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Big win for CHS boys tennis puts team in driver’s seat

Watching her team’s lackluster performance in the second round of their must-win match against Ayala on Wednesday, Claremont boys varsity tennis Coach Kathy Settles knew she had a potential problem. The boys were playing alright, but they lacked the drive and the passion to win.

Claremont won the first round, 4-2, but then dropped the second, 2-4, resulting in a tie going into the final round of sets.

So, Coach Settles called a team meeting to turn the tide back in the Pack’s favor.

“It’s not good enough to be the better team on paper,’ she told them. “Let’s play like we actually want it, because right now I am not seeing that.”

The pep talk seemed to work as the boys rallied for a 4-2 third round win and the 10-8 overall victory.

It was a very big win for Claremont because the Bulldogs were the only other Palomares League team with the same record. Now Claremont is the presumptive league champion, assuming they don’t trip and lose to a much weaker team. Ayala will have their back against the wall when the two teams meet next Thursday. A Claremont win means they will stand alone on the podium, a loss means they will share the title.

Right out of the starting gate it was apparent it was going to be a long day. In the first round, two sets went into tiebreakers and only one went in Claremont’s favor—the number-one singles match between seniors Jason Weisman and Pritwik Jeeva.

Weisman stayed one step ahead most of the match, but Jeeva broke his serve and went up 6-5 late. Weisman came back and broke Jeeva’s serve, setting up the tie breaker that Weisman took 7-1.

The second round was a series of disappointments, including a doubles match pitting Claremont’s Lucas Rival and Joey Anagnos against Ayala’s Alex Chen and David Jin. Rival and Anagnos were serving at 5-3, but could not hold back Chen and Jin, who won three of the next four games, setting up a tiebreaker. The Pack was down 6-0 in the tiebreaker, but Ayala double faulted. Claremont then won the next four points, but hit a return into the net, sealing the Bulldog win.

The third and deciding set was far less dramatic, aside from a contentious singles match between Weisman and Ayala’s number two Dylan Ojeda. A disagreement over shots that were called out required that line judges be assigned to the court, and for a moment tempers did flare. In the end Weisman prevailed 6-2.

“I am proud of the boys. That middle round was a bit disappointing and I thought they were a little flat but they came out pretty strong in the first round, so they were resting a bit on their laurels. But they got it together and played a great last round and got it done,” Coach Settles said.

Typically, they would not have to play the strongest team in the league in back to back matches, however, Wednesday’s match was rescheduled because of rain.

Playing the Bulldogs was valuable, Coach Settles said, because it gave the players an opportunity to figure out how to avoid future mistakes. She’d like to see fewer unforced errors by getting more serves in play and to have her players compete with confidence.

“If you keep that high energy, you send a message with your body language ‘All right, I missed that but I am not going to miss it again.’”

Claremont hosted Colony after press time on Thursday and will have three matches next week: Monday away versus Alta Loma, Tuesday at Bonita and the Ayala match on Thursday.

 

Hot hitting seals league win for CHS baseball

Claremont High School baseball snapped their Palomares League losing streak with a stunning 12-3 victory over Colony on Wednesday at home.

Stephen Mara hit two doubles scored two runs and had two RBIs from three plate appearances; Nathan Garcia had three hits, one run and three RBIs; Adam Aguirre had three hits, two runs and one RBI; Jacob Klinovsky had two hits including a double, two runs and two RBIs.

Claremont used three pitchers:?Eric Roher, who pitched 5.5 innings, Jonah Paez and Diego Cruz.

With the win Claremont is now 1-8 in league and 7-17 overall. They will play Colony again on Friday in Ontario.

 

Webb softball, baseball continue stellar play

Claremont High School softball and baseball may be struggling somewhat this season, but just across town at The Webb Schools it’s a very different story. Both Webb’s varsity softball and baseball teams are in first place in the Academy League and have undefeated league records.

The Gauls softball team has only lost one game all season, which was a 16-0 blowout by Western Christian in March at Webb. However, the girls have blanked a number of teams themselves, including a 23-0 mercy rule win over Brethren Christian on March 28, their last game before spring break.

Sophomore Keigan McCullagh pitched a one hitter against Brethren Christian, striking out seven. On offense freshman Bianca Arteaga had three hits, three runs and three RBIs. Four players—junior Chloe Stewart, McCullagh, senior Gracie Reda and junior Emily Arias had two hits and combined for a total 10 runs.

The Gauls are 10-1 for the season and will travel to Garden Grove to face Orangewood Academy next Thursday.

The baseball team has had almost as good a season with a 10-2 record, but remain perfect in league. Their most recent league game was a 14-3 win over Calvary Chapel in Downey.

Junior Alex Cardenas had three hits, three runs and three RBIs from three plate appearances. Senior Eric Evans earned the win, pitching five innings, giving up five hits and three runs but striking out seven.

The baseball and softball teams are assured of winning league this spring, according to Director of Athletics Steve Wishek.

“Baseball is also ranked first in CIF division 6 and softball is ranked eighth in division 7. Our boys volleyball team is also on pace for an undefeated league season and ranked fifth in the latest CIF poll,” Mr. Wishek said.

It has been a big year for Webb with several teams enjoying undefeated records and first-ever league titles.

“Our girls volleyball and basketball teams also had undefeated league seasons and each took home league championships for the first time in school history. Girls soccer was an undefeated league champion. Boys volleyball has also captured their first-ever league title this year,” Mr. Wishek said.

It’s been an outstanding year for Webb, with league titles in boys and girls cross country, girls volleyball, girls soccer, girls basketball and boys volleyball.

The girls swim team is in a neck-and-neck battle with Sage Hill of Newport Beach for the league title. “We won our head-to-head match by two points, so league finals will be quite a battle for the title.” he said.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com