Pixel Tracker

Monday, January 21 , 2019, 3:18 pm | Fair 63º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
Santa Barbara Athletic Round TableThe LabAmerican Riviera Bank
Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table

Catcher Samsun Keithley’s Recovery a Blessing for Santa Barbara Baseball

San Marcos coach Marilyn Hantgin, second from left, brought CIF-bound track athletes, front row, from left, Olivia Jones, Jenny Nnoli, Allie Jones, (back row) Tyson Miller and Jason Peterson to Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.
San Marcos coach Marilyn Hantgin, second from left, brought CIF-bound track athletes, front row, from left, Olivia Jones, Jenny Nnoli, Allie Jones, (back row) Tyson Miller and Jason Peterson to Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

First-year Santa Barbara High baseball coach Donny Warrecker wasn’t sure he’d have an experienced catcher at the start of the season.

His worries were eased by the quick recovery of Samsun Keithley.

Keithley will be behind the plate this week when the Dons twice play rival San Marcos with a shot at winning the Channel League title at stake.

Going into the week, Santa Barbara (6-4) was a half-game behind Dos Pueblos (6-3). The Chargers play three games against Ventura this week.

“This end of the year is ending up really exciting for us,” Warrecker said at Monday’s final Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon of the school year.

Having Keithley in the lineup has been a blessing for Warrecker and the Dons, because there was time when they didn’t know who would be playing catcher.

“It was really dicey at the beginning of the season,”Warrecker said. “Samsun was out with an appendicitis. His appendix burst on him and he had surgery. Our other catcher was going for a fly ball during batting practice, slid, got kneed in the head and suffered a concussion. It knocked him out for the rest of the season.”

Warrecker was facing a big problem. He had a big-time pitcher in Kevin Gowdy but no catcher.

“I called Sam in the hospital and said, ‘You got to get well soon. We need a catcher or we’re in dire straits,’’’ he recalled.

Keithley recovered in time and has caught every inning for the Dons.

“The big thing is he receives the ball really well,” Warrecker said. “He blocks (the plate) well, and he’s super coachable. We’re very fortunate he came back for us.”

He’s also provided some key hits in last two games.

Warrecker also acknowledged the contributions of Joey Arroyo.

“He’s the ultimate teammate. He roots on his teammates, he doesn’t pout about his circumstance. This is the reason why I’m coaching, this big picture thing. In the future, he’s going to go on and baseball is probably not going to be part that, but I know that the  lessons he’s learned by being part of the program he’s going to continue to be a great person and is going to be a great contributing member to society in the future.”

Carpinteria: Freshman left-hander Chase Mayer and catcher Toby Spach have been key players for the CIF-bound Warriors. They play a two-game series with Malibu this week and look to clinch third place in league.


San Marcos: Coach Jarrod Bradley praised senior team captain Christo Anderson for being a natural leader. Anderson, the ASB President, is going to USC. He carries a 4.7 GPA.

Bradley talked about how fortunate he is to coach a player as talented and hard working as Kento Perera, the three-time Channel League champion.

“He sets the bar at a totally new level in terms of preparation and practice,” Bradley said of Perera’s tennis and academics. He carries  4.8 GPA.  “He’s an absolutely impeccable young man I’m very fortunate to have him at San Marcos. To be able to watch him play… I don’t do a whole of coaching when you’re 26-0.”

The Royals will travel to Harvard Westlake on Wednesday for their first-round CIF Division 1 playoff match.

Santa Barbara High: Coach Greg Tebbe introduced the doubles team of Tyler Greenwald and Taggart Mills and Channel League singles runner-up Spencer Ekola. All three players are team captains.

Greenwald posted records of 32-9 and 12-1 in Channel League. He’s headed to the University of Texas in Austin. Mills went 33-10 and 15-0 in league, completing a two-year unbeaten record in Channel League (he went 24-0 last year). He will be attending Elon University in North Carolina.

Ekola went 30-14, 14-2 and qualified for the CIF Sectionals.

“This guys are outstanding representatives of Santa Barbara High School. They’re great competitors, terrific teammates and displayed outstanding sportsmanship at all times. I’m proud to be their coach,” said Tebbe.

Santa Barbara went 13-5 in the regular season and 8-0 in Channel League. The  league title was the 16th in a row. Tebbe said when he was a senior on the 1981 SBHS team, the Dons won a 16th straight league championship. The program has won 48 of the last 49 titles.  

“It’s kind of cool to be part of that,” he said.

The Dons open the CIF Division 1 playoffs at home Wednesday against Newbury Park.

Dos Pueblos: Coach Liz Frech expressed her amazement on how her young squad finished 11-6 and earned a CIF playoff spot. The Chargers are home Wednesday against Viewpoint.

“This young team has stepped up in every way,” she said. “We’re fortunate to have the record we have at 11-6. It should have been reversed. Added to that, they’re a very close team.”

She introduced the doubles team of sophomore Vincent Villano and junior Miles Baldwin, the Channel League runners-up.

Carpinteria: The Warriors finished fourth in the Tri-Valley League behind the leadership of juniors Jeremy Saito and Jacob Ascencio.

UCSB: Men’s assistant Blake Muller said the Big West-champion Gauchos face Georgia Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at USC.


San Marcos: Coach Jeff Swann said the scenario looked good for his team to finish third and earn a CIF playoff spot. The Royals are 16-10 and 6-6 in Channel League.

“Ventura would have to beat DP three times this week for us to be out of the playoffs,” he said. “That seems unlikely, especially because DP needs to win all three to take first place. They’re motivated to win. It’s a good scenario for us.”

Swann said freshman middle infielder Sinai Miranda “plays her spot great” and always has a smile on her face.

Hailey Fryklund homered in big wins over Dos Pueblos and Ventura to put the Royals in position to make the playoffs.

“She’s been hitting the ball great all year,” said Swann.

Santa Barbara: Coach Tori Shyrock lauded the play and dedication of  junior outfielder Alexa Zampese and sophomore pitcher Katie Firestone. Zampese came back to the team after a major injury and Firestone stepped up and learned pitching.

SBCC: The Vaqueros clinched their first regional playoff series in program history, beating Grossmont two games to one over the weekend. They advance to a four-team Super Regional and open against No. 2 Santiago Canyon on Friday. At 30-12, one more victory would tie the school record for wins.

UCSB: The Gauchos are coming off a sweep against UC Davis and are tied for the third in the Big West, one game out of second.

“We’re peaking at the right time,” coach Brie Galiciano said. “I just wish it would have come a little bit earlier.”

The coach brought senior pitcher Ashley Ludlow freshman hurler Veronika Gulvin of Dos Pueblos High.

Bishop Diego: Assistant coach Mike Cano lauded the play and dedication of freshmen Kate Bensian, Taylor Woodward and Miranda Alvarez. The Cardinals finished 4-6 in the Frontier League and 5-11 overall.

Carpinteria: Sierra Diaz has been dubbed “Miss Consistency” and Jayme Deneault “Miss Enthusiasm” by coach Henry Gonzalez, Carpinteria athletic director Pat Cooney reported.


San Marcos: The Royals won 15 of the 32 varsity titles contested at the Channel League Championships in Ventura last Friday.

“That was a great showing,” she said.

Hantgin brought senior and sophomore members of the team. The seniors were Olivia Jones and Tyson Miller and the sophomores Allie Jones, Jennifer Nnoli and Jason Peterson.

Hangtin called Peterson’s victory in the 800 the “race of the day,” as he beat the traditionally strong runners from Ventura and Buena. “He went out and looked really good and ran his personal best (1:58),” said Hantgin.

Carpinteria assistant track coach Weldon Nomura is joined by CIF qualifiers Ava Groper, Daniel Burquez and Wyatt Stevenson. Click to view larger
Carpinteria assistant track coach Weldon Nomura is joined by CIF qualifiers Ava Groper, Daniel Burquez and Wyatt Stevenson. (Barry Punzal/ Noozhawk photo)

Nnoli swept the sprints and joined Jones on the winning 4x100 relay team.  Hantgin said Nnoli’s 25.03 time in the 200 passed the 1991 school record of Barbie Jones and her 100 time of 12.10 is second all-time at the school.

Allie Jones’ second-place 100 hurdles time of 14.72 is No. 2 all-time at San Marcos.

Hantgin said Olivia Jones “was the glue we needed this to see how far how relays can go.” She’s headed to UC Davis on a soccer scholarship.

Miller, who is headed to the University of Chicago, is going to the CIF Prelims as league champion in the 400 and 200 and part of the 4x400 relay team. He is a repeat champion in the 400.

San Marcos will be taking 25 athletes to the Division 2 Prelims at Moorpark on Saturday.

Carpinteria: Ava Groper, Wyatt Stevenson and Daniel Burquez qualified for this Saturday’s CIF Division 4 Prelims, which Carpinteria is hosting.

Groper is a first-time qualifier in the long jump and triple jump. Stevenson, a sophomore became Carpinteria’s first league champion in the 100 in 34 years. He also runs on the 4x100 relay.

“His upside is huge,” said assistant coach Weldon Nomura.

Daniel Burquez qualified in the triple jump. Nomura said Burquez is a “track junkie” and his dedication and passion are showing in his results. It also helps that he’s pushed by teammates Tim Jimenez and Ryan Springer every day in training, Nomura said.


Santa Barbara Royals: Steve Heinze, a former NHL player with the Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings, spoke about the local team that won the championship of the inaugural Los Angeles Kings High School Hockey League.

The Royals were a regional team that consisted of 13 players from San Marcos, one from Santa Barbara and one from Dos Pueblos. The team went 15-0-1 and won the league title at Staples Center, home of the L.A. Kings.

“I inherited some very good players,” said Heinze.

Jack Johnson of San Marcos was named the league’s MVP, Will Hahn of Santa Barbara was the best goaltender and Chris Ewausik of San Marcos was recognized as the best sportsman in the league.

Heinze announced that tryouts for the next season will be in August and the season will begin in September.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >