Perhaps the most memorable road trip for the Santa Ynez High baseball team this past spring wasn’t to an away game or tournament.


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In fact, the Pirates didn’t play on the trip at all. Instead, they were honored and then got a chance to sit back and watch a game at the highest level of the sport.

The baseball coaches and players traveled to Angel Stadium in Anaheim on May 1 to receive the school’s first-ever, CIF All-Academic team banner before relaxing and enjoying an early-season game between the Angels and Minnesota Twins. The CIF honor, and the trip that came along with it, were just two of several milestone and/or record-breaking moments for the Valley’s sports programs since the start of the 2012 spring sports season. Here’s a look at some other highlights from the year in sports:

Following their trip to Anaheim, the Pirates, under first-year head coach Warren Dickey, went on to finish the season with a 22-7 record and won a pair of CIF Division 5 tournament games before falling one game short of the semifinals with a home loss against Paraclete.

The pitching staff, led by starters Nathan Thompson, Thomas Rowan and Hunter Totemeier, finished with a combined ERA of just 1.99. The lineup, led by Los Padres League MVP and All-CIF selection Felipe Gonzales and All-LPL selections Zach DeMarcus and Ryan Welker, finished with a team batting average of .346.

The Santa Ynez boys tennis team also had a memorable spring as it claimed LPL championships in both singles and doubles. The squad, led by top singles players Joseph Kavaloski, Joe Herman and Nico Naretto, went on to reach the second round of the CIF Division 4 team tournament.

On the volleyball court, Pirates seniors Russ Fenenga, Chris Gil and Clay Adam were each first-team All-LPL selections as they helped lead Santa Ynez to the second round of the CIF Division 3 tournament.

On the track, the Santa Ynez girls claimed their first outright LPL track and field championship, while the boys team claimed a share of the league title, its fourth straight season of finishing at least as co-champion.

The girls team got consistent performances from distance runner Jessica Meyers, jumper Ariel Johnston, sprinter Lexi Boerrell, and throwers Amanda Frazier and Richelle Mendiaz, both of whom advanced to the CIF Division 3 prelims, Mendiaz as a freshman. Members of the boys team who competed in CIF were thrower Dane Underwood and distance runner Steven Fields.

While those teams were heading into the home stretch in the spring, the Santa Ynez football program was entering a new era under former safety and first-year head coach Josh McClurg, who is a member of the school’s Wall of Honor. McClurg, who took over this year for recently retired longtime coach Ken Gruendyke, got a jump on installing his team’s new system in the spring. The Pirates didn’t have the success they would have liked in year one under McClurg – they limped to an injury-riddled 1-9 record – but the coach remains confident the team is headed in the right direction.

The football season also marked a pair of firsts for the 8-man programs at Dunn School and Orcutt Academy. In Orcutt, the Spartans got their program off the ground with their inaugural season in the sport. Led by coach Tony Payne, Orcutt finished its first season with a surprising 5-5 record, including a game in the CIF playoffs. Dunn School capped off its similarly impressive regular season with its first-ever appearance in the CIF tournament. The Earwigs put up a fight against Desert Christian in the postseason, but ultimately fell, 53-37, to finish the season 4-4.

Other standout Santa Ynez athletes from the fall include:

Senior cross country runner Jacob Carey, who captured the school’s first LPL individual title and tied the school record with a time of 16 minutes, 10 seconds in the CIF Division 4 state meet, in which he finished 16th. Senior Kat Rocha went undefeated in LPL play en route to the league singles tennis championship. She also helped her team reach the final four of the CIF Division 4 team tournament and competed in the CIF individual bracket.

Senior Jenny Andreas led the Pirates girls golf team and went on to compete individually in the CIF Northern Regional tournament.

Senior Ashley Carroll set school records in setting and defense while helping lead the Pirates girls volleyball squad to the second round of the CIF Division 3A tournament. Carroll was one of four Santa Ynez players selected to the All-LPL teams, joining fellow senior Kelly Krivulka on the first team. Freshman Taylor Nation was picked to the second team, while sophomore Alexandra Carlson received an honorable mention.

With the winter sports currently in full swing as the New Year approaches, there’s sure to be more memorable moments in 2013.

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