BY BLAKE DORFMAN, PRESIDIOSPORTS.COM
Jerry Harwin has accomplished a lot in his 97 years on earth, and he fittingly received a standing ovation at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.
He is, after all, one of the Round Table’s original knights.
Harwin, Bill Bertka and the late Caesar Uyesaka founded the SBART in 1968, and Harwin’s list of accomplishments and good deeds in the local athletic community took current president Rick Wilson a full two minutes to rattle off.
Harwin then graced the crowd with a shortened version of Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat”, leaving everyone smiling to kick off over an hour of reports from local coaches.
SAN MARCOS: Unlike mighty Casey — who strikes out at the end of the poem — Female Athlete of the Week Emily Mason was stellar at the bat and in the circle for the San Marcos softball team this past week. The Royals went 3-0 with wins over first-place Ventura, Bishop Diego and Santa Barbara.
Mason, a senior, had three hits against Bishop and a game-winning, two-out, 3-run triple in a late comeback against the Dons. She also got the win while pitching in that game.
Mason’s most impressive performance, however, was against the Cougars. The Royals managed only one run and one hit on the day, but it was enough for Mason. She pitched her first career shutout, a 4-hitter, while never letting a Ventura baserunner get past second.
Coach Alex Sheldon’s team is now tied with Dos Pueblos at 2-2 in the Channel League. He also brought along leadoff hitter Kelly Martyniuk, who has an impressive on-base percentage of .556 and is batting .381 thus far.
Natalie Williams, meanwhile, has been a Gold Glove-caliber second baseman.
CARPINTERIA: Devany Bechler’s Warriors are 5-5 overall and 1-1 in the Frontier League so far after a tough week. The Warriors lost a two-hour game in the pouring rain, then exhaustedly limped into a loss against Oxnard.
“It’s good to have these games because we’re really playing some hard competition and it’s preparing us for the league,” said Bechler, who brought along 4-year varsity standout Dani Mendoza and sophomore catcher Myriah Diaz, who is hitting over .400.
SBCC: Sports Information Specialist Dave Lovetontalked about the Vaquero softball team, which has won four of its last five and is now 12-21 overall and 8-11 in the WSC. Lauren Gniadek and Erin Breckboth earned honorable mention honors for Athlete of the Week for their standout performances in a doubleheader sweep of L.A. Pierce.
DOS PUEBLOS: Male Athlete of the Week Drew Casier dominated in the pool for the Dos Pueblos boys swim team in its big win down at the 10-team Long Beach Wilson Invitational over the weekend. The UC Irvine-bound senior posted All-American times in the 100- and 200-freestyle as well as the 100 butterfly. He then swam on the winning 200- and 400-freestyle relays, which also earned All-American times and automatic CIF qualification.
SANTA BARBARA: The Channel League baseball race is as tight as it gets, as each team is 2-2 heading into the second half of the season. Santa Barbara had a pair of crosstown rivalry games last week and ended up with a split, beating San Marcos in the bottom of the seventh before dropping a 4-2 decision to DP the next day.
The young Dons, now 6-5 overall, play 10 of their final 16 games on the road. Longtime assistant coachGeorge Rempe introduced his college sweetheart, wife Cathy, before moving on to three of Santa Barbara’s standout players.
Will Allison is the only senior starter on the team and is hitting over .300. Danny Zandona is the squad’s sophomore ace, carrying a 5-0 record on the mound, but he also bats cleanup and is the best third baseman Rempe has ever seen at the high school level.
Then there’s Rob Crawford Jr., son of the San Marcos baseball coach by the same name. The utility player is a jack-of-all-trades on the diamond and does it all in the classroom as well, sporting the highest GPA of any junior at Santa Barbara High.
“After our win against San Marcos on Thursday I offered to let Robert come home with me, but being the good kid he is he declined and faced the music with his dad,” joked Rempe.
The Dons play four games in the Righetti Tournament this week.
SAN MARCOS: The elder Crawford didn’t really punish his son for Santa Barbara’s win…. or did he?
“First of all I should probably thank Coach Rempe for bringing Rob to the luncheon, because it probably feels good for him to eat again,” he quipped.
Like the softball team, the Royal baseball squad posted a 1-0 win over Ventura last week thanks to a stellar pitching performance, as Sam Marshall pitched a complete-game two-hitter.
Crawford was joined by a pair of his speedsters — 3-year varsity player Alex Price and spry center-fielderLandon Boneck.
DOS PUEBLOS: The Chargers have four games in the next five days and are hoping to carry some momentum from the win over Santa Barbara into the busy stretch ahead.
Tyler McGaughey went five innings in the win and has given up just two earned runs in his last 10 innings. Cal State Northridge-bound shortstop Robert Vickers, meanwhile, recently earned all-tourney honors at the Inland Empire Baseball Classic after going 8-for-12 with four doubles in the 4-game tournament.
The Chargers have a big home game against Ventura on Tuesday.
UCSB: Gaucho coach Bob Brontsema has been attending Round Table luncheons for 28 years, but that’s nothing compared to Harwin’s full 42.
“This is quite an empire you’ve built here,” said Brontsema to Harwin. “There have been a lot of great people that have sat at this (head) table that have served the community and the athletic world, and we owe them all a great debt, led by Jerry Harwin.”
Brontsema eluded to a David and Goliath theme that San Marcos tennis coach Jarrod Bradley had brought up earlier. The Gauchos had been a Goliath of sorts over the weekend against lowly UC Davis, but fell in the series finale.
With three of their next five series coming against top-10 teams, the roles might switch up a bit for the Gauchos.
“We’re going to be falling back into that David role a little more often here,” said the coach.
WESTMONT: “We’re having a little more fun at Russ Carr Field this year” is what Sports Information DirectorRon Smith had to say about the Westmont baseball program, which has climbed out of previous years of cellar-dwelling to go 9-7 over its last 16 games with an 8-20 mark in the Golden State Athletic Conference.
Batting averages are up and ERAs are down for the Warriors, who have eight games remaining and are in must-win territory as far as making the playoffs is concerned.
“It’s good to see a team that’s expecting to win, which is a difference out there,” said Smith.
SBCC: Loveton reported that the Vaquero baseball team picked up a pair of wins in the Channel Coast Tournament last week, and that Dos Pueblos graduate Danny Cavaletto had a game-winning hit over L.A. Mission. Blake McFarland picked up his third win in eight days on the mound and is now 7-2 on the season.
SBCC: Loveton also discussed the Vaquero men’s golf team, which is ranked tops in Southern California thanks to Santa Barbara High alumnus Andrew Perez, who has dipped into the 60s six times this season. San Marcos grad Albert Corral has also been a key contributor to the squad.
SBCC WOMEN: Debbie Ekola recalled being in the Ranchero Room 30 years ago as an athlete at Carpinteria High.
Now she’s back as the coach of a Vaquero program which has faced plenty of adversity this year after being riddled with illness and injuries. Ekola brought her two most dedicated players, both of whom will be competing in the WSC Championships this weekend down in Ventura.
Carla Dauden is a “gritty” player on the court at the No. 3 singles spot for the Vaqueros, and is a star in the classroom. The Film Production major from Brazil carries a 4.0 GPA. Meghan Schaefer, meanwhile, has an 8-3 record in doubles, with all three losses coming by narrow margins according to Ekola. She carries a 3.5 GPA and is a Biology major.
SBCC MEN: Don Lowry said that this year’s Vaqueros are the toughest team he’s coached in his four years at the helm. Their 8-4 record in the WSC — voted the toughest conference in the state — is more than respectable, especially when two of the losses were 5-4 decisions against Glendale which lasted over four hours. It may have cost SBCC a team berth in the postseason, but the Vaqs will be in action in this weekend’s WSC Championships at Pershing Park.
“Our level of play, I have to say, is getting stronger every year,” said Lowry, who brought along Santa Barbara High alum Elliot Markowitz and San Marcos graduate Zack Scott, both of whom will be on the court in the WSC tourney.
UCSB WOMEN: Pete Kirkwood’s Gauchos have won 12 of their last 14 matches and will carry the sixth seed into the upcoming Big West Tournament. Kirkwood told the crowd about his team’s recent trip up to the Pacific Northwest to play Washington State and Eastern Washington. The student newspaper at WSU had run an article on the doubleheader’s first match between the Gauchos and Cougars in which the Cougars coach said that doubleheaders are usually scheduled because they “aren’t supposed to be tough matches.”
Well, the Gauchos made it tough on WSU, winning 5-2 before going on to sweep Eastern Washington.
“You’ve gotta watch what you say, because that lit a fire under my team, and we don’t consider ourselves an easy match against anybody,” said Kirkwood.
Asagi Onaga, whom the coach said might be the toughest player he’s ever coached, battled through a foot injury to play in the match. Meanwhile, senior reserve Noelle Herneise got into the Eastern Washington showdown and played the last match of the day, picking up a 6-2, 7-5 win in front of all of her teammates.
“All the team rushed out there to congratulate her on her last match. I was the last one to congratulate her because I was crying,” admitted Kirkwood.
UCSB MEN: Marty Davis’ Gauchos are hanging on to the No. 75 spot in the national rankings, but that’s not going to get them an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. Instead, they’ll have to defend their crown at this weekend’s Big West Tournament at Indian Wells, a title they’ve won the past three years. UCSB has the fourth seed and will square off against UC Davis first.
“I think there are still some who doubt we’ll win the conference championship, and I’m not one of them,” said a confident Davis. “I think we will win, and it’s gonna be even more gratifying with this group.”
Local product Taylor Chavez-Goggin, who won the 2007 Channel League singles crown at Santa Barbara High, joined Davis as well as Josh Finkelstein, who leads the team with a 3.8 GPA.
SAN MARCOS: Bradley began his turn at the podium by pointing out a contrast between baseball and tennis.
“In baseball it’s kind of cool, because David can beat Goliath sometimes because weird things can happen. In tennis, a lot of weird things have to happen for David to beat Goliath,” he said.
He was referring to San Marcos’ bid to beat DP, which has been a tall order recently. The teams were set to continue their rained-out match later on Monday afternoon.
The Royals avoided the rain on Thursday, however, and picked up a solid 13-5 win at Ventura.
DOS PUEBLOS: The Chargers faced the city’s perennial prep tennis Goliath, Santa Barbara, last week and fell 13-5.
“When you face a tough school, it’s about perspective. You’ve just gotta go in there and do the best you can because you have nothing to lose,” said coach Liz Frech.
The Chargers picked up all five of their sets in singles play. Sasha Gryaznov went 3-0 while Christian Edstrom and Richard Cheng also picked up a point each. DP plays Santa Ynez on Tuesday.
SPECIAL OLYMPICS ATHLETE OF THE MONTH: Nannette Clark currently competes in bocce ball and swimming, and won her age group at the Special Olympics in Long Beach last summer, swimming the 100 freestyle in one minute and 45 seconds.
“I’ve been in Special Olympics for about 14 years, and I enjoy it very much. I’ve done a lot of sports over the years, and one I really miss is powerlifting. Powerlifting is fun. A lot of men say ‘powerlifting?’. Well, I’ve been there and I’ve done it,” noted Clark.