regional crowns, including a 10-0 win over Elk Grove in the regional final last weekend in San Pablo. The team is coached by Mike Vander Molen and assistants Eric and Gary Lytle. ...
Space is available for the Eastlake Baseball Academy's Titans Prospect Camp, July 22-24 at Big Valley High. Cost is $125 which includes a T-shirt, water and instruction. Call 538-4841 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
BOXING -- Two athletes from Modesto's Team Execution Boxing Club won at the California State Police Activities League Tournament, July 9-11 in Oxnard. Benil Ardashahi won his first 125-pound fight by unanimous decision against Maximiliano Moreno. Ardashahi then beat Daniel Jijana to win the belt. Ramiel Ardashahi knocked out his first opponent, Luis Perez, in the 152-pound division. He lost in the final round to Shawn Gary. William Stevenson hoped for a fight, but had no opposition in the 197-201 weight class.
GOLF -- Layney Silva, granddaughter of the late Leroy Silva of Modesto who played on the PGA Tour, finished second at the Junior Golf Association of Northern California/NorCal Association Players Championship in Carmel on July 9. Silva shot a 66 at Rancho Canada Golf Club, 2 strokes behind 2008 junior player of the year Paige Lee of Folsom. Silva also finished 15th at the Junior World Championship in San Diego, July 13-17, at the Sycuan Resort's Oak Glen course with a 81-70-72--223.
RODEO -- Escalon's Katie Dugo teamed with Liz Shadle of Atascadero and Sasha Sparow of Herald to win the team penning category in 1 minute flat at the Salinas Rodeo on Thursday. The event requires three riders to pick three specific cows out of a large herd and herd them into a pen.
SOCCER -- The Turlock Tornados under-15 girls team took third place in the Turlock FC Mid-Summer Classic this weekend, and only need a single win to do it. The Tornados had a record of 1-0-3, tying the UC Crystals 2-2, the Santa Rosa Storm 2-2 and Manteca United 2-2. The lone victory was 3-1 over Patterson CenCal.