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Round Table Press Luncheon: Dos Pueblos Fired Up for Big Baseball Series Against Santa Barbara

Evan Boger, and Marc Gamberdella Click to view larger
Evan Boger was presnted the Scholar Athlete of the Year Award for Providence by award sponsor Marc Gamberdella. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

It was Monday, but Dos Pueblos baseball coach George Hedricks was wishing it was Tuesday because that’s the day the Chargers and Santa Barbara High start their three-game series for first place in the Channel League.

“I’m excited,” Hedricks said on the eve of Game 1 at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe. “It’s hard to even wait for these games. We’re all anxious and looking forward to it.”

The first game is at DP’s Scott O’Leary Field at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday. Games 2 and 3 are at Santa Barbara’s Eddie Mathews Field. 

Going into the series, DP is 17-2, 5-0 in league and riding a 16-game winning streak. Santa Barbara, winners of its last five games, is 11-6 and 6-0 in league.

Hedricks brought probably the hottest hitter in the area in senior Isaac Coffey. Last week, he hit three homers in a game and pitched a two-hit shutout in another game. 

“Isaac’s week was monstrous to say the least,” Hedricks said of his senior co-captain. “But it’s something he’s been doing for me all year. It was highlighted because you don’t see three home runs in a game very often.”

Coffey is batting .483 and is getting on base all the time,” Hedricks said. “He sets our offense, he paces our offense. He was a big example of that last week.”

DP third baseman Chris Abbott is coming into his own after missing most of last season with a knee injury and surgery. 

“He’s battled a lot of adversity, but he worked his butt off to get back on the field this year,” Hedricks said of his senior co-captain.

The coach noted that Abbott was so anxious to play again, it effected his batting rhythm earlier in the season. He’s now in a groove.

“We talked and he’s really come on at the right time,” Hedricks said. “He’s got his average up 100 points to where it was around the .300 mark. Pretty much every offensive category has tripled. I couldn’t be happier for him.”

Santa Barbara

Dons coach Donny Warrecker is happy to see the improved swing from junior Nick Dallow.

“I kind of bagged on Nick last year on a swing that was super ugly,” Warrecker said. “It’s polished now. His swing is sweet.”

Dallow is Santa Barbara’s leader in extra-base hits, RBI and his second on the team in  was and on-base percentage.

“He has more walks than strikeouts. It’s plate discipline for him and it’s been successful. I would like to see that continue this week,” said Warrecker.

The Dons got a big boost with the return of Tommy Holguin at shortstop. The senior missed several games with a broke bone in his throwing hand.  He made a spectacular play up the middle Friday against San Marcos to show that his was fully recovered from the injury

“It was a major league-caliber play and it was the third out of the inning and it really fired up our team,” said Warrecker. The Dons won 3-1 to complete a sweep of the Royals.

Warrecker said Holguin will bat this week.

“He couldn’t come back at a better time. His hand is basically healed, so he’ll be back on offense for us this week, with is obviously a real big week because we’re facing DP.”

The first game of the three-game series is at DP on Tuesday at 3:15 p.m.


The Warriors (33-14) won their last seven games and finished second in the GSAC.  They’ll be the No. 2 seed in next week’s GSAC Tournament at Vanguard.

Senior Michael Stefanic is have a fantastic season, batting .401. He has a career average at .365 and is the career leader in runs, hits, doubles, total bases and hit by a pitch.


Dos Pueblos

Coach Liz Frech announced that the Channel League individual tournament will be held at the DP courts, starting Monday at 2:30 p.m.

The season has been quite a learning experience for the young Chargers, said Frech. But the future looks bright with players like Hayden Carlson and Aaron Juan.

Carlson, who also plays soccer, has had some success playing doubles. Juan won matches against Arroyo Grande and Arroyo Grande and the pair took two solid sets in doubles against Stockdale of the Central Section.

Santa Barbara High

Coach Danny Echt said Mason Lender and Max Mendoza have excelled in doubles for the Dons. Lender plays No. 1 doubles. 

“He’s a great doubles partner. He stays focused, attacks well and plays with a lot of energy,” said Echt.

He said Mendoza “is a solid competitor. He’s easy going and has a great return of serve.”

The two played together and won a 6-2 set against a strong Arroyo Grande team that gave Santa Barbara the edge in total games after a 9-9 tie in sets.

“It was really nice to see leaders like this play like that and show a lot of courage,” said Echt.


Men’s coach Mark Basham said both the men’s and women’s teams are hoping to get at-large berths to the NAIA National Tournament. 

The women are ranked 15th and the men 16th. Twenty-four teams make each tournament.



The Gauchos’ season was ended in the first round of the Big West Tournament.

Assistant coach Vince Devany said they return everyone next season and will bring in nine new players “that we think can help our squad.”

He announced that volleyball coaching legends Kathy Gregory and Ken Preston are being inducted into the UCSB Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday at the Lobero Theater.

Santa Barbara High

The Dons beat San Marcos in the consolation final of the Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions, and coach Chad Arneson more fans were watching the match than the tournament championship between Corona del Mar and Buchanan, which was going on at the same time.

“You don’t want to play somebody from your own league, but this was important for us because they beat us last week,” Arneson said of facing San Marcos in the tournament.

He praised the play of John Henry Kronen and Chase Nelson. 

“These two kids are great athletes,” Arneson said. “They’ve grown up together on the Mesa. It’s neat to see them bonding on the court. They did a great job for us, they were a spark plug on defense and passing. They’re both going to Cal Poly.”

Aiden Douglas provided punch in the middle. “He’s still learning the game and is coming along,” Arneson said. “He was a force at the net. If we can set Aiden in the middle, we’ll have a more balanced attack.”

The Dons have a big home match on Thursday against Dos Pueblos.


Evan Boger has helped the Patriots step up their play during the month.

“His hands as a setter and way he runs the floor as a leader of that program is really fun to watch,” said Stokes. “(The team) took some early lumps and they’re starting to hit their stride. They haven’t lost in the month of April.”

Dos Pueblos

The Chargers are a senior-heavy squad, with 15 of their 16 players being upperclassmen.

Coach Ehren Hug brought three standout seniors: middle Owen Katz, outside hitter Curren Malhotra and libero Dan Willett.

Hug said the Chargers are looking for to “going downtown” to play Santa Barbara on Thursday.

“It’s going to be fun,” he said.



Assistant coach Darius Terry announced that the Gauchos will “have our first home meet in about 10 years” on Saturday.

The Gauchos will host Cal Poly on the refurbished Pauley Track. Throwing events begin at 10 and the runners events and a Senior Day ceremony will start at noon.

Darius added that Barbara Nwaba, a 2016 Olympian in the heptathlon is being inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday at the Lobero.

Santa Barbara High

Assistant coach Moki Nicario said a corp of youngsters did well at last weekend’s County Championships in Carpinteria.

Jake Knecht won the frosh/soph 100 and 200 and Moki Nacario, the assistant coach's son, took third in the frosh/soph long jump at 18-6.75. The Dons took third in the freshman boys team scores and was second in the boys sweepstakes at the county meet.

At the varsity level, Andrea Gonzalez placed fifth in a fast girls 100 and Thomas Everest battled San Marcos’ Jason Peterson to the wire in the 800 and placed a close second.

“He now knows he can run with the elite runners in CIF,” said coach Nicario.

Bishop Diego

Coach Ron Heller said Laura Henderson, Nick Kislow and Isaiah Veal set the standard for the team in practice and in meets. 

He said Henderson “can be found on the top of the podium in the long jump triple jump and high jump, and squeezes in a sprint. She went to the Section finals in three events last year. I expect nothing less than that this year.”

Kislow runs the 100, 200 and is key member of the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

“We’re going to get a lot better. I see us going to the finals in those events,” Heller said.

Veal is headed to the College of Idaho on a football scholarship,” Heller announced. “That’s near and dear to my heart because one of my old teammates with the (San Francisco) 49ers is the coach there and I’m from Idaho, so I get to see (Veal) play a lot.”

Veal won the 100 and 200 at the County Championships. Heller “is looking to see him in the state championships.”

San Marcos

Coach Marilyn Hantgin said the Royals will be hosting an all-city tri-meet with Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos on Wednesday.

“It’s going to be a lot a fun. We might start a tradition,” she said.

San Marcos also will host the Channel League finals next Thursday.

At the County Championships, Jay Hannah won the 400. 

“He got off to a slow start and he’s stepped up his game,” Hantgin said of the junior’s recent success.

Matt Williams also has raised his game in the 400 and has become a key member of the 4x400 relay. 

“We hope to take the boys relay to a new record,” said Hantgin.

She said senior sprinter Nick Murillo Perez is probably the most talented athlete on the squad and has great character.

Junior Jaydn Mata is a big point producer for the Royals. He went 45 feet in the triple jump at the county meet and has cleared 6-6 in the high jump.

Hantgin is confident Mata can jump higher.

“We’re hoping the championship meet will put him over the edge,” said Hantgin.


Adam King has cut 21 seconds off his mile time and is running at 4:43, said Athletic Director Steve Stokes. “We’re hoping he can qualify as an individual for the CIF Prelims.


The Warriors are hosting the GSAC Championships for the ninth straight year. The meet runs Thursday and Friday.

Sports Information Director Ron Smith said teammates Dana Bowers and Chena Underhill have a great great rivalry going in the women’s pole vault. 

“It’s a fun competition to keep track of and watch. Very often they jump the same height,” he said.


Dos Pueblos

Coach Jon Uyesaka said he likes how the Chargers are playing at this point in the season. They went 3-2 last week, losing close games against Buena and Camarillo, who are both in higher divisions ranked in the CIF Polls.

“Those two teams, Buena and Camarillo, are top teams and we’re within a clutch hit or an error from getting those games,” said Uyesaka.

Junior third baseman Jenny Nichols, who hit her first homer in a Channel League win over Ventura, “is really coachable and loves the game,” Uyesaka said.

Sophomore pitcher Allison Borden “has a high softball IQ and is driven to do well,” he said. 

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

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