Arroyo Grande senior Brett MacDonald has been a thorn in the Tigers’ paw this week.
On Tuesday, MacDonald was part of the undefeated Arroyo Grande tennis team that beat San Luis Obispo 13-5. On Friday, MacDonald was back in action for the Eagles volleyball team in a game between undefeated PAC 8 rivals.
On a team full of blue and white jerseys, MacDonald was a yellow blur as the Eagles libero. And his energy and defense helped lead Arroyo Grande to a 3-1 win (25-19, 25-23, 19-25, 25-21) over SLO High and extend its league winning streak to 55 games in a row. And he did it all nursing a back injury.
“Playing through that was easy,” said MacDonald, who was just cleared to practice Thursday. “The adrenaline was pumping.”
The excitement of the biggest PAC 8 game of the season so far was flowing early.
The teams traded blows in the first set before Arroyo Grande closed it out with a 6-3 run. The Eagles kept the momentum to start the second and jumped out to a 7-2 lead, leading to a Tigers timeout. When SLO High emerged from the huddle, Serbian exchange student Marko Sejic came alive. Sejic reeled off three quick kills, and the Tigers quickly turned the deficit into a 14-10 lead. SLO High junior Sawyer McSorely did his part to spark the rally with booming serves and powerful kills.
“I remember getting in the huddle after we lost the lead and talking about mental toughness,” MacDonald said. “We preach that in practice. I think that’s what separates us from a lot of teams. We can be down, lose the lead, but we know in those crucial moments, we are going to stay mentally tough and get those big points.”
Arroyo Grande worked back to tie it at 19-19 before a kill by junior Jared Loayza sealed the set. MacDonald, the emotional leader of the team, was fired up.
After winning the third set, the first set dropped by Arroyo Grande in league play this season, SLO High was gaining confidence. Meanwhile MacDonald was using a foam roller in between points to loosen up his back. But once he was back on the court, he made a handful of diving digs on crucial points, none bigger than a dig that led to a SLO High hitting error and a 13-9 lead.
The Eagles would fight off a few more SLO High runs before getting the win.
“He is my glue,” said head coach Laurel Allen of MacDonald, son of Arroyo Grande athletic director Dwight MacDonald. “Since he was born, he was ready to play sports. He chose volleyball and tennis, and he’s one that no matter what he is going to go for everything. It’s a joy to have him on the team.”
MacDonald finished with 20 digs, many of which went through Sasha Bylsma (36 assists) and off the hand of Jackson Tourdot (16 kills).
“Anytime we come here it’s a battle,” MacDonald said. “They are one of the best teams in the league. I thought each team fought so hard for it. Two really equally skilled teams. It was a great match.”
Arroyo Grande (12-3, 6-0 PAC 8) takes on Righetti on Tuesday while SLO High (16-4-2, 5-1 PAC 8) hosts Paso Robles.
Paso Robles 5, Pioneer Valley 0
Nolan Binkele tossed a complete-game shutout as the Bearcats completed a three-game series sweep over the Panthers to remain in a tie with Atascadero for second place in the PAC 8.
Seth Matthysse had a single and two RBIS, while Mark Armstrong, Dylan Lewis and Hunter Barnhart also had RBI singles. Paso Robles (8-3 overall, 5-1 PAC 8) begins its next series Tuesday at home against Atascadero.
Arroyo Grande 5, Mission Prep 1
The Eagles scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie and give them the series victory with their second win over the Royals this week.
Arroyo Grande (5-6 overall, 2-4 PAC 8) takes on San Luis Obispo in a three-game series starting Tuesday, while Mission Prep (4-5, 1-5) will face St. Joseph.
Atascadero 4, St. Joseph 0
The Greyhounds took two of three in its series against St. Joseph to remain in a tie with Paso Robles for second place in the PAC 8. Atascadero and Paso Robles face off in a three-game series next week starting Tuesday.
Righetti 18, San Luis Obispo 5
The first-place Warriors completed a three-game sweep of the Tigers.
Templeton 4, Santa Ynez 2
Templeton junior Cole Garcia overcame a rough first inning to hold Santa Ynez to four hits and two runs over five innings as the Eagles rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Santa Ynez in a key Los Padres League matchup at Templeton on Friday.
Junior Rigel Hall paced the Eagles offense with an RBI sac fly in the first inning to give Templeton a 3-2 lead and then a big RBI single in the fifth inning. Templeton senior Shane Wyatt was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Justice Gibbons closed the game with two perfect frames to pick up the save.
The win pulls the Eagles to within a game of the first place Pirates in a crowded LPL race. Templeton is now 9-5, 6-4 while Santa Ynez falls to 9-5, 7-3.
Lompoc 6, Nipomo 5
Nipomo gave up three runs in both the second and third innings – although only four were earned – and couldn’t recover in a Los Padres League road loss.
Freshman Venessa DeLosSantos was 2 for 3 with two RBI, and sophomore Lila Andersen also went 2 for 3 with an RBI to lead Nipomo offensively. The Titans outhit Lompoc 9 to 5.
Hope Gooddall allowed four earned runs on five hits and was 2 for 4 with two doubles at the plate.
The Titans (4-6 overall, 2-2 LPL) next play at Santa Ynez on Tuesday.
Paso Robles 1, Arroyo Grande 0
Alyssa Valle and Sara Owens combined for a shutout to lead the Bearcats in a PAC 8 contest.
Valle started and went three innings, giving up two hits and striking out two, while Owens picked up the win with four relief innings while also allowing two hits and striking out two.
Rebecca Twyman came up with the game-winning RBI single in the top of the seventh inning for first-place Paso Robles (4-0 PAC 8).
San Luis Obispo 17, Pioneer Valley 1
The Tigers were led by their three doubles teams, which dropped just six points en route to three-set sweeps.
Arroyo Grande 212, Paso Robles 86
Jared Martin won the 50 (22.97) and 100 free (50.68) and swam on the winning 200 medley and 200 free relay teams to lead the Eagles to victory.
James Hazel also won two individual events, the 200 (1:47.64) and 500 free (4:54.23) and swam on both relays. Kevin Virnig and Trent Schachter also swam on both relays.
Arroyo Grande 204, Paso Robles 110
The 200 medley relay team of Paige Leonard, Sarah Kasper, Hannah Parson and Mikayla clocked a season-best CIF-consideration mark of 1:57.27 to lead the Eagles.
Leonard won both of her individual events, the 200 IM (CIF consideration, 2:15.51) and 100 fly (1:02.70). Parson also was victorious in two individual events, the 50 free in a person best 24.73 and the 100 free (CIF consideration, 54.24).
Arroyo Grande’s 200 free and 400 free relay teams also won in CIF-consideration times.