2017-05-18 / Sports

Crazy about Cats

Newbury Park baseball, softball teams scoop up league titles in same season for first time
By Jonathan Andrade


WE WANT A PITCHER, NOT A BELLY ITCHER—Newbury Park High’s baseball team captured its first Marmonte League title since 2006. The Panthers open the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs on Friday. 
Photos by BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers WE WANT A PITCHER, NOT A BELLY ITCHER—Newbury Park High’s baseball team captured its first Marmonte League title since 2006. The Panthers open the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs on Friday. Photos by BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers Newbury Park High’s softball and baseball teams did more than snap a dry spell this season.

The Panthers made school history by simultaneously claiming the Marmonte League’s baseball and softball crowns.

School officials had to dig deep to confirm the historic season on the diamond for the Panther programs since the softball team hadn’t won a league crown since 1999. The baseball team’s last Marmonte title came in 2006.

“That’s pretty crazy,” said senior baseball standout Shay Whitcomb about the teams’ concurrent successes.

Newbury Park softball head coach Mike Dagan said softball and baseball players would trade barbs during the season as both squads chased league crowns.


RUN THIS HOUSE—Newbury Park High sophomore Hailey Washington tracks down a ball during softball practice. RUN THIS HOUSE—Newbury Park High sophomore Hailey Washington tracks down a ball during softball practice. “I know the girls and boys were kind of competing back and forth,” Dagan said. “We just happened to get (the league titles) the same week.”

The baseball team officially locked up league after an Oaks Christian and Calabasas dustup forced the teams to forfeit two league games. The softball team clinched the outright title with a win over Thousand Oaks on May 9, but the celebration was overshadowed by an injury to starting shortstop Paige Barth, a junior who broke her right thumb in the season finale.

“It was a little bittersweet for us,” Dagan said. “The girls were somber, but the next day at practice we celebrated a little bit. They were excited to finally be crowned.”

Both teams march into the CIF-Southern Section postseason this week.


FEROCIOUS—Newbury Park High junior SeaEnna Satcher, who patrols third base, throws the ball during a recent practice. 
BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers FEROCIOUS—Newbury Park High junior SeaEnna Satcher, who patrols third base, throws the ball during a recent practice. BOBBY CURTIS/Acorn Newspapers The top- ranked softball team (24-6 overall) opens the Division 3 tournament at 3:15 p.m. today at Borchard Park against Fullerton (15-12).

Newbury Park’s baseball team (20-9) begins its Division 2 playoff journey against either Santa Barbara or Burroughs at 3:15 p.m. at home on Friday.

“A league title is nice, but getting to the playoffs is the biggest thing,” Dagan said.

The softball squad is motivated to play well for their sidelined teammate.

“It was a tough loss,” said SeaEnna Satcher, a junior who roams third base, “but in a team meeting, we said everything we do from this point on we have to do for Paige. She’s given everything this season. We really owe it to her to motivate each other to come through for her.”

Kali Brown, a junior who started second base most of the season, will shift over to shortstop. Barth’s younger sister, Sydney, will move from left field to second base to fortify the infield.

“We have to build from league and keep going,” Brown said.

Fullerton is powered by the bats of Kristin Smith and Alexia Silvas, who each have four homers this season.

Newbury Park will put the ball in the hands of superstar pitcher Tabitha Dyer.

Serena Huchingson, a Boise State commit who has 10 homers this season, brings the ruckus for the Black Cat Attack.

Paige Barth, who sported a cast at practice Tuesday, expressed confidence in her team while watching from the dugout.

“I just need to be there for my team to tell them everything will be OK,” said Barth, who’s expected to miss the entire postseason. “I think my injury kind of shocked the team. We have to be confident and positive about stuff right now.”

Newbury Park’s baseball team also held off on a celebration until after its season finale against rival Thousand Oaks.

“When we initially knew we won, of course we were excited and happy that our hard work paid off, but we really didn’t celebrate that much,” Whitcomb said. “We just focused on the next game.”

The Panthers will lean on a stingy defense during the playoffs. Pitchers Carson Lambert, Jake Miller and Tyler Kennedy, all juniors, have been virtually unhittable from the bump.

“We’re going to pitch well and play good defense,” said Newbury Park baseball head coach Curtis Scott. “We just need to get that timely hit. If we can get that timely hit—that extra base hit with guys on base—I think that’s the key.”

Cameron Kinsner, a senior third baseman, said the Panthers have the fortitude to deliver.

“We just come through in clutch situations,” he said. “We know how to get the job done. We’ve had a couple of stressful games that we’ve pulled through.”

Both squads have enjoyed success this season with first-year head coaches, and they expect the good times to continue next year and beyond.

“I’d say the future is bright for both baseball and softball with the great coaching staffs,” Whitcomb said.

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