Baseball fights for playoff spot after nearly pulling off huge upset. Spring Teams prepare for CIF.

Frank Dariano
WSC Baseball: It was a game for the ages Friday afternoon as Webb School of California Varsity Baseball welcomed Capistrano Valley Christian to Chandler Field. The Eagles had beaten the Gauls in each of their previous two meetings this season by a combined score of 31-6, including an 18-1 victory in San Juan Capistrano three days prior. The Gauls were looking for their first win over Capo since joining the San Joaquin League in 2015. More importantly, Webb needed to win two of its final three games this season to guarantee a playoff berth in the 2017 CIF-SS Division Six Playoffs.

The teams each put a run on the board in the first inning, but Capo hung seven runs on Webb in the second, largely thanks to a two-run homer by Mike Williams and a grand slam from Alec Arnone. Wyatt Albert ’17 took over for fellow senior Spencer Stewart on the mound in the top of the third, and the Eagles added two more runs for a 10-1 lead.  But the Gauls did not give up and mounted a comeback, despite Capo having three NCAA Division I-bound seniors on the roster and being ranked number one in the CIF-SS Division Four poll. An RBI double by Stewart in the bottom of the third inning launched a seven-run swing that included a full-count line drive by Alex Cardenas ’20. He took pitcher Jacob Juarez deep to left field for a 2-RBI double. Capistrano Valley Christian’s lead had shrunk from nine runs to two by the start of the fourth inning. Both pitchers went three-up three-down in the fourth, but after Capo made the score 11-8 in the fifth, Webb was primed for another big inning. Adrian Alvarez ’17 beat out a throw to first base for an infield RBI single. Then, RBI doubles from Stewart and J.J. Cunningham ’19 tied the game before Blake Pederson ’18 gave Webb a 13-11 lead on a 2-RBI single.

A scoreless sixth inning for both teams gave Webb a chance to close out the upset in the top of the seventh. But with two outs, a 2-RBI double by CVCS pinch hitter Adam Juarez tied the game. Then a wild pitch allowed Capo to score the tying run. Robert Wood’s infield RBI single gave Capo a 15-13 lead entering the bottom of the seventh. A Blake Pederson hit to right-center dropped between three Capo fielders and Webb made it a one run game. But the Eagles would end it on a strikeout one batter later.

“I’m extremely proud of the guys for not tucking their tail and giving up and fighting through it and showing their Webb pride and all the hard word they put in,” said head coach Jeff Stodgel. He said the Gauls showed their maturity and unity as a team by coming back from the deficit early on “They got in the same boat and started rowing.”

Webb (12-8, 5-5 in San Joaquin League) finishes the season hosting Saddleback Valley Christian on Tuesday May 9th and then playing at SVC on May 11th. Both games are at 3:30 PM and the May 9th game will air live on The NFHS Network. If Webb wins both games, they would be guaranteed a playoff spot and finishing in second place in the San Joaquin League. Winning only one game could still result in a playoff spot, depending on how the final league standings shake out. The Gauls would have to hope for an at-large bid if they don’t win a game this week. The CIF-SS Division Six Playoff bracket will be released next Monday.

VWS Softball:
Coach Ron Smith’s Vivian Webb Softball team continued a dominating run through the San Joaquin League on Friday with a 24-0 drubbing of Saddleback Valley Christian. Webb put up six runs in the first, and had no less than five runs in each of the first four innings. Sarah Renfrew ‘17’s five RBI day led the Gauls’ offense. She had a double and a triple on the afternoon. Elyse Morris ’17 hit her second home run of the year, while fellow seniors Emily Chu and Jessica Renfrew had three RBI’s each.

The Gauls’ 5-0 league record is among the most dominant runs of any Webb team this year. The Gauls have outscored league opponents by a combined total of 99-0, and have allowed just nine total hits, in those five wins. VWS has won a total of nine games by a double-digit margin, and six of those wins have been shutouts. They have scored at least 24 runs in a game four times this year.  

VWS is ranked 10th in this week’s CIF-SS Division Six Poll. Their final two regular season games will both be at home and both will air live on the NFHS Network. Webb hosts Southlands Christian on May 10th and Crean Lutheran on May 11th. Both games start at 3:45 PM. The CIF-SS D-6 playoff bracket will be released on Monday, May 15th.

WSC Tennis
: Webb School of California Varsity Tennis continued its excellent season in the Ambassador League by shining Thursday at the league tournament finals, held at Linfield Christian in Temecula. The singles’ final was an all Webb affair, with Deepak Tummula ’18 defeating Tom Liu ’19. Webb also finished with the second and third best doubles pairs in league, with Kia Nalbandi ’18 and J.P. Calderoni ’19 coming in second, and seniors Darren Hsu and Rafael Huang finished third. A team of twin brothers from Arrowhead Christian defeated both pairs on its way to winning the tournament. Webb and Arrowhead Christian split the regular season league championship.

Webb (17-2) will host a first-round matchup in the CIF-SS Division three Tournament on Wednesday at 3 PM. The Gauls will face the winner of Tuesday’s wild card matchup between Arlington and Coachella Valley.

Webb Swimming and Diving:
The CIF-SS Division Three prelims and finals will be this week at the Riverside Aquatics Complex. Webb swimming and diving will have its final two days of practice on Monday and Tuesday before prelims on Wednesday, May 10th. Finals follow on May 11th. Webb swimmers qualified for 13 events in the competition, with Rylie Brick ’19, Emily Chu ’17, and Lindsay Jung ’19 highlighting the group. Jung will swim the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle races, Chu will be in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly races, and Brick will swim the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard I.M. Euson Hui ’18 is WSC’s lone representative in the boys’ individual events, as he qualified for the 100-breaststroke.

Webb will have a team in both the boys’ and girls’ heats for all three relays events, the 200-freestyle, 400-freestyle, and the 200-medley.

Webb Track and Field –
Webb Track and Field is now preparing for this Saturday’s CIF-SS Division Four Prelims at Carpinteria High School near Santa Barbara, with the goal of advancing to the section finals next Saturday at Cerritos College. In the track events, the Gauls will have six boys competing. Running the 4x100 meter relay for WSC will be Brendan Shue ’18, Nick Martinez ’18, Chris Halliburton ’20, and Nick Johnson ’19. Spencer Easley ’18 will run the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles, while Jeffrey Ran ’19 will be in the 400-meter dash. Halliburton, Martinez, Easley, and Ran will team up for the 4x400-meter relay.

In the field events, Vivian Webb will have Dylan Wensley ’17 in the pole vault and triple jump, and Kelli Henry ’18 in the long jump. Webb School of California will have Nick Johnson in the high jump, triple jump, and long jump. Apollo Thomas ’17 will also compete in the triple jump, while Jeffrey Ran will compete in the pole vault, and Edison Adler ’19 will be in the discus throw.

Webb Badminton:
Two boys and one girl from Webb Badminton are preparing for this week’s CIF-Individuals tournament. Prelims will be held on Thursday at the San Gabriel Valley Badminton Club in El Monte, with finals on Friday at the same location. Jayden Chiu ’20 and Anam Zahidi ’18 will represent the Gauls in mixed doubles play. Albert Zhang ’18 will compete in the boys’ singles bracket. Webb finished the regular season 6-5, and lost its opening rounder CIF playoff matchup with Long Beach Poly last week.

Webb Golf
: Webb School of California Varsity Golf is preparing for next Monday’s CIF-Southern Division Team Regional Championship. It will be held at Mile Square Golf Course in Fountain Valley. Webb must be one of the top two finishing teams to advance to the CIF-SS SCGA Team Qualifier set for May 18th at Rancho San Marcos Golf Course in Santa Barbara. If Webb does not advance, individual members of the team can still advance. They would have to be among the top 28 golfers from non-advancing teams, and would then go to the CIF-Regional State Qualifier Tournament. That is set for May 25th at Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena, with the state finals following on May 31st in Pebble Beach. 

WSC Volleyball
: Webb boys’ varsity volleyball finished the season winning two of its final three matches, including a 3-0 win over Capistrano Valley Christian on senior day on May 2nd. Webb ends the season 3-13, and 2-4 in San Joaquin League Play.

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