Kei puts in work to become a golfing success story at UCSB

Scholar-Athlete of the Year Coby Cress, left, with Kei Kita and Steve Lass of UCSB men's golf.

The story of hard work paying off is the story of senior Kei Kita’s golf career at UCSB.

A walk-on four years ago, Kita played in just one tournament for the Gauchos as a freshman, coach Steve Lass told the crowd at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe. He played in two events during his sophomore season and this year he competed all 10 events.

“By the second half of the season, he was our go-to guy. His nickname now is ‘Chief,’” said Lass.

In his last five tournaments, he has four top-20 finishes. He took fourth in UCSB’s event at Sandpiper and, most recently, placed third at the Big West championships.

“Kei has proven that hard work pays off,” Lass said.

The work of Santa Barbara High sophomore pitcher Gabe Grandcolas has helped the Dons stay in the hunt for a CIF playoff spot, assistant coach George Rempe reported. Grancolas turned in a solid performance but didn’t get the decision in a Dons’ win over Buena and he beat Ventura.

“He’s a huge reason why we’re still in the hunt,” Rempe said.

Rempe congratulated Dos Pueblos for winning a share of the league title and ending Santa Barbara’s two-year run as champion.

“At the beginning of the year, I called (DP) out to be the odds-on favorite and, unfortunately (for us), I was right,” he said.

Dos Pueblos can wrap up the outright league title with a win over San Marcos on Wednesday. Assistant coach John Ramsdale introduced two reasons to the Chargers’ success this season: junior outfielders Dylan Rohde and Anthony Spiritosanto.

Rohde is the second leading hitter on the team and a fiery player, Ramsdale said. Spiritosanto brings a combination of speed and power.

“For my money, he’s the fastest guy in the Channel League in baseball. He’s a big boy, but he can get going,” Ramsdale said.

Carpinteria baseball coach Pat Cooney said the string of series sweeps in Tri-Valley League play ended with a pair of losses last week against Oaks Christian.

This week, the Warriors need a two-game sweep against Malibu to overtake the Sharks for a CIF playoff spot. The first game is Tuesday at Carpinteria.

Cooney introduced utility player Duncan Gordon, left-hand-hitting second baseman Ramon Sanchez and catcher Kevin Stein.

Bishop Diego athletic director Dan Peeters reported the Cardinals are trying to secure their highest seed for the CIF baseball playoffs. They’re 16-3 and 9-1 in the Frontier League with two remaining league games against Fillmore.

Peeters brought the speedy Jacob Salcedo and versatile player John Rios.

Peeters also introduced swimmer Joshua Chevez, who took first place in the 100 breaststroke at the Frontier League Championships.

Cooney said Carpinteria qualified a record 14 swimmers for the CIF Prelims.
Team captains Morgan Cook and Alan Chavez are among those swimmers headed to Riverside on Wednesday for the prelims.

Dos Pueblos won its second straight outright Channel League softball title with a pair of wins over Buena. The Chargers (23-3, 11-1) will learn their playoff draw next Monday.

Coach Lee Harris brought sophomore Monica Salas, who’s been “a maniac at second base,” and outfielder Cassie Davis, who hit a game-winning homer in the sixth inning against Buena and threw out the potential game-tying run in the seventh.

In college baseball, UCSB’s Andrew Checketts said the highlight of his week was watching SBCC win its regional play-in game in 16 innings and reading about Westmont’s success. His Gauchos were swept in a three-game series at UC Irvine.

Despite the losses, Checketts noted that his three freshman pitchers, Greg Mahle, Austin Pettibone and Andrew Vasquez, have performed well.

“I hadn’t had a lot of luck with freshman pitchers having success, and these guys have had a ton of success this year. It bodes well for the future of our baseball team,” he said.

The Gauchos host Big West-leading Cal State Fullerton this weekend.

Westmont coach Robert Ruiz said the Warriors accomplished their goal of playing in May. The Warriors won their last three regular season games to make the GSAC Tournament, their first postseason appearance in 15 years.

“We played eight games in seven days, won five of them, four of them elimination games,” Ruiz said. “I think that showed the heart and character of the guys on our team. There was a lot of fight in them.”

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