Santa Barbara Baseball and Softball Teams Enter Spring CIF Playoff-Palooza

Channel League Competitors Put Aside Rivalries to Pursue Postseason Glory

Bella Nuno provides an explosive bat to the Dos Pueblos lineup. | Credit: Gary Kim

The spring prep sports calendar has reached the win-or-go-home portion of the season. The playoffs are here, and the urgency is high as Santa Barbara athletes in lacrosse, tennis, swimming, track and field, softball, and baseball give everything they have to prolong their high school careers. This week, several area high school baseball and softball teams will pursue postseason glory as they enter CIF playoff-palooza.

BASEBALL SOLIDARITY:  After a number of hard-fought contests competing in the Channel League play, the San Marcos, Dos Pueblos, and Santa Barbara High baseball teams have all reached the CIF-Southern Section playoffs.

San Marcos senior captain Joaquin Sandoval is the reigning SBART Athlete of the Week after going 5 for 9 with a homerun  and three doubles in two games against Lompoc. | Credit: Lily Chubb

Despite the rivalries that exist between the three schools, a common sentiment emerged at the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table (SBART) Luncheon on Monday. They will all be rooting for each other going forward as each team looks to make noise in the postseason.

“Good luck to Dos Pueblos and San Marcos,” said Santa Barbara assistant coach Joe Holguin. “Now that we’re not in Channel League anymore, we will be rooting for you guys. Now all of us are Santa Barbara, so let’s see what we can do.”

The Dons finished in third place in the Channel League and will need to win their wild card game in Culver City on Tuesday, May 3 (after print deadline), in order to remain in the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs.

For Dos Pueblos, hosting a first-round game against St. Bonaventure on Friday is a nice reward for its 11 seniors. The Chargers, who are in the Division 3 playoffs this year, have not hosted a playoff game since their memorable run in 2018.

“We’ve played [St. Bonaventure] a few times over the last two years, and we feel like it’s a pretty good matchup and hopefully we can have a good game,” said Dos Pueblos coach George Hedricks. “I echo what coach Holguin said: I wish San Marcos and Santa Barbara the best of luck in the playoffs and for you seniors to get a chance to extend your seasons, extend your high school careers a little bit longer.”

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Unlike last season, when San Marcos needed extra innings in the final game of the regular season game to claim the Channel League title, the Royals carved out some breathing room from its crosstown rivals this season and will look to parlay their success in league into the postseason.

Steven Bradley sliding into home plate. | Credit: Lily Chubb

San Marcos catcher Joaquin Sandoval was named SBART Athlete of the Week on Monday after going five-for-nine with a home run, three doubles, and four runs batted in against Lompoc in two games. His leadership will be invaluable for San Marcos going forward.

“Joaquin has a 4.6 GPA. He’s a captain of our team and a two-sport athlete as the quarterback of our football team,” said San Marcos coach Wesley Ghan-Gibson. “Catcher and quarterback go hand in hand, so that kind of shows who he is as a person.”

As one of the highest-seeded teams in the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs, the Royals will take on the winner of the Montebello and Loyola Wild Card game at home on Thursday, May 5, at 3:15 p.m.

Bishop Diego has also advanced to the CIF-SS Division 6 playoffs and will travel to Milken Community for a first-round game on Thursday at 3:15 p.m.

SOFTBALL BRACKETS:  The three Channel League representatives in softball are all in the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs. 

Dos Pueblos won the league with a 22-5 overall record and 14-1 record in league play. The Chargers will host Lancaster on Thursday at 3:15 p.m. 

San Marcos and Lompoc tied for second place in the Channel League with 11-4 records, but Lompoc got the second-place bid into the playoffs by virtue of winning two of the three matchups between the two teams. 

Both teams will be on the road for the first round as San Marcos will travel to Moorpark and Lompoc will travel to Santiago of Garden Grove on Thursday at 3:15 p.m.

Dos Pueblos senior Dylon Bailey drills a line drive against rival Santa Barbara. | Credit: Gary Kim

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