SBART Luncheon: Starters getting it done for Westmont, UCSB baseball teams

Westmont's Russell Harmening has won 10 games this season.

Westmont’s Russell Harmening has won 10 games this season.

Starting pitchers were the toast of Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.

Westmont baseball coach Robert Ruiz raved how his three starters performed during a key Golden State Athletic Conference series against first-place The Master’s.

Russell Harmening, Westmont’s career wins record holder, started the series with a two-hit 6-0 shutout in a must-win game last Friday — the Warriors are two games behind Master’s in the standings. In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, No. 2 starter Daniel Butler threw a complete-game four-hitter in a 4-1 victory. In the nightcap, Andrew Vasquez went a solid seven innings, allowing four hits, while striking out nine before being lifted with the score tied. The Warriors lost in 11 innings.

“I’m pretty fired up for those three guys,” Ruiz said. “I thought the did a phenomenal job.”

Ruiz noted that the three starters combined for 22 strikeouts and allowed 10 hits in 25 innings.

The Warriors are 35-11 and 29-10 overall. They host third-place Concordia this weekend with their GSAC title hopes still alive.

“We still have a chance to win the conference outright with one week to play,” Ruiz said. “It’s probably been a long time we could have said that in our program.

“We’re pretty excited for these guys and hopefully we can continue to sustain it.”

UCSB: Coach Andrew Checketts gave props to starter Domenic Mazza for his performance in Sunday’s Big West win over Cal Poly. The victory gave the Gauchos two wins in the three-game series.

Mazza, normally the mid-week starter, filled in for an injured Dillon Tate gave threw eight solid innings to pick up his fifth win without a loss.

“He’s been somebody who has been outstanding for us the last two weeks,” Checketts said of Mazza. “He’s thrown 18 innings and allowed two runs, including a win at USC. He’s undefeated in all his starts.”

The 8th-ranked Gauchos (28-9, 6-3 Big West) are home Tuesday against Pepperdine before heading to Hawaii for a weekend series.

SBCC: The Vaqueros head into the final week of the regular season one game behind first-place Oxnard in the WSC. Ranked fourth in Southern California (25-8, 14-7), SBCC plays home games against Ventura on Tuesday and Hancock on Thursday. The conference finale is Friday at Hancock


Dos Pueblos: Travis Craven gave the Chargers a good four innings in a starting role last Tuesday in a win over Ventura and was clutch in a relief role in Friday’s win, coach Nick Katzenstein reported.

Craven pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-outs situation “to keep us in there to win the game,” said Katzenstein.

The coach also introduced senior Colby Hill. “He’s an old soul; he sits around and talks to the coaches. You kind of think for a second, ‘Is he one of you?’ All of sudden you realize it’s one of your players talking to you,” Katzenstein said.

Dos Pueblos has a big two-game, home-and-home series this week with Santa Barbara. The co-leaders in the Channel League play at Santa Barbara on Tuesday and at DP on Friday.

San Marcos: Athletic director Abe Jahahdmy won’t be in the discussion of starting pitchers. “It’s funny that I’m reporting on baseball,” he started. “I threw out the first pitch this year for our baseball program and I threw a three-hopper to the plate.”

Speaking for coach Jacob Pepper, Jahadhmy said the Royals are a program on the rise. “We’re competitive in every game. If you seen some of our losses, they’ve been really tough. We have kids with a lot of character who don’t give up.”

Jahadhmy introduced catcher Derek Zylstra and utility player Austin Ricci as two of those character guys. Both student-athletes are college bound. Zylstra is going to Gonzaga and Ricci to Oregon.

Bishop Diego: RJ Cordeiro is tearing it up for the Cardinals.

“He is having the most impressive statistical season in my 13 years as athletic director,” said Dan Peeters.

In 51 plate appearances, Cordeiro is batting .457 with seven home runs and 22 RBI. His on-base percentage is .608 and slugging percentage 1.257, Peeters reported.

“For you people that aren’t baseball fans or didn’t see “Moneyball,” let me give you a stat you’ll understand: he hits a home run in one of every seven at-bats,” said Peeters. “He’s having a tremendous season and very worthy of recognition.”

Cordeiro has signed with Fresno State.

Izzy Reyes also is having a big year for Bishop. Hitting behind Cordeiro, he’s batting .357 with 11 RBI. “He makes pitching around RJ a mistake,” said Peeters.

San Marcos:
The Royals girls put their 8-0 record on the line Tuesday in a home meet against rival Dos Pueblos. They’ll be without standout Paige Hauschild, who will be training with the USA Water Polo Senior Women’s National Team for a tournament in New Zealand.

Coach Chuckie Roth has plenty of talented swimmers. Feisty freshman Lili Rose Akin has filled in nicely for an injured swimmer. “She’s having a phenomenal season,” Roth said. “She was the meanest player on the water polo team. We had an inventory of ourselves of what “Star Wars” character you best represent, and she said, bar none, ‘I’m just like Darth Vader,’ Roth said with a smile. “That’s her; she’s a great kid.”

Roth also introduced the reliable Kate Coski. “She’s one of the young ladies who is pretty versatile,” he said.

George Kuesis has been the rock for the San Marcos boys team, said Aaron Solis, reporting for coach Jeff Ashton. “He trains the hardest and pushes his teammates.” Kuesis’ main events are the 100 and 200 freestyle, but he’ll swim wherever he’s needed.

Alex Zauner is one of the top sprinters on the team and has one of the top GPA’s, 4.33. He plans to continue his career at Wesleyan University.

Santa Barbara: Diving coach Brian Pearson said he feels blessed with the athletes he’s coaching. He introduced four-year captain Ryan Cullen, junior Nina Enholm and exchange student Giacomo Buffoni from Rome, Italy.

“With these talented students, I’ve been able to coach and watch them do their magic,” he said. “To have a bunch of seniors and an exchange student, that’s like a gift right there.”

Dos Pueblos: Coach Jim Ranta brought divers Mariah Dodero and Wyatt Taylor. Dodero won the girls title at the recent Dos Pueblos Diving Invitational, while Taylor finished second in the boys competition. Both posted CIF consideration scores. Dodero is going to Ithaca University in New York.

In swimming, Eric Lindheim does the distance events for the boys team while Daniela Castleberg is used in a variety of events for the DP girls.

Rachelle Visser led SBCC to its first WSC Swimming Championship.

Rachelle Visser led SBCC to its first WSC Swimming Championship.

SBCC: Roth guided the Vaqueros to the WSC championship in their second year as a program. They finished third last year. “We were able to add some great recruits to the lineup and won the conference by more than 100 points.

Rachelle Visser won three individual events in conference- and school-record times and anchored a winning medley relay team. She is ranked No. 1 in the state in the 400 IM, 200 IM and second in the 200 fly. Katherine Warren has the second fastest time in the state in the 1650 freestyle.

SBCC moves on to the State Meet next week at East Los Angeles College.

“Our goal is to place in the top 10,” Roth said. The Vaqueros were 12th last year.

San Marcos:
The Royals (5-0 in Channel League) are headed into the home stretch of the regular season before beginning the long postseason.

“We need to stay focused and play our game for the last three matches,” coach Solis said. “Then, the challenge ahead of us is to continue that form for another month, which will be little difficult because you have individual competitions mixed in with team competitions.”

Solis introduced Niels Andersen, who shot a 2-under par last week and “is starting to play to form.”

Sophomore Bennett Reichard played solid golf in wins over Ventura and Santa Barbara last week. “I know he’s on the verge of greatness,” said Solis.

Solis said road trips with the team are fun because the players engage in lively conversations.

“I need to hire a driver so I can sit in the back with these guys because they are very intellectually motived,” he said. The topics of debate have included: should the San Francisco 49ers have kept Alex Smith as quarterback over Colin Kaepernick?; the value of socialized medical care in Europe; where does Paul Scholes fit on the list of Manchester United greats; JFK assassination theories.

Dos Pueblos: Coach Liz Frech said senior captain Ameet Braganza, sophomore Mason Dochterman and freshman Bryce Ambrose are “warriors and thinkers. And they can dance between the two mentalities.” Braganza is headed to UCLA.