SBCC baseball coach Jeff Walker credited a knock on the head for helping his baseball team win a key game against Ventura on Saturday.
Walker took a foul ball to the head while standing in the on-deck circle talking to a player, “which was totally my fault,” he said at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.
The Vaqueros won the game 6-1 to improve to 14-7 in the Western State Conference North Division and 17-16 overall.
“That probably explains why we won Saturday because I wasn’t thinking full on all my cylinders,” he cracked.
The victory clinched second place for the Vaqueros, who are two games out of first.
“This is the sixth straight year SBCC baseball has finished first or second in the WSC North,” he said.
The Vaqueros have three games remaining this week (at Ventura on Tuesday, at Hancock on Thursday and home against Hancock on Friday) and need one win to secure a playoff spot for the sixth straight year.
Westmont: The Warriors (39-7) need one win at Menlo this weekend to clinch the outright regular season championship in the GSAC and be the host team for the conference tournament next week, starting May 9.
The Warriors will host the opening round of the NAIA National Tournament, starting May 17. Five teams will play in a double-elimination format, with the champion earning a berth in the NAIA World Series.
Westmont has never advanced to the World Series.
Dos Pueblos: Coach George Hedricks made his luncheon debut and brought Gio Macias, Davey Demeter and Dustin Demeter, the Athlete of the Week.
“They’re our 1-2-3 hitters,” Hedricks said. “Our offene goes through them. Gio gets on base, Davey moves him over and Dustin drives him in. I like simple math, that’s good for me.”
Dustin Demeter leads the teams in hits, RBIs, home runs and doubles after a slow start. “That’s attributed to his work ethic,” said Hedricks of the Hawaii-bound third baseman, who belted three home runs and had seven RBIs last week in a win at Buena.
Gio Macias has been a terrific lead-off hitter. “He gets on base and sets up the rest of our offense,” Hedricks said. He’s also come through as a pitcher. He has two saves and earned a win in his first start at Buena.
Davy Demeter earned back the starting job at second base and has flourished. “He’s raised his batting average by 200 points since he won back the job,” Hedricks said. “He fought very hard to stay where he’s at. I’m not surprised he has that work ethic.”
Hedricks has the Chargers (14-6) in first place in the Channel League with a 4-2 record. They have a two-game set with San Marcos this week.
Santa Barbara: Coach Donny Warrecker complimented DP’s Dustin Demeter for his three-homer against Buena and signing with the University of Hawaii.
“A three-bomb game is something really special,” he said.
On Demeter going to Hawaii, he said, “Having a local player go D1 is just good for the community.”
On his team, Warrecker said the “season has been a roller-coaster ride.”
The Dons are 4-4 in league and 8-7 overall.
“We have to find consistency in our play,” he said. “We want to make it to the playoffs. We’ve made it 16 straight years.”
Warrecker noted that ace pitcher Kevin Gowdy has pitched 21 consecutive scoreless innings and has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 63-2.
He introduced first baseman Carter Soto and second baseman Lucas Grandcolas. He said Soto has responded well to a switch from the clean-up spot to No. 5 in the batting order. “He’s faced adversity and overcome it.”
Grandcolas has become a “rock-solid” defensive second baseman after hardly playing last season.
UCSB: Assistant coach Vince Devany said the Gauchos had a small chance at an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament after they lost at top-seeded BYU in five sets in the MPSF Tournament semifinals last week.
Long Beach State was picked and will join UCLA and BYU in the tournament.
Devany introduced senior middle and co-captain Ryan Hardy, who had a huge part in the team’s postseason run. He hit .733 with 12 kills in a quarterfinal win at Stanford and had 15 kills on a .778 hitting percentage against BYU. Hardy was named to the MPSF All-Tournament team.
San Marcos: With the senior prom on Saturday night, coach Jon Newton let the JV team play in the last match of the Karch Kiraly Tournmaent of Champions
Newton introduced three members of his varsity squad: athletic middle blocker Grant Smith, feisty libero Ben Beifuss and energetic outside hitter Davis Schell.
The Royals have the week off and will use it to prepare for the CIF Playoffs.
Santa Barbara: Assistant coach Spencer Barr did the calculations and said the Dons have practiced at SBCC for 21 years. He noted the high school plans to break ground in June on the new Peabody Stadium, which will include a full track
“In two years we hope to be competing and practicing at Santa Barbara High,” he said.
Barr brought juniors Kiasa Salgado and Sam Johnson, sophomore Janelle Knight and senior Natasha Feshbach. He said Salgado, the two-time county champion in the 300 hurdles, has the range to run sprints and middle distance. Johnson set PRs in the 800 and 1600 at Saturday’s county championships
Knight is regaining her sprinting speed after being hampered by a hamstring injury. The Yale-bound Feshbach broke her own meet record in winning the 100 hurdles (14.40) at the county championships and set a record in the long jump (18-4).
San Marcos: The Royals won three of four divisions to claim the grand sweepstakes at the county championships for the second straight year. Erica Schroeder led the way with runaway wins in the 1600 and 800.
“You almost thought it was two races because she’s so far ahead of everyone else,” said coach Marilyn Hantgin, who also brought sprinter Matthew Hempy, middle distance runner Delaney Werner, hurdler-long jumper Davis Mullin and thrower Alana Ochoa. Ochoa won the shot put and discus at the county meet.
“That’s really impressive to win both, especially with North County teams being strong in the throws,” said Hantgin.
Werner won the 400 at the county meet and Mullin set PRs in the 110 and 300 hurdles and the long jump
The Royals finish the dual meet season at Dos Pueblos on Thursday.
Carpinteria: Assistant coach Weldon Nomura thanked the volunteers for their work at the Russell Cup and Santa Barbara County Championship before introducing athletes Mikaela Keefer, Monique Sanchez and Chance Wright.
Keefer, a distance runner, is rounding into form after recovering from illness, Nomura said. Sanchez, a pole vaulter and sprinter, is the latest in a long line of Sanchez family members to play sports at Carpinteria High.
Wright won the 110 hurdles and recorded a PR at the county championships. Nomura said he only started hurdling last year.
“They’re putting Carpinteria on the map with their success,” he said of the three athletes.
Westmont: The Warriors will host the GSAC Championships on Thursday and Friday.
San Marcos: Coach Jeff Swann said the Royals spent part of their bye week helping out with the DP Challengers, a baseball program for youngsters with physical, developmental and /or intellectual challenges.
Swann introduced three of his veteran players: Sienna Berlinger, Michelle Henderson and Hailee Rios. Berlinger is a three-year varsity player who hits the ball hard and Henderson is in her third year of playing softball and has no fear at the plate. Rios is the Royals’ leading hitter with .519 average, 8 homers, 20 runs and 30 RBIs.
“She hits the ball so hard she deforms some of our hitting balls,” said Swann of Rios.
Santa Barbara: Coach Tori Shyrock introduced outfielder and designated hitter Jasmine Heras and shortstop Monica Ramos.
SBCC: The Vaqueros are waiting to see if they receive a berth in the Southern California Regionals. They finished at 28-11, one of the program’s best records in history. The 28 wins rank second in school history.
Monica Salas, a former Dos Pueblos star, is the team’s leading hitter with a .429 average.
— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.