Folsom Lake College was the site of Thursday- through-Saturday’s Big 8 Conference Tournament, and despite having to completely reschedule Friday’s matches due to the rain, the event provided excitement and success for Falcon tennis players.
The tournament serves as a qualifier for the State Championship Tournament in Ojai on April 26-29, with Big 8 quarterfinalists and two at-large athletes advancing. The Falcons will be well-represented in Ojai, with four women and four men all qualifying.
On the women’s side, sophomores Anjelica Frank and Abriana Rowe both qualified in singles, with Rowe reaching the Big 8 semi-finals before losing to the eventual champion on Saturday afternoon. Rowe and Frank also qualified in doubles, as they made it to the semifinals before losing a close match to American River, 6-4, 6-3.
FLC’s second doubles team of Erin Cline and Laura Parkyn also made it to Ojai by winning the back draw (a consolation title). Unfortunately, it came at the expense of the Falcons’ No. 3 doubles team of Regan Blomquist and Nataleigh Boyle, whom they defeated in the back draw finals.
On the men’s side, Daniel Alves qualified in singles, though he fell short of his goal of winning the Big 8 tournament when he lost in the semifinals to American River’s Sam Hall. Alves and doubles partner Stephen Morley (who also qualified in singles) qualified for Ojai, though they were kicking themselves for their loss in the semifinals. The pair had looked unstoppable against ARC’s No. 1 doubles team while winning the first set 6-1 and building a 5-2 lead in the second set, but one game from winning the match, the wheels fell off, as ARC rallied to win the next five games and take the second set, then won the third set tie-breaker. The Falcons’ No. 2 doubles team of Brian Lee and Dan Lee also qualified for the state tournament in Ojai.
After scoring 28 runs in two games against Modesto earlier in the week, the Folsom Lake College baseball team managed just one run on three hits in Saturday’s series finale at Modesto. The Falcons, however, made the most of that one run, as starter Shane Gustafson and three relievers shut out the Pirates to give the Falcons a 1-0 win.
The only run of the game came in the eighth inning when Anthony Mislinski’s two-out single to left scored Aidan Malm from second base. Staked with a one-run lead, the Falcons’ relievers were tasked with holding that lead. Kennedy Zeinin wriggled out of a threat in the eighth before handing the ball over to Ricky Espinoza to open the ninth. Espinoza induced a ground out, but then issued a walk, prompting another pitching change. Austin Beard took over and was immediately aided by catcher Jason Fackrell, who gunned down the Modesto base runner’s attempted steal of second base for the second out of the inning. Beard picked up the save when the Pirates’ last batter popped up to third to end the game.
The win was the Falcons’ sixth straight and ninth in their last 10 games, as they improved their Big 8 Conference record to 8-7. They’ll face Santa Rosa (10-4) this week with Thursday’s game at Falcon Field at 2:30 p.m.