Don’t spoil the ending

Charger baseball
team finishing season with flourish


HOME BASE—Agoura High baseball left fielder Nico Della Ripa, right, scores during the Chargers’ 7-6 win against Agoura on May 2 at home. Della Ripa is also a star wide receiver for the school’s football team. Photos by MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers

HOME BASE—Agoura High baseball left fielder Nico Della Ripa, right, scores during the Chargers’ 7-6 win against Agoura on May 2 at home. Della Ripa is also a star wide receiver for the school’s football team. Photos by MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers

Agoura High’s baseball team missed the playoffs last year, but before that, the Chargers captured five consecutive Marmonte League titles.

The team appeared poised to get back on the winning path.

GET OUT—Agoura’s Artin Biageyian, right, forces out Newbury Park’s Max Flame earlier this season.

GET OUT—Agoura’s Artin Biageyian, right, forces out Newbury Park’s Max Flame earlier this season.

“We played pretty well in the prior month coming into the spring season,” said junior pitcher and first baseman Ben Lake. “We felt pretty good.”

Things didn’t go exactly as planned.

Agoura started this season with a pedestrian 4-5-1 record.

Suddenly, the beast within woke up and roared.

The Chargers (14-12-1, 7-7 in the Marmonte League) have won four of their past six games and nine of 14. They will need a win today or an Oaks Christian loss to qualify for the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.

 

 

Fifth-year head coach Anthony Chevrier said his team has been more consistent.

He credited his players for their resilient attitudes and desire to improve.

“They’re fighters, man,” the skipper said.

“We’re going to make mistakes, but we’re going to come out and compete and be in every game against all opponents,” he said. “It’s just a matter of us continuing to grow up and give ourselves an opportunity to come through in those big situations.”

What sparked the turnaround?

The Chargers earned a pivotal 8-5 win in extra innings against Oaks Christian on March 14.

 

 

“We all just kind of turned it on at that moment,” said Aaron Suval, a junior center fielder.

Agoura has the talent to hang a league banner. Five players are hitting above .300, led by Suval’s .368 average through 26 games.

Suval spoke highly of his squad.

“I think we’re going to make the playoffs. I think we’re the best team in Marmonte,” Suval said. “We have the best hitting and the best pitching, plain and simple.”

Nico Della Ripa, a junior left fielder, agreed with his teammate.

“We’re the best team in this league,” he said.

Della Ripa is a two-sport star who excels on the football field. He’s helped Agoura’s football team win back-to-back Canyon League titles.

 

 

On the diamond, the Chargers must win the mental game.

“Our biggest problem has been (that) we’ve been in our own heads,” Della Ripa said. “If we can stay mentally focused during (our game against) Calabasas and get the hitting going, because that’s the most important part, we’ll definitely get a win.”

Della Ripa has three of the team’s five home runs.

The Chargers wrap up the regular season against rival Calabasas at 3:30 p.m. today at home.

Reece Matheisen, the team’s top pitcher, said both offense and defense have to do their parts.

LIGHTNING ROUND—At left, Agoura’s Nick Seyler throws to first base against Westlake. At right, Agoura’s Taylor Justus, left, tags out Westlake’s Danny Hernandez at home plate.

LIGHTNING ROUND—At left, Agoura’s Nick Seyler throws to first base against Westlake. At right, Agoura’s Taylor Justus, left, tags out Westlake’s Danny Hernandez at home plate.

“Starting with pitching, we have to make sure we don’t let up more than two runs a game,” the senior ace said. “Pitching has to be on and hitters have to get some runs.”

The Chargers have also learned from failure.

Since March 28, Agoura’s lost five games by 10 total runs. The Bolts are coming off a 7-3 setback against Calabasas on Tuesday.

The Chargers were close, but . . .

“That’s part of the game,” Chevrier said. “We can’t cry, we can’t complain, we can’t make excuses. All you can do is work hard and keep pumping forward, you know?”