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Athletic Round Table: CIF Section, State Regional Champs Carpinteria Soccer Honored For Resilience

Carpinteria boys soccer team honored at the SB Round Table luncheon. Click to view larger
The Carpinteria boys soccer team won both the CIF Southern Section Division 6 Championship and the State Regional title.  (JC Corliss/Noozhawk photo)

Months after the Thomas Fire and the Montecito mudslides forced the cancellation of several games and practice time, the Carpinteria boys soccer team was honored for its resilient season at Monday's Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.

Carpinteria won both the CIF-SS Division 6 Championship and the Division 5 State Regional title, becoming the first team in the county to complete the CIF Double. The Warriors defeated Rubidoux in both championship games. Midfielder Gabe Barajas was named the Division 6 Player of the Year.

Since the end of their dramatic season in mid-March, the Warriors have received their fair share of community appreciation. 

"Now we're in the sweet part," assistant coach Ryan Warner said. "Carpinteria is literally coming around and celebrating these guys in an awesome way."

The team has been honored at parades, assemblies and a city council meeting appearance on Monday night. 

"These guys deserve it," Warner said. "And, I'm hoping that at this part of the journey the season's not over. Your memory of it keeps going. The best part is seeing these guys walk through town and seeing the next generation look up to them." 

BASEBALL

SBCC

Jake Holton, who was announced as the male Athletes of the Week, couldn't make it to Monday's event because of an afternoon class. 

"He is a student athlete and he certainly isn't a guy to pass up a free meal, if you know Jake," said coach Jeff Walker. 

With eight saves, Holton tied an SBCC record during a 2-1 win over Hancock. What made the feat more difficult — and more impressive — is that the Vaqueros have played four fewer games this season than normal. Walker cited budgetary and scheduling concerns as the cause. 

"It's really tough to break some of (our) statistics with four less games," he said. "So, just very impressive what Jake did." 

SBCC stands at 6-5 in conference play, which, Walker noted, "doesn't sound that cool, but we are in a three-way tie, which is kind of what our conference looks like every year. "We're hoping for the same thing because for the past seven years we've finished first or second." 

Dos Pueblos

The Chargers (12-2) have rattled off 11 straight wins and picked up a tournament title in San Luis Obispo last week.

Coach George Hedricks brought Jason "Jed" Donelan, senior center fielder and the team's leadoff hitter. Coming onto varsity as a sophomore, Donelan has worked hard to lock down the leadoff spot, Hedricks said. He's second on the team in batting average at .400, while leading the team in runs scored. He also had three RBIs in the title game at SLO. 

Hedricks said Evan Kling uses his left-hand batting to drive Donelan and other players around the bases and bring them home. Behind the plate, Kling has started at catcher for every inning. 

"He doesn't get a lot of time off, but he also doesn't complain about it," said Hedricks 

Dos Pueblos will host San Marcos and visit St. Bonaventure this week. 

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara (7-6) went from ecstasy to agony at the Anaheim tournament, winning a doubleheader to start but lost three in a row to a number of highly ranked teams. Coach Donny Warrecker said the games were good practice for league. 

Warrecker said giving up runs early will necessitate a huge adjustment going forward. 

Junior Kai Uchio's dad once taught Warrecker seventh grade science at Santa Barbara Junior High, which Warrecker called "full circle" for the player and coach. Uchio is a "natural" second baseman, Warrecker said, but has transitioned well to shortstop. He went 3-4 against San Marcos, hitting a triple, a single and another left-side single.

To top it off, Uchio is a "wonderful" student as well, Warrecker said. 

Sophomore Nick Oakley is a third-generation Don — his grandfather, dad and mom all attended Santa Barbara. 

In his varsity debut last week against San Marcos, Oakley rose to the occasion, hitting 3-4 with 4 RBI.

"A total gamer," Warrecker said. 

The Dons have an away game at Buena on Tuesday and then host Buena on Friday.

Westmont

The Warriors (26-13) are blazing through their season, ranked No. 26 in the NAIA. 

They beat The Master's, 11-9, in a rain make-up game. Coach Robert Ruiz noted that "pretty much anything you can imagine happening in a baseball game happened that day." After blowing a three-run lead, Westmont rallied back to nab two runs off the opposing closer late in the ninth. 

"It was a messy game, over four hours," Ruiz said. "We found a way to win. It's good when you can come out on top."

Westmont hosted the nation's No. 8 team, William Jessup, on Friday. They lost the first of the series, but the Warriors bounced back to win two on Saturday, getting a series win against the first-place team in the GSAC and earned a postseason playoff berth.

For the second time of Ruiz's coaching career, his players turned a triple play against Jessup. Luke Coffey, playing at third, snagged a groundball sailing to his right, which he threw to senior second baseman Michael Stefanic, who threw to Travis Vander Molen at first to complete the sequence. 

Westmont plays a non-conference game Tuesday before heading up to Menlo for a conference series.

SOFTBALL

San Marcos 

It's been a couple of weeks since the Royals had played a game, thanks to a rainy stretch and time off due to spring break. Right out of the gates, the team played Dos Pueblos, which coach Jeff Swann confessed he was dreading, since the rivalry matchup would be an intense return to the field. 

But the team responded well, Swann said. Hailey Fryklund drove in three runs as the Royals pulled it out. 

Against Santa Barbara the next day, it was Fryklund's younger sister, Allie, who shone, as the freshman pitched five innings and hit a home run. Then, in a tough 1-0 loss to Santa Paula, the Fryklund sisters each had a homer that was called foul. 

Swann introduced the Fryklund sisters — Hailey is a senior and Allie is a sophomore. Hailey is hitting .333 and leads the team in on-base percentage. Allie has some huge stats, including one of the highest home-run totals on the team. 

Swann noted that the sistersare "each other's biggest cheerleaders."  

San Marcos will play Ventura twice and Buena once this week.

Dos Pueblos

Coach Jon Uyesaka said he has a game plan for the next time Dos Pueblos plays San Marcos. 

"I think the next time we load the bases and Hailey's up, we're just going to give you a pass," Uyesaka said to Hailey Fryklund, who cleared the bases with a double that led the Royals to a 4-1 win.

The Chargers bounced back on Thursday with a big doubleheader sweep against Righetti. Athlete of the Week Sierra Laughner picked up the team's pace by hitting two three-run homers in each game. 

Saturday was the team's biggest test. After a brutal 16-0 romp at the hands of Newbury Park, Uyesaka said he was out of words to tell his players. It was one of the team's biggest losses in years. 

"We just ripped the scoresheet out of the book and threw it away and said: 'You know what, we've just got to forget this one and move on,'" he said. 

Facing the same lineup, the Chargers buckled down on their pitching came away with a 1-0 win, allowing only three hits.

Jessica Yamasaki hit the game-winning single against Newbury Park.

The coach introduced Mason Boyle, who returned from an injury and had a few hard hits against Righetti.

"Just an overall great leader on the field and the highest softball IQ on the team," Uyesaka said of Boyle.

Dos Pueblos (5-5) gets another week and a half off before returning to the field.  

VOLLEYBALL

UCSB

The 11th-ranked Gauchos suffered two tough defeats to Hawaii over the weekend. In a three-set loss on Friday, junior outside hitter Corey Chavers put away 13 balls and hit .370. 

While UCSB showed up with more fight on Saturday, the but team couldn't weather the Rainbow Warriors' storm as it was outlasted in four sets. Chavers impressed again, logging .292 hitting average with 21 kills.

UCSB (10-11, 3-5) dipped below .500 as Big West play nears the end. The Gauchos wrap up conference play with a pair against UC Irvine, one at home and one away.

San Marcos Boys

The Royals took down Arroyo Grande in three sets last week. The biggest reason, coach Kyle Benskin said, were the two players he brought with him: senior middle Levi Taylor and junior setter Tanner Stevens. 

The two co-captains collaborate to lead the team, Benskin said.  Taylor is the emotional leader and pulls the team through both practices and games with his fire. Stevens is major focal point of the offense. 

San Marcos takes on Santa Barbara and Buena this week. 

SWIMMING 

Santa Barbara 

Coach Mark Walsh brought four freshmen players in all (two girls and two boys). All of them are coming off water polo seasons. Questions loomed with their transition to swim, he said: Could they legally swim backstroke, or freestyle, or any event, for that matter? 

But as a pleasant surprise, they can all compete and excel at the varsity level. 

Elise Power swims the 200 IM and 500 free, while Bella Obando earned her way on to the varsity by doubling down on her backstroke skills. Walsh was impressed with her backstroke form while watching her play water polo. He then saw beat varsity swimmers in practice

"We got to one of our (swim) practices and she was beating one of our top backstrokers, so I thought, 'Maybe we should try her in a meet,'" Walsh said. "The next thing you know, she's our best backstroker. It's nice when you can find your fastest person out of nowhere.”

Bronson Blix was tearing it up as a JV swimmer, so Walsh brought him up to varsity and he's continued to do well.

"He just killed everybody," Walsh said of Blix's performances at a JV meet. "He won by like 20 seconds, which is a lot in a swim event. I thought, 'Oh wow, that's a pretty good time.' And then once he beat two of our varsity boys, I thought, 'Oh, that's a really good time!' So, now he's no longer a JV player."

Jordan Hayes had some swimming background and he's taken on some of the more difficult events, including the butterfly, 200 IM and breaststroke. 

"It's just really nice to have a freshman you can throw into those difficult events and have them score points immediately," Walsh said. 

The team will take nine varsity swimmers down to the Mt. SAC Invitational next week. 

Dos Pueblos Boys 

The girls were busy with school, so dual coach Kendall Kuga introduced the co-captains of the boys team on Monday. 

Kyle Faison came over from basketball and he broke 52 seconds this week in the 100 free. The other co-captain, Jason Teng, has excelled at the 200 and 100 freestyles. 

The Chargers have meets against Buena and Santa Barbara this week.

San Marcos Boys 

The Royals got road matchups against top-level aquatics programs. A meet against Foothill was a reminder that "there's a lot of work to do," said coach Jeff Ashton. 

Sacred Heart prep was a down-to-the wire meet, with a handful of relays deciding the fate of the matchup. San Marcos' B-relay fell a breath short as Sacred Heart took a two-point win. 

Ashton brought two of the A-relay swimmers who won a tight race against Sacred Heart.

Junior Tristan Depew is part of two relays that received CIF qualification times and he's eyeing a handful of individual school records. Sophomore Hunter May swims in the 200 IM, the 500 freestyle and "anything we ask him to," Ashton said. May also took part in the CIF-qualifying relays

San Marcos hosts Santa Barbara on Thursday before traveling to the Mt SAC Invitational.

TENNIS

Santa Barbara

Coach Danny Echt introduced No. 1 playe Noah Ostevany, who has been a "fantastic technician and incredible ball-striker," he said.

A co-captain, Ostevany is 8-7 on the season and has vastly improved his serve, Echt added. 

Junior No. 2 Taylor Klein anchors the No. 1 doubles duo, carrying a major weight of responsibility, Echt said. Klein is 13-2 and has flexed over to singles, sweeping Dos Pueblos on Friday. 

"I think he's learning to be as patient with himself as he is with his doubles partner," Echt quipped.  

Ostevany-Klein will compete in doubles for Santa Barbara (3-2, 1-1) at the historic Ojai Invitational, later this month.

Noozhawk sports reporter Shomik Mukherjee can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @noozhawksports, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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