Malibu baseball, tennis finish epic spring seasons

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Caroline Pietrzyk leads the pack of runners on her way to the CIF Division IV title in the 3200 race.

All good things must come to an end. With less than a month in the school year remaining, spring sports at Malibu High have come to a close, with the exception of MHS star runner Caroline Pietrzyk.

Track

A week after winning the CIF Championship in the Division IV 3200 race, sophomore Caroline Pietrzyk registered a personal best of 10:35.91 in the 3200 at the Masters Meet in Cerritos last Friday night. She becomes the first MHS runner to advance to the state finals. Pietrzyk’s prior personal best of 10:47.70 came back on May 18 in the CIF Championship defeating her nearest competitor by 37 seconds.

That performance made her just the third female athlete in Malibu track and field program history to win a CIF Southern Section title and the first since 2000. Pietrzyk entered the Masters ranked No. 1 in CIF and State Division IV for the 3200. Overall she was 11th in Southern California and 19th in the state.

Baseball

The Malibu High baseball team completed its historic season with a 24-5 overall record after suffering a CIF Division VI second-round defeat to Calvary Chapel of Downey, 10-6, on May 21 at Veterans Field in Commerce.

The Sharks’ loss came in dramatic fashion, as a long fly ball by junior Chase Lambert narrowly missed what would have been a game-tying grand slam for the final out.

“I could not be more proud of them. While we will miss the leadership and solid play of seniors Alvie Alvarado, Frank Thomas and Riley McMillin, most of the squad is young, some very young, and the Malibu Sharks baseball program is poised to continue improving each year while establishing itself as one of the top baseball programs around,” Malibu coach Ari Jacobs said after the game. “The exciting brand of highly successful team baseball will be the norm and the 2013 Sharks baseball team should be incredibly proud of their efforts and achievements this year.”

Heading into the sixth inning with the game knotted at 3-3, junior Chris Falk led off with a 400-foot triple to center field. Senior Alvaro Alvarado then doubled to bring Falk home, giving Malibu a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth, putting the Sharks just six outs away from advancing to the CIF quarterfinals for the first time in school history.

After pitching five strong innings, junior pitcher Noah Simon, who went 10-2 on the season, ran out of gas, surrendering a leadoff walk and then a double. With closer Chase Lambert unable to pitch because of an arm injury, Malibu turned to sophomore Andre Simoneau who entered the game with a 1.70 era and nine starts under his belt.

Despite a courageous effort by Simoneau pitching in an unfamiliar role he wasn’t used to, Calvary Chapel scored seven unanswered runs to take a 10-4 lead into the seventh inning. Malibu mounted one final rally, scoring two runs behind an RBI single from freshman Ezra Allen and a bases-loaded RBI walk by Alvarado. The deficit was reduced to 10-6, with the bases loaded, and the Sharks almost pulled it out.

Lambert, the Sharks’ junior designated hitter, came up with two outs and the bases loaded and almost delivered a home run for the ages. Lambert hit a ball to the deepest part of the park, but could not clear the fence, as the Sharks’ narrowly missed a game-tying grand slam in dramatic fashion.

Tennis

Gabriel Rapoport’s fantastic junior season came to an end in round three of the CIF Individuals held last Thursday afternoon at the Cate School in Carpinteria. After earning a first round bye and then dispatching Andy Choi of St. Monica in the second round 6-0, 6-1, Rapoport came up head to head against Eli Whittle of Arroyo Grande, one of the top seniors in Southern California.

Whittle, who led Arroyo Grande to its first-ever CIF Championship two weeks ago in Division III, came into the match with a singles record of 66-2 this season and a 230-13 career mark. Rapoport, the 2013 Tri-Valley League champion, entered the contest with only one loss on his season. It was a match of Whittle’s power versus Rapoport’s finesse.

Rapoport gave Whittle all he could handle in the first set losing 7-6 (7-5 tie-breaker). Ultimately, the power prevailed as Whittle won 7-6 (5), 6-3 to advance to the round of 32.

Rapoport’s composure and game plan of ball control rallies during the first set clearly frustrated Whittle. Rapoport jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead as well as 5-4 before both players forced a tie-breaker at six apiece. Rapoport led 5-3 in the tie-break before Whittle rattled off four straight points to close out the first set.

Whittle, who will play collegiate tennis at Brown and has won four consecutive Pac-7 league titles, utilized his power serves of more than 100 mph for several aces to overtake Rapoport in the second set to end the match.

“I’m proud of his play. He’s a great player,” Malibu coach Todd Montgomery said of Rapoport. “He’s got a big future. I’m proud of the way he works on his game. He knows there are still things to improve upon and he’s going to get there.”