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Small schools making big strides in CIF prep team sports in eastern Chula Vista Phillip Brents | Thu, Jun 02 2016 09:20 PM

Whichever way one spells it — High Tech High Chula Vista or Chula Vista High Tech — the small private school tucked away in one corner of the sprawling Otay Ranch housing development has begun to make some noise in team sports.

It started when the school’s girls soccer team captured the San Diego Section Division III championship in 2014. It continued this season with a runner-up finish for the school’s softball team in last Friday’s Division V final at UC-San Diego.

The Lady Bruins concluded the 2016 season with a 15-5 record after dropping an 8-7 decision to Classical Academy. HTH-CV athletic director Alan Botterman noted that the Lady Bruins recorded run-rule decisions in every victory this season.

HTH-Chula Vista scored a double-elimination coup by upending top-seeded Calvary Christian Academy by scores of 12-2 in six innings and 21-1 in five innings in semifinal play on May 26.

Senior captains Madison Fessia and Sierra Sanchez led this year’s Lady Bruin squad while freshmen Arlene Martinez and Paulina Guerrero provided tremendous offense and defense. Meanwhile, sophomore Calixta Padilla shut down opponents in the pitching circle.

“It’s been a great season after missing the playoffs last year,” Botterman said.

It was also a great season for east side Chula Vista neighbor Calvary Christian Academy. The Lady Royal Knights finished 20-4 this season with an opportunity to return to the CIF championship game for the second consecutive season after placing runner-up to Calvin Christian in last year’s Division V title match.

“Not too shabby for a real small school with a lot of heart,” CCA coach Joaquin Farfan explained. “I told the girls after the game how very proud I am if all of them. I told them that I love them all very much and that I was happy to be their coach, and that I’ll be back as head coach next season ready to go.

“We had a fantastic season.”

Farfan admitted the depth on many teams competing at the Division V level is not great. He noted that during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school terms there weren’t even enough girls to field a team. In each of the past two seasons, the Lady Royal Knights have fielded teams with 13 girls on the roster.

Still, it’s been a building process. And, in many cases, a learning process as well.

“We started off this season with four wins while carrying seven freshmen and six sophomores,” the CCA coach noted. “We have a total of only one seasoned player, Mimi Farfan, who has played in top travel teams since the age of 10. She’s been attending CCA since the third grade.

“We have two young ladies who have played a few seasons in recreation softball. But the other 10 players really had no softball experience whatsoever.  So, I knew we were in a tough situation going into the season as some of the other top Division V teams have at least five players or more with softball experience.

“So then we lost the next two games against Division IV teams; we composed ourselves, had a good long talk and great practices in the weeks after those two losses.”

Calvary Christian Academy went on to win its next 16 games in a row until suffering the two semifinal losses to High Tech CV.

“Our team inexperience really showed (in those two losses),” Farfan explained.

Mimi Farfan stuck out 15 batters in 11 innings in the two semifinal games against the Lady Bruins and also smacked her 17th triple of the season to etch her name as the section’s all-time single-season leader.

“But it just was no match for HTH CV,” the elder Farfan said.

But, with such a youthful team, it’s likely the Lady Royal Knights will have more to say about which teams win the division title in upcoming seasons.

“We’re looking forward to the 2016-17 school year,” the CCA coach said.

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