It’s only two weeks into the PAC 8 baseball season, and there’s still a lot of baseball left to play, but already it’s becoming clear which two teams are most likely going to battle it out for a PAC 8 league title in May — San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles high schools.
Paso Robles (8-2-2, 5-1 PAC 8) is coming off a three-game sweep of Arroyo Grande (2-8, 1-5 PAC 8) after winning its series over Pioneer Valley (2-8, 1-5).
The Bearcats are getting it done with pitching. Senior starters Brad Tews (1.31 ERA) and Aidan Kearns (1.81 ERA), along with junior Ryan Harvel, have combined with a strong bullpen that includes sophomore Hunter Barnhart and junior Lucas Climer. The staff, which has allowed just three runs in six league games, had two shutouts against Arroyo Grande, including one Thursday in which Harvel pitched a complete game in a 7-0 win.
SLO High, on the other hand, is getting it done with the bats, though it does have the best pitcher in the league in junior lefty Cooper Benson. He threw the first no-hitter of his high school career Thursday in a 7-0 win over St. Joseph and hasn’t allowed an earned run in four starts.
SLO High (8-2, 5-1 PAC 8) is also loaded with hitters and is averaging nearly seven runs per game in league play. Junior Brooks Lee, a Cal Poly baseball commit and son of Mustangs head coach Larry Lee, is leading the way with a batting average better than .500.
It will be a while before these teams meet on the field. The first game of a three-game series doesn’t come until May 1 in Paso Robles.
The rest of the PAC 8 standings are bunched early in the season, with Atascadero, Mission Prep, Righetti and St. Joseph all tied for third place with 3-3 records.
Templeton High baseball lost its first two games of the season last week to Santa Ynez, but the Eagles still sit in first place after 10 Los Padres League games.
Templeton (10-2, 8-2 Los Padres) has been hitting the ball all over the park this season and has three players with batting averages better than .400: senior Jared Money, junior Justice Gibbons and sophomore Nolan Stetz. Senior Jarred Briltz also has 13 RBI in 12 games and is hitting .371. On the mound, it has been senior Cole Garcia leading the way with a 4-1 record and a 1.40 ERA in six appearances.
▪ The undefeated Templeton softball team is also in first place in the Los Padres League standings. For the third season in a row, Templeton (8-0, 4-0 Los Padres) is led by the pitching of junior and Texas A&M commit Ashley Daugherty.
Daugherty had 13 strikeouts in a 2-1 complete-game win over Santa Maria on Thursday to give her 67 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched this season. Daugherty, who’s also hitting .520, has paired with senior Ashley Ingle (.538) to form a powerful offensive duo.
SLO High volleyball, tennis knock off Arroyo Grande
The SLO High boys volleyball and tennis teams had breakthrough wins against Arroyo Grande last week.
Junior and first-team all-county member Zach Hilty swept in singles, and Elias Weeks and Nathan Butterfield swept in doubles to lead the Tigers to a win over previously undefeated Arroyo Grande on Monday. SLO High followed that with wins over St. Joseph and Paso Robles to move to 11-1 overall and 9-0 in PAC 8 play.
▪ It was a historic night for SLO High boys volleyball Tuesday. With a 3-1 win on the road, SLO High (15-5-1, 5-0 PAC 8) broke Arroyo Grande’s 65-game league winning streak and jumped into first place in the PAC 8.
Top water polo teams visit Morro Bay
Morro Bay High School welcomed two of the top college women’s water polo teams in the nation — No. 2 Cal and No. 21 San Diego State — to its brand-new aquatics center last week.
Cal freshman Kitty Lynn Joustra from The Netherlands scored four goals for Cal in a 15-7 win for the Bears.
Cal also took some time to train and check out The Rock during its spring break trip. It was also a homecoming for Arroyo Grande graduates Isabella Solis and Taylor York, who are freshmen on the SDSU team.
PAC 8 Softball
It should be an interesting PAC 8 softball season with a handful of teams capable to winning a league title.
Early on, it’s Paso Robles (7-3 overall) and Atascadero (10-2 overall) that are tied for first place with 3-0 records.
Paso Robles has allowed just one run in wins over Pioneer Valley, St. Joseph and Arroyo Grande, led by junior pitcher Alyssa Valle and her 1.49 ERA.
Atascadero, with its sophomore phenom pitcher Bailey Doherty, has allowed just two runs in league play and has won five straight. Doherty is 9-1 with a 0.24 ERA and an incredible 122 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched.
The rivals will play a week from Tuesday on April 10.
Defending league champions SLO High (4-3, 2-1 PAC 8) and Righetti (2-1 PAC 8) are also expected to contend for a title.
LPL boys volleyball
Templeton’s 6-foot-4 senior outside hitter Chase Erwin has the Eagles boys volleyball team in the top spot entering the second half of Los Padres League play.
Templeton (9-13, 5-1 Los Padres) has turned its season around after a string of early losses and leads Nipomo (6-7, 4-1 Los Padres) and Morro Bay 6-11, 4-1 Los Padres) in the standings.