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SportStories, Ep. 8 | Thundering Heights SportStories, Ep. 8 | Thundering Heights
Five Guests Revisit Coach Jeff Carlson’s Elk Grove High Baseball Dynasty That Produced Eight Section Titles And Eight Major Leaguers In Just A 16-Year... SportStories, Ep. 8 | Thundering Heights

Five Guests Revisit Coach Jeff Carlson’s Elk Grove High Baseball Dynasty That Produced Eight Section Titles And Eight Major Leaguers In Just A 16-Year Span •

Dynasties are not particularly rare in high school sports.

Even though rosters are always changing as classes graduate and others come in, if there’s a consistent and well-supported coaching staff that can teach the game and effectively motivate payers, it just takes a couple winning seasons for a culture of success to take root. 

However, there are dynasties, and then there’s what the Elk Grove High School baseball program produced from 2002-2017. The newest SportStories Podcast episode pays tribute to that run and the coach that guided it.

In a 16-year span, the Thundering Herd appeared in 10 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I finals. They won 8 of them. And eight players from that era became Major League baseball players. The 2013 team alone had five future Big Leaguers on its roster. 

Jeff Carlson‘s accomplishments at Elk Grove seem unlikely to be matched in Northern California anytime soon — certainly not by a public school. 

What did it take to fuel such an incredible run of success? What was it like playing for a program with such a mind-bending pool of talent? How was the view from the other dugout?

We rounded up Carlson, his younger son Tanner who now plays at Long Beach State, former Davis High coach Dan Ariola, journalist and former radio personality Mark Kreidler whose son Ryan played at Davis is now in the Detroit Tigers organization, and finally longtime Sacramento Bee high school sports editor Joe Davidson.

Grab some peanuts or sunflower seeds, kick back and listen for memories and anecdotes of a true baseball juggernaut.   

Find and follow/subscribe to the podcast on the following sites: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Pocket Casts and Radio Public. Visit the podcast’s home site of Anchor to leave us a voice message about the episode, or to suggest a topic of your own.

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Chace Bryson

Chace Bryson is the managing editor of SportStars Magazine. Reach him at Chace@SportStarsMag.com

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