Glenn Cravens: Spartans in the mix in MTAL

Glenn Cravens: Spartans in the mix in MTAL


Glenn Cravens: Spartans in the mix in MTAL


The way time seems to be flying by these days, March 2008 seems like an eon ago.

Gasoline prices were on their way to a near $4 average nationwide. Several songs battled for the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts. Locally, the Gonzales High softball team enjoyed a 3-0 start in the Mission Trail Athletic League. Gonzales went on to finish 9-5 in MTAL play. That was Gonzales’ last winning record in league play.

The Spartans have had a difficult time since then trying to find a hot start.

After that 3-0 start in 2008, Gonzales had four consecutive 0-3 starts. Last season, the squad went 2-1 in their first three MTAL games, and that ended up being the highlight of another rough MTAL campaign.

But this year the Spartans have stunned the MTAL, winning their first three games to get into first place. The hot start has allowed the Spartans to get themselves into the mix in what is now a crowded MTAL.

On Thursday, the Spartans lost to Pacific Grove 6-0. But the loss did not drop Gonzales out of first place. Stevenson, about an hour earlier, had lost to Carmel.

The end result is Carmel, Gonzales, Pacific Grove and Stevenson all moving to 3-1 and a four-way tie for first.

If you thought the three-team MTAL girls basketball race was a wild one, it’s possible the softball season might top that.

We’ll have to wait to see how it unfolds. The MTAL takes next week off before resuming play. Gonzales will be back in the mix April 10 against Stevenson.

Champions honored

It was a night of champions during Tuesday night’s Salinas Union High School District Board of Trustees meeting.

Five teams were recognized for winning championships during the winter season. North Salinas’ girls basketball team was honored for winning the CCS Division I championship. Alisal’s boys soccer team was recognized for winning its second consecutive MBL Gabilan Division championship.

Alvarez had three teams honored during the presentation, with its boys basketball team, girls soccer team and wrestling team winning MBL Pacific Division titles.

Erlin sticks with Padres

Scotts Valley alum Robbie Erlin will get his opportunity with the San Diego Padres after the team announced Wednesday afternoon he has earned a spot on the starting pitching rotation.

Erlin has appeared in five Cactus League games so far, posting a 1.46 ERA in 1213 innings. He averaged a strikeout an inning.

It is likely that Erlin will be the No. 5 starter on the Padres. If that’s the case, his first start this season will be April 6 in Miami, and his first home start would be April 12 against Detroit.

There’s no word yet on Salinas’ Xavier Nady, who is trying to earn a spot with the team he started his career with. Nady is batting .340 this spring with five doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs. The Padres will likely use the final couple exhibition games this weekend before making a decision on Nady and other reserves.

D-League playoffs almost set

The Santa Cruz Warriors are on the brink of reaching the NBA D-League playoffs for a second consecutive season.

Last year’s finalists are a win and an Idaho Stampede loss away from reaching the playoffs.

As for who the Warriors are in line to face, that is still up in the air.

The D-League playoffs are different from all other postseason events, in which the three division champions all get to choose their first-round opponents, starting with the division winner with the best record. The two teams not picked would face each other.

Santa Cruz (26-19) is in second in the West Division and would need to leapfrog the Los Angeles D-Fenders (27-17) in its final five games to get that right.

The Warriors have three home games remaining: Sunday and Tuesday against the rival Bakersfield Jam, and April 4 against the Erie Bayhawks. If you haven’t checked out Kaiser Permanente Arena yet for a Warriors game or during the SCCAL or CCS boys basketball tournaments, it’s a good chance to go.

All-County teams are on the way

Last weekend, you got to check out the 10 players who made the 2014 All-County Boys Basketball Team.

On Saturday, we’ll have the presentation of the All-County Girls Basketball Team.

There are 11 female student-athletes we’ve chosen for this year’s team, all who were definite standouts on their team, as well as in the county.

You’ll also get a chance to read about the Player of the Year, who explains why a trip to Texas helped her get ready for this season.

The following two weekends, we’ll be unveiling the All-County boys and girls soccer teams.

Glenn Cravens is a sports reporter for The Salinas Californian. Contact him at or 754-4267. Follow him on Twitter at @glenn_salnews.


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