High School Sports

Baseball fever sweeps Santa Maria Valley

Santa Maria, Righetti High in CIF title games

High School baseball fever sweeps...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Santa Maria High School and Righetti High School boys varsity baseball teams will be playing in CIF championship games this weekend.

For the Santa Maria High School Saints, its a chance at a CIF title for the first time in decades.

Wednesday afternoon saw batting practice for the Saints baseball squad as they prepare for the school's biggest game in 60 years or the last time they played in a championship game.

"Just keep practicing, working on fundamentals, little things like that", says Saints senior JJ Pantoja, "just keep working hard, no fooling around."

The Santa Maria High School Saints will play Moreno Valley High School on Saturday for the CIF Division 6 championship.

"We felt like we had more individuals than a team effort towards the middle of the season", says Saints Head Coach Rick Hebert, "but definitely at the end of the year we came together and started picking each other up and working for each other instead of for themselves, that's the biggest key."

Over at Righetti High School, the Warriors will play Walnut High School, who beat Paso Robles in the semifinals, for the CIF Division 3 championship also on Saturday.

The Warriors are led by future big league pitcher Matt Sauer.

As for the Santa Maria High School Saints, who were a wild card entry into the CIF playoffs, they came together as a team when it mattered the most.

"We've just bonded the last couple of weeks", says Saints junior Trevor Garcia, "its really helped as a team coming together, and it really helps us on the field, as a family."

"It feels good you're last year of high school ending your baseball career with a chance of a CIF ring championship, it feels good", adds senior JJ Pantoja.

"It is a big thing for me, I mean I've been playing here for four years, and I'm just glad I'm playing here now", says Saints senior Paul Navarro, "I have a chance to win it all, we have a chance to win it all, we're a team, and that's what it comes down to, it does."

Both championship games will be played Saturday at UC Riverside, a site that was chosen before the start of the CIF playoffs.

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