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CHS tennis just keeps winning. Complete sports round up

Claremont Wolfpack boys tennis firmly asserted its dominance in the Palomares League with critical back to back-to-back victories over the past week.

First, Claremont won a home match against Ayala, 10-8, last Tuesday followed by a much anticipated rematch between the two top league teams on Thursday in Chino Hills. A Bulldog victory would have resulted in a shared league title, however, the Pack pulled through with another 10-8 win, securing the undisputed championship.

Then at league prelims on Monday, the Pack once again dominated, sending both doubles teams and one singles player to the championship matches set for Tuesday at CHS.

The championship round started at 1 p.m. with a short orientation by Claremont Coach Kathy Settles, which included court assignments. The league finals looked very different this year because there were dozens of athletes ready to play, rather than just a few such as in years past. More on that later.

Claremont’s number-one seed Jason Weisman had a tough match against Ayala’s number one Pritwick Jeeva for the league singles title. Meanwhile Claremont’s number-one doubles seed, Ben Stapp and Andrew Weisman, fought for the league title against teammates Lucas Rival and Joey Anagnos.

Jeeva won his set against Weisman last Thursday during the final league match, but Weisman won the first time the two met, so they were essentially even going into the finals. Jeeva came out strong with a blistering forehand that sent Weisman scrambling from one side of the court to the other. However, Weisman relied on a strategy of consistent well placed returns to wear his opponent down, which paid off as he broke his opponent’s serve at several key moments for a 6-2, 6-2 win.

The victory was particularly sweet for Weisman because for the past three years he played in the shadow of teammate Leyton Bohren, who won the singles title last year in a match against Weisman. Bohren, however, graduated in 2018, so this was Weisman’s last chance to put his name on the winner’s plaque.

“I have been waiting for this and it feels good,” Weisman said after his win. “I tried to keep him on the court, to wear him down.” The plan was to avoid giving Jeeva a chance to use his powerful forehand by shooting to his backhand. “I had to take that into consideration every point,” he said.

“I think he pretty much had his game plan and he executed it, he did great,” Coach Settles said about Weisman’s win.

Because they split sets in the regular season, Weisman and Jeeva will share the league MVP title with both competing in the CIF individual tournament.

Stapp and Jason’s brother Andrew Weisman had a pretty tough match against Rival and Anagos, but eventually prevailed 6-2, 6-3 for the doubles title.

“Ben and Andrew had a perfect 30-0 season, they won league MVP for doubles and both Weismans won league titles as seniors,” Coach Settles said.

Stapp and both Weisman brothers will compete with other top Southern California players at the 2019 Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament this weekend.

League coaches adopted a new type of tournament bracket this year, designed to give more players extended court time. Instead of placing all 16 entrants into a single tournament, they broke it into two eight-man brackets, with the top seeded players and doubles teams vying for the championship and the others placed in a second flight.

This meant they had to find an alternate location for the playoffs because the Claremont Club, which has been the site of the finals for years, could not provide the league enough courts.

The decision resulted in all five teams qualifying for the finals, with matches on nearly every court at CHS. And, in a surprise twist, Claremont’s Will Wu defeated Bonita’s Mitchell Barron 0-6, 7-5 (10-8) for the singles draw title. The win was remarkable because up until a week ago, Wu had never played singles.

“That is your story,” Jason Weisman said. “He didn’t play singles all year, but got put in the draw bracket and just won it.”

“I put him in against Ayala and he played terrific,” Coach Settles said. “I thought ‘If I am going to keep playing him for CIF he better get some more match experience.’ So I put him in and he won three matches—and those are full matches not just sets.”

The team CIF championship begins next week and because Claremont won league, they should host the first round when the bracket is announced on Monday. Individual CIF playoffs will begin in a couple of weeks, once the team competition is over.

“It’s great to win league. We defended [last year’s title] so that is a nice streak. Half of our team are seniors so we looked to their leadership. Plus it’s a really great group of guys and I am going to miss those six seniors,” Coach Settles said.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com

 

Boys volleyball

Claremont lost its last regular season match, 3-0, (25-22, 25-23, 25-20) to rival Damien on Tuesday in La Verne.

The loss, while disappointing, does not impact Claremont’s third place in the Hacienda League, so the boys will earn a berth in the CIF tournament.

Claremont ends regular season with a league 4-4 record, 11-17 overall.

Softball

After Claremont defeated Colony 11-1 last Friday, the girls got another chance to even their record with Bonita, as they hosted the Bearcats on Monday at Cahuilla Park.

Claremont scored first when senior Makayla Romero knocked in two runs in the third inning, scoring sophomores Isabella Rivera and Sydney Diaz. However, Bonita tacked on one run in the fifth and two runs in the seventh, for a 3-2 Bearcat win.

The girls lost their final game, 4-1, on Wednesday at home against first place Ayala.  The Pack ends the season with at 7-9 league record and 11-17 overall.

Baseball

Claremont High School baseball season comes to an end on Friday, as the Pack travels to Chino Hills to take on first place Ayala.

The boys played three games this week, a 7-3 loss to Glendora on Friday, followed by a 18-17 win over Alta Loma on Tuesday and a 5-1 loss to Ayala on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s game was also Claremont’s senior day, as the team said goodbye to Gilbert Velasquez, Clayton Scott, Jonah Paez, Robert Michael Navarro, Marc Gonzalez and Diego Cruz.

Claremont dominated Braves pitching by belting 21 hits, including three doubles, one run and four RBIs by Jacob Klinovsky. Paez had three hits including a triple, three runs and four RBIs; Steven Mara nailed four hits, including a double, and four runs; Josh Kennedy had two hits, including a triple, two runs and three RBIs; Navarro had two hits, three runs and three RBIs; Kody Johnson had two hits and two runs; Aiden Ross had a hit and two runs; Adam Aguirre had a hit and an RBI.

The Pack used five pitchers who were also hit hard, giving up 18 hits, striking out four and walking one.

The boys are now 2-12 in league and 10-21 overall.

CMS SOFTBALL

The number-seven Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team honored their seniors as part of senior day and then went to capture a pair of one-run wins (8-7, 4-3) over Occidental. The wins clinched the SCIAC regular season title outright, earning the right to host the conference tournament on May 3-5, according to a news release from CMS athletics.

With the sweep, CMS reaches the 30-win plateau improving to 30-7 overall and 24-2 in SCIAC, with one regular season doubleheader next weekend at Whittier.

Prior to the game, the three honored seniors included pitcher/infielder Chloe Amarilla, outfielder Megan Mendez and outfielder Rachel Perley. Amarilla, a Claremont High graduate, homered in the opening game and earned the win pitching in the second game.