Courtesy of Santa Cruz Sentinel and Jim Seimas:
WATSONVILLE -- What was expected to be a low-scoring duel between two NCAA Division I-bound pitchers was anything but close.
The St. Francis High baseball team -- which has finished in last place in five of its six years of existence -- pulled off another stunning win Tuesday, routing storied Soquel 14-2 in a matchup of Santa Cruz County's two top-ranked teams.
With the win, the No. 1 Sharks improve to 17-5 overall and 8-0 in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League as they continue streaking toward their first league title. St. Francis -- which features just two seniors in its lineup -- finished a school-best 4-8 last season in league for fifth place out of seven teams. Every player from the '12 team returns.
"We knew what we had here was something special, right from the beginning," Sharks outfielder RJ Zuniga said. "We knew the players had some sort of connection I've never seen before. ... To me, this is not shocking. With hard work comes results and right now we're getting results. This team has worked incredibly hard."
The Sharks were backed with another effective outing from Fresno State commit Dillon Houser, a 6-foot-4 left-hander. He scattered eight hits over 5 1/3 innings, striking out five batters and walking one. "We came out knowing we were going to hit and we did just that," Houser said. "The intensity never got in the dugout. We stayed loud and we just played our ballgame. And it was a great game. We're all very excited for the rest of the season. We can't be any more pumped than we are right now."
St. Francis aims to keep momentum rolling Friday, when it hosts Santa Cruz (6-16, 1-6), and Tuesday, when it hosts Scotts Valley (14-6, 6-2). The Falcons now sit in second place -- a half-game ahead of Soquel.
Though it looks like the Sharks would need a monumental collapse to relinquish their league lead with four regular-season games left, Sharks coach Ken Nakagawa refused to address the subject. "One game at a time," he said. "One game at a time."
Soquel (8-10-1, 5-2) hosts San Lorenzo Valley (9-10, 2-5) on Friday, a day before it welcomes back suspended starters Fabiano Hale and Scott Akrop. They have missed two weeks for violating team rules. Their absence was of little consequence against the Sharks.
"This is one of those games where, they beat us today. They beat us," said Knights coach Robert Zuniga. "We played good baseball for three or four innings and they started putting the ball in play. And that's how they've been successful this year, they put the ball in play."
Stanford-bound pitcher Chris Viall, a 6-foot-7 right-hander who was clocked with a 92-mph fastball Tuesday, took the loss. The Sharks took advantage of roped fastballs, bleeders and bloopers, and a couple of wind-aided home runs to break the game open.
Nakagawa said the Sharks gained confidence at the Bishop Gorman tournament in Las Vegas over Easter break, when they saw plenty of heavily scouted talent. "We can hit fastballs," he added.
David Gugale hit his fourth home run of the season -- a solo shot in the second inning -- and diminutive leadoff hitter Sahid Valenzuela hit a three-run shot off reliever Carlos Rubalcaba in the fifth. Both homers were aided by heavy winds blowing out to right field.
Gugale finished 2-for-3 and scored twice while Valenzuela, a slick-fielding freshman second baseman, went 3-for-5.
The Sharks sent 10 runners to the plate in both the fourth and fifth innings -- combining for 11 runs in those frames -- and finished with 15 hits.
Every player in the Sharks' lineup scored at least once. Josh Rodriguez finished 2-for-2 with two walks and three runs scored and Zuniga -- whose father Robert is the head coach of Soquel -- went 3-for-4 with two runs and four RBIs.
Said dad: "He had the game of his life today. As a head coach, you want your team to be successful, but as a dad, I'm very proud right now."
The Sharks had another strong day in the pool as they travelled to Aptos on Tuesday to face powerhouse Aptos. On the women's side, freshman Shelby Robinett had a great 100 free, coming in 4th with a time of 1:18.55. She was followed closely by sophomore Yuli Rodriguez in 5th with a time of 1:37.3. Both swimmers have been training hard at practice and the hard work is paying off. Junior Hailey Robinett had a strong showing in the 50 free, finishing with a time of 30.94, almost 2 seconds faster then her 50 split in the relay. Senior Clare Arbios was outstanding on the women's side for this meet, going 29.01 for a 50 free in her relay.
On the men's side, senior Joe Flynn swam the 200 free coming in 4th followed by the Colosi twins, Paul, then Luke. The Colosi's have greatly improved in all their swims, working hard in the pool and their confidence is growing! Seniors Jason Arciella and Michael Wallach had great 50 free and 100 free times. Jason came in 1st in both the 50 and 100 free with the times of 25.18 and 54.01. Michael stayed strong and never gave up finishing his 50 in 26.12 and his 100 in 1:00.58.
St. Francis took to the pool at Harbor High School on Friday and the Sharks shined in both individual and relay events. Freshman Travis Nealon swam a strong 100m, finishing in 58.54, followed closely by senior Michael Wallach at 1:00.23.
Both sophomore Nick Deleissegues and senior Jason Arcilla swam fast and strong in the 100 fly. Jason came in second with a time of 1:05.2, followed by Nick in third with a time of 1:17.3.
On the women's side, the 200 medley relay all had great times for St. Francis. Sophomore Izzy Shahmirza started the swim with 50 back, coming in at 34.5. Senior Clare Arbios jumped in after for a 50 breast, coming in at 39.6. Junior Hailey Robinett followed with a 50 fly with a time of 34.2, and freshman Camile Baylis finished strong with a 50 free with a time of 30.04. Final time was 2:18.34
MVP of the meet goes to freshman Paul Colosi for his 500 free with no cap or goggles! Paul dove into his 500 free and lost his goggles on the first lap, followed by his cap. Paul fought through the 500 and finished strong with a time of 7:56.97. Brother Luke Colosi was a lane over not giving up either, finishing with a time of 8:17.72.
The Sharks return to action in the pool on Friday, when they travel to Santa Cruz.
The Sharks took the field against SLV on Friday and remained perfect in league, with a 8-3 win. Junior Jonathan Carmona took the mound and threw a complete game, allowing only three hits to pace the Sharks.
St. Francis was lead offensively by sophomore Jacob Cardona who went 3-3 with 2 RBI's and senior Calvin Nakagawa who went 3-4 with 2 RBI's. Slugger Dillon Houser went 2-4 with a 2 run homerun.
The Sharks return to the field Saturday for a home against Galena from Reno at 11am. Next league game for the Sharks is Tuesday, when they host powerhouse, Soquel for the first time this season.
Santa Cruz High School hosted a strong track meet with fifteen schools from San Francisco to Paso Robles. The Sharks had a strong showing, led by the youngest of participants. The freshmen had an outstanding day on the track and showed a glimpse of the future of the Sharks' ability.
Freshman Sam Magno had a lifetime best in the 300 Hurdles and the 200m. Classmates Tori Yamaoka and Victoria Yassa represented St. Francis in the shot put and discus, and both turned in personal records in the 200m. Cati Bianch had the top freshmen time for the 800m race.
Senior Clancy Ryan placed 4th in the shot put, while classmate Joe Maleta placed 4th in the pole vault.
With two wins in the last two days, the Sharks are now 6-2 in the SCCAL for men's golf. With a win slipping away against SLV, freshman Ryan Locatelli finished with a strong score that initiated a Shark team celebration.
Solid play across the board at a home match on Thursday allowed the Sharks to cruise past Scotts Valley to improve to 6-2.
The golf team returns to action on Tuesday, when they host Santa Cruz. Check out our Facebook page for photos! LINK
The St. Francis men's baseball team faced some tough competition in Las Vegas last week as the team played in the Bishop Gorman Tournament. Opening the tournament against host Bishop Gorman, the Sharks were competitive with last year's #1 nationally-ranked team who won a 7th-straight NV state championship and won 40 games. The 4th inning saw a few errors by the Sharks and they fell to the Gaels, 9-3.
On Thursday, the Sharks faced Calvary Baptist, also state champions from Shreveport, LA and the Cavaliers were too much for the Sharks, topping them 14-2.
Day three of the tournament, St. Francis was focused on winning and they came out swinging for the fences. Tied in the top of the 8th, senior Dillion Houser hit a 2-run home run to lead the Sharks to a 5-3 victory over Cyprus High School from Magna, UT.
The Sharks finished off the tournament with a 11-3 loss to Jesuit High School out of Sacramento, who are currently ranked 6th in all of NorCal.
Overall, the trip was a big success with the team taking in the sights of Las Vegas and also visiting UNLV and taking a tour of their athletic facilities.
The Sharks return to action on Tuesday, when they host Harbor High School at 4pm.
Freshman Jack Peoples, sophomore Nick Ciandro and senior Calvin Anderson-Nakagawa each knocked in a pair of runs as St. Francis defeated host Santa Clara 7- 4 in a nonleague game on Saturday.
Anderson-Nakagawa was 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Ciandro scored two runs. Ciandro also earned the win after allowing two earned runs on two hits over five innings pitched.
The Sharks (11-2) will visit Watsonville on Monday at 7pm, before traveling to the Bishop Gorman Tournament in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
St. Francis senior Matt DeVogelaere shot a 38 to take medalist honors in the Sharks' tri-match over the front nine at Spring Hills Golf Course on Tuesday.
Senior Josh Boyles eagled No. 6 to finish with a 43, Noah Craney shot 45 and Matt Powers and Matt Clifton each shot 48 to round out the Sharks' scoring.
St. Francis lost to Aptos 216-222 and beat Soquel 356-222.