By Gideon Rubin
Torrey Pines capped off an unforgettable season with an amazing finish.
Just a week after winning the San Diego Section Division I title, the Falcons claimed the Southern California regional championship with a decisive 5-2 victory over Bullard of Fresno in the March 12 Div. I title game at Warren High of Downey.
The regional championship marked the end of longtime coach Dennis Costello’s career at the Falcons’ helm.
Costello ranks this year’s team among the best he’s ever coached since taking over the program in 1986. He started out as an assistant a year before that.
Several players have publicly stated that sending Costello off a winner fueled the Falcons’ postseason run.
“They can play for me, but the way I look at it as they played for themselves because this is something they’ll have for the rest of their lives,” Costello said. “Everything they’ve done for me I’m certainly appreciative, but they’re saying this is for (me) and I’m saying this is for them, so I guess everything balances out.”
The regional championship game followed a 4-1 win against Ayala of Chino Hills on March 8 and a 3-0 victory over El Camino Real of Woodland Hills two days later.
UCLA-bound Kylie McCarthy had a game for the ages, scoring four goals to lead the Falcons.
Two-sport star Katie Trees, who’s headed to Duke to play soccer and lacrosse, scored one goal in the last game of her storied Falcons soccer career.
Olivia Buechler, Jackie Friedman and Nicole Sherwin each had one assist.
Friedman, McCarthy, Trees and Courtney Massimino each scored one goal and Alexandra Bailey had two assists to lead the Falcons in the Ayala game.
Falcons goalie Heather Schlesier had four saves.
Buechler, Trees and Massimino each scored one goal and Bailey had two assists in the ECR game.
Falcons goalie Hunter Rittgers had four saves.
The Falcons won their last nine games and were unbeaten in their last 11 as they improved their overall record for the season to 23-2-4.
They outscored their opponents by a combined 93-19.
“We just sort of built into a very, very good team,” Costello said. “We started off as individuals, you’ve got players coming in from all over the place, and the whole idea is to try to blend them as one, and game by game they just got better.
“They really played exceptionally well in the playoffs, from the finals against Poway in the (San Diego Section) finals right through to the (regional) finals.”
A year after graduating left-handed pitching sensation Michael Fagan, a fresh new crop of San Diego Jewish Academy players seem to be filling in just fine for the Lions
SDJA on March 10 overcame a four-run deficit in an 11-5 victory over High Tech in the nonleague Eagles tournament.
The win improved the Lions overall record for the season to 3-0 in the post-Fagan era.
Fagan, the school’s record holder in nearly all meaningful pitching categories, is now playing Division I ball at Princeton.
Isaac Perez had two hits including a double and two RBI to lead the Lions, who trailed 5-1 going into the top of the fourth.
The Lions scored three runs in the fourth and then four in the fifth to take an 8-5 lead they’d never relinquish.
Ethan Lew and David Raimi each contributed two hits including a double, and Ben Gourley and Rick Saxe each had one hit and two RBI.
The win followed a 21-3 trouncing of San Pasqual Academy on March 8.
Raimi and Gourley combined for four hits and five RBI to lead the route.
Great pitching and timely hitting have helped Torrey Pines reel off four straight wins to start the season.
The Falcons defeated Great Oak of Temecula 3-2 and Carlsbad by the same score in nonleague games on March 10 and March 12.
Brian Thene struck out eight batters and allowed one run on six hits and one walk to lead the Falcons in the Great Oak game.
Reed Mason’s two-run homer highlighted a three-run Falcons outburst in the bottom of the second.
Mason pitched a six-hitter in the Carlsbad game, striking out seven batters and allowed no walks.
Kyle Johnson and Morgan Oliver each contributed run-scoring doubles that highlighted a three-run rally in the top of the first inning for Torrey Pines.
Cathedral Catholic staged a dramatic rally to win its first game of the season.
The Dons overcame a three-run deficit, scoring four runs in their last at-bat in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat St. Augustine 10-9 in a nonleague Lolita tournament game on March 12.
The Dons led 6-2 going into the top of the sixth, when St. Augustine scored seven runs to take a 9-6 lead.
The Dons' bats came alive in a decisive seventh inning rally.
Matt Boermeester had four hits and two RBI to lead the Dons, and Nick Fornaca contributed two hits and four RBI.
Jesse Kay and Stephen Haviar each added three hits.
The victory followed a 5-0 Lolita tournament game loss to Granite Hills on March 8 in a season opener for both teams in which the Dons were held to two hits.
Santa Fe Christian lost to Point Loma 5-3 in a nonleague game on March 10.
Jake McKinney had two hits and one RBI for the Eagles, and Graham Gomez had an RBI double.
The loss dropped the Eagles overall record for the season to 1-3.