Ridiculous leap over catcher propels improbable prep baseball upset

Ben Rohrbach
Prep Rally

Not only did Elk Grove (Calif.) Franklin High upset The Sacramento Bee's top-ranked prep baseball team, but junior star Sean Nicholson made Davis (Calif.) High look silly.

Scoring amid a seven-run barrage in the top of the seventh inning, Nicholson leaped Davis catcher Hayden Duer in what The Bee aptly dubbed "a SportsCenter-like highlight," sealing a 12-3 upset of the top-seeded Blue Devils in the Division I sectional playoffs.

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Franklin should never have even been in that position. Despite entering the sectional tourney with a 14-13 record, they've since won 3-of-4 postseason games -- including upset wins over Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) and Davis -- to improve to 17-14.

And Nicholson almost wasn't even on Franklin. This past summer, he transferred from crosstown rival Elk Grove -- the team that sent the Wildcats to the losers bracket despite a Nicholson RBI in a 9-6 second-round defeat on Saturday. California Interscholastic Federation rules prevented Nicholson from joining Franklin's baseball team until April 1.

Nicholson's arrival has clearly provided Franklin with a much-needed boost. The Wildcats were 5-6 in March, and they're 12-8 since he joined the team on April 5, including a 7-1 stretch over their last eight games -- capped of course by Nicholson's ridiculous leaping score during a 2-for-4, two-run afternoon for the junior utility player.

Nicholson is now batting .309 with 15 RBI and 15 runs scored in 19 games this season, collecting five runs and three RBI in his team's sectional playoff run. He hit just .184 in 52 at-bats as a sophomore for Elk Grove last season. Maybe he needed the change, too.

If Franklin can pull off yet another upset of yet another crosstown rival against Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, Calif.) High on Thursday, Nicholson will get another shot at his former team in the sectional semifinals on Saturday. Maybe he'll even jump them as well.

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