By Scott Ball, Cal Athletic Communications
Daulton Jefferies has experienced quite an odyssey on his way to becoming Cal’s Friday night starter, one that was nearly derailed by an accident on the baseball field more than a decade ago. But through his determined effort, he has not let the setback get in the way of his becoming a successful student-athlete at the University of California.
Jefferies’ story begins when he was an enthusiastic seven-year-old bat boy, who had started the day enjoying an ice cream sandwich, and was excited to help out the summer team of his older brother, Jake. The date was July 1, 2003 – a day Jefferies will never forget.
"It was during a pitching change in the middle of the game, and batters were warming up on deck," Jefferies explained. "I heard someone yell, ‘Daulton.’"
Jefferies had gotten too close and was struck in the face with a bat.
"The sound of the bat hitting my face was like someone hitting a metal pole," Jefferies said. "It didn’t hurt; there was just a lot of ringing in my ears. Then everything went black. I remember the grass hurting my face. I also remember Doug Fister (now a Major League pitcher with the Washington Nationals) putting his jacket over me and I heard the ambulance. I told my mother, Lisa, I was fine; then I passed out."
Jefferies was not fine. The blow to his head could have left him blind or even worse, been fatal. As a matter of superstition, Jefferies has not had an ice cream sandwich since.
"I had plastic surgery on my nose," Jefferies said. "The doctor said my nose was like a smashed potato chip. I ended up having two surgeries on my face and was in the hospital for nine days. For three days I couldn’t open my eyes. I remember a lot of people holding my hand."
Surprisingly, the accident on the baseball field did not diminish Jefferies’ love for the game. Soon after he got out of the hospital, he was ready to play again. Within a month, Jefferies was cleared by his doctor and was out practicing baseball with his friends, and another month later was playing shortstop in a little league game.
Part of Jefferies’ passion for the game derives from the encouragement of his dad, John, and the influence of his older brother, Jake, a talented catcher who would go on to be the first pick of the third round of the 2008 Major League Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. Jake ended up playing Triple A ball for both the Rays and Miami Marlins before retiring in 2012.
Senior Chris Paul led the Golden Bears past the USC Trojans, 7-2, with three hits and five runs batted in.
Cal captured second place at the 2015 Men' Crew Championship on Sunday at Gold River.
For the seventh time in eight years, the Cal women's crew program captured the conference title. The Bears defeated the Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars with 41 team points.
"It’s a little surreal," California head women’s crew coach Al Acosta said. "We have been doing the work and making progress all season. They deserve this. We had to shuffle line-ups yesterday with the stroke of the second varsity eight out, and I am proud of the way the team responded. Each boat had a really nice row. I love sitting on the finish line and seeing our team win. It was great to see Lindsay [Meltz] jump into Kendal’s [Chase] arms after the varsity eight won. It has been a pretty nice year so far."
Track & Field
Three Golden Bears made it to the podium during the second day of the 2015 Pac-12 Track and Field Championships at UCLA’s Drake Stadium Sunday. Cal’s top finishers included junior Thomas Joyce, who was the conference’s runner-up in the 1,500 with a time of 3:46.46, being edged by Washington’s Izaic Yorks’ mark of 3:46.42. Redshirt sophomore Ethan Cochran also was a conference runner-up, finishing second in the discus with a throw of 188-09 (57.54m).
California junior Courtney Range and incoming freshman Kristine Anigwe have been selected after this weekends trials to compete for USA Basketball in international competition this July.
National Football League
NFL Analyst Dameshek compiled his list of the NFL's best quarterbacks. It should be no surprise at who tops the list.
1) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
The (green and) gold standard resides on a different level than the rest.
Major League Baseball
Cal baseball alum Bryan Price was selected by Bruce Bochy to be one of two bench coaches for the NL All-Star team.