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Folsom Flames baseball returns

By: Brett Ransford, Telegraph Correspondent
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The Folsom Flames U19 baseball organization returned to competitive American Legion Baseball this season after a few years of hiatus. American Legion Baseball is a national youth baseball league founded in 1925 by American Legion, which is a large veterans service organization charted and incorporated by Congress in 1919. The history of the Folsom Flames stretches back to the 1990’s, but their league, District 6, is home to six teams, some as old as 40 or 50 years. District 6 includes powerhouse organizations like Yolo and Fair Oaks and also West Sacramento, Manhart and Lodi. Flames coach Scott Quesada rejoined the team this year, along with 18 high school and post-high school players from Folsom, Rancho Cordova, El Dorado and Union Mine. Since the ’90s, the Flames organization has been off and on, according to Quesada. He was the manager from 2006-2008 and is currently the Flames’ skipper. After a three-year break, the Flames are 12-21 overall (3-9 in District 6). They wrap their season this weekend in a double-elimination district tournament. The Folsom roster includes 10 California community college athletes, five university players and three that are still in high school. Injuries have been an issue this year. They have 12 active players and are short in supply of starting pitching. “With the exception of the injuries, we’ve had a great season,” said Quesada. “Nine innings of play really stretches out your pitching, especially when they’re coming from pitching, at most, seven innings in high school.” Travis Cox (Folsom High, Monterey Junior College), Andrew Erickson (Vista del Lago, UCLA) and Nathan Cross (Rancho Cordova, Sierra College) are the only three true pitchers on the team. Quesada’s son Tyler (Vista, University of Arizona) currently plays with the Flames. Michael Quesada, Scott’s oldest son, also played with the Flames in 2007 and Arizona. He was later drafted by the Minnesota Twins organization. “In a short amount of time [with the Flames], guys have gotten a lot of play in a condensed period of time, which really prepares them for college play,” said Quesada. The Flames discontinued in 2008 because local high schools promoted summer play internally. The main reason the team was able to bring on 18 players was the lack of summer programs at high schools this year, according to Quesada. Players have to adjust to wood bats, nine innings of play and a rough schedule. Teams may go five or six straight days of games without practicing. Standouts have been Jon Wong’s hitting. The Union Mine graduate is headed to Occidental College averaging .381 with a team-high four home runs, 20 runs batted in 26 games as a senior. Brian Barraclough from Vista is also among Quesada’s top performers. Barraclough hit .377 with 14 RBIs in his final high school season. Tyler Creason, Folsom graduate headed to Siskiyous in Weed, Calif., and Erickson were mentioned by Quesada for individual play this season. Erickson pitched his way into UCLA with a 1.77 ERA in 14 appearances—four games started—with the Eagles. “The Legion experience has been a good transition between our high school seasons and the next level and most of the players on the team are playing ball at the next level,” said Creason, who In his senior year with the Bulldogs, hit .297 with 15 RBI and 10 runs. Quesada hopes to win at least three games in a possible five-game district tournament this weekend.