SBART Luncheon: UCSB softball had a wild, crazy weekend

UCSB softball coach Brie Galicinao had plenty to talk about at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon after a wild weekend of games against Hawaii

The Gauchos won two of three, taking the opener, 9-8, losing the second game, 9-8, after being down 8-2, and winning the finale, 6-4.

Emily Brucelas hit a game-winning two-run homer in the first game, and Galicinao noted that Brucelas parents missed seeing it.

Emily Brucelas of UCSB hit a walk-off homer and a game-tying hit against Hawaii.

Emily Brucelas of UCSB hit a walk-off homer and a game-tying hit against Hawaii.

“Her parents were there and they left in the bottom of the seventh when we were down by two and down to two strikes,” the coach said. “That batter ended up drawing a walk and we wound up hitting the game-tying home run. So her parents missed her first collegiate home run.

“I asked (Emily) why and she said, ‘They just didn’t believe, coach Brie.’ Hopefully, they’ll get more chances to see her hit a home run.”

In the second game, Brucelas capped a furious seventh-inning rally from an 8-2 deficit with a game-tying RBI hit.

“She thought it was a walk-off and started walking off field,” said Galicinao, who yelled at her to get back to the base. “In the first game, when she homered, she didn’t know it was a game-winning homer. Our players need to know the score, but if we’re focusing on the right things and hitting home runs, I don’t care.”

In the third game, freshman Kristen Clark broke the team’s single season hits record with her 76th hit. She broke the record of Christy Ramos, who is an assistant coach with the team.

“Christy Ramos was the person that was rooting for Kristen Clark the most to break that record,” Galicinao said. “We both thought she was going to break it sooner. The umpire actually handed me the ball after the game and said, ‘I heard that you had a player break the record.’ I had to do everything not to say, ‘She should have broke it yesterday if you would have called her safe on two calls.’”

The Gauchos celebrated the record by carrying Clark around the field.

“That was the first time since the ’06 season that any of the players wanted to lift a player up and carry her around,” said Galicinao.

UCSB is in contention for the Big West title with Long Beach State. The Gauchos trail the 49ers by three games with six games remaining. They play at last-place UC Riverside this weekend and host Long Beach next weekend.


UCSB coach Andrew Checketts said the Gauchos face a big week, playing defending national champion UCLA on Tuesday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium and traveling to Big West-leading UC Irvine for a weekend series.

“It’s an opportunity to build some RPI points and move up in the standings,” Checketts said.

He thanked the community for the tremendous support at home games.

Checketts also lauded closer Dillon Tate, who is throwing his fastball up to 98 mph. “He’s really developed into one of the best closers on the West Coast.”

The Gauchos enter the week with a 26-11 record (7-8 in the Big West).

SBCC coach Jeff Walker said the Vaqueros are in the Southern California Regionals for the fourth straight year and will be hosting a series for the third time. They’ll play San Bernardino Valley College in a best-of-three series on Friday and Saturday at Pershing Park.

Walker noted that the Western State Conference got four teams in the playoffs, “which is the first time I think since the Earth cooled that we had that many teams from our conference in the playoffs,” he quipped. “It also shows how competitive we were this year.”


San Marcos coach Jeff Swann said the Royals played some of their best softball of the season in two losses against Buena.

Swann introduced cousins Lyanna Gonzalez and Sabrina Gonzalez. Lyanna had three RBIs and Sabrina drove in the winning run in an 8-inning non-league win over Santa Ynez.

Dos Pueblos coach Jon Uyesaka brought junior outfielder Ady Willett (the Athlete of the Week) and sophomore catcher Jade Sinskul. He said Willett is a natural leader who has “really turned her hitting around. That’s good to see going into the playoffs.”

On Sinskul, “She’s doing a fantastic job behind the plate and is coming along as a consistent hitter.”

The Chargers (16-5, 7-1) play host to San Marcos on Tuesday.

Carpinteria is looking to finish the season on a positive note, Athletic Director Pat Cooney reported. He introduced players Tegan “Baby T” Singer and Paulina “Scared” Barbosa.


San Marcos coach Marilyn Hantgin said winning the grand sweepstakes at the county championships over the weekend “showed the depth of our program. All levels did well.”

Hantgin introduced four athletes who are making in impact on the team. First was freshman Erica Schroeder, who set a county frosh-soph record in the mile. “We could not have done what’ve done without her,” said Hantgin.

Ashley Carney returned to track after a year off and has become a key point producer.

Austin “Coop” Pugh is a four-year track athlete. He competes in the shot put and discus. “He’s valuable because he’ll do what we need him to do,” said Hantgin.

She said hurdler Jon Wilson is peaking at the right time. “He’s been grinding in how to be a hurdler, how to score and how to win.”

The Royals compete at Dos Pueblos on Thursday and host the Channel League Finals on May 9.

Carpinteria coach Van Latham said the conditions were vastly different at the last two big meets the school has hosted, the Russell Cup and the Santa Barbara County Championships.

“For the Russell Cup, it was a Chamber of Commerce day, Latham said of the ideal conditions two weeks ago. For last Saturday’s county meet: “You might call it a Chamber of Commerce day, if Carpinteria had a wind turbine plant in town. It was a tough day.”

Despite the windy conditions, the county meet was a well-run event.

Latham introduced “the future” of Carpinteria track, introducing county frosh-soph champions pole vaulter Jimmy Graves (sophomore), 300 hurdler Gabi Fantone (sophomore), triple jumper Tim Jimenez (sophomore), discus thrower Annalisa DeAlba (freshman).


UCSB assistant coach Cullen Irons introduced setter Jonah Seif, a second-team All-American.

“He’s been consistent all season and pushed everyone through the entire season.”

San Marcos coach Roger Kuntz introduced the three senior standouts of his Channel League championship team: Shane Hauschild, Baker Johnson and Christian Widmer (the Athlete of the Week).


Carpinteria’s Cooney recalled a saying from the late Dos Pueblos coach Scott O’Leary. “According to Coach O’Leary, we have a perfect record; we’re 8-8,” Cooney said. “He was talking about not winning all your games and not losing all your games. So we must be just right.”

Cooney introduced team leaders and two-sport athletes, seniors Connor Kelsey and Duncan Gordon.

Dos Pueblos is coming off a bye week, and coach Nick Katzenstein said his guys are “anxious to get back into the game this week.”

The Channel League-leading Chargers have a busy week with three games. They play at San Marcos on Tuesday, host co-leader Buena on Thursday and San Marcos on Friday.

Katzenstein brought Blair Hawn, Nick Noggle and Eli Roberts.


Westmont coach Russell Smelley said his athletes were busy as classes ended and final exams were on top. But he got them focused and fired up for last weekend’s GSAC Championships.

“I admonished my team to honor themselves by giving their best effort over the weekend, so they can be proud of what they’d done over the weekend,” he said.

The Westmont men won their second straight title and the women finished in second place.

He cited the performance of Evan Bradford, who dug deep, held off two competitors and won the 1500 meters.

The Warriors qualified 12 athletes for the NAIA Nationals and they hope to qualify eight more in another qualifying meet.

UCSB assistant Rob Beamer reported that the track program has received a series of donations from local residents to go toward Phase 2 of the Pauley Track improvement project. UCSB will break ground on the first phase of improvements next month.

Beamer introduced long jump/triple jump competitor Oscar Pearson and thrower Denley Rodriguez.