Golden West wins league title for eighth time in last 11 seasons
VISALIA – The West Yosemite League (WYL) title hasn’t moved around much over the last decade, and it’ll be staying in the same place yet again this season. After a six-game winning streak, including wins against second and third place teams Redwood and Lemoore, Golden West cemented yet another three-peat as league champions.
It’s been a decade of dominance for the Blazers who have won the WYL in eight of the last 11 seasons. This season, they were fueled by their lone league loss to Lemoore in their third league match of the season. The Tigers have been one of the biggest challengers to the league crown as they finished second in the last two seasons. When Golden West fell 3-2 to Lemoore on April 15, it was the spark the team needed in order to dominate the rest of the way. The Blazers came out sluggish in the first half of the first game at Lemoore. They bounced back in the second half but gave up two late goals which cost them the game.
“I think the kids were really disappointed about that loss and realized that it could be something that jeopardized the season,” Golden West head coach John McCaw said. “From that point on, we actually played pretty well.”
They unleashed their wrath on Hanford in their next game as they won 7-0 and didn’t lose again. On Tuesday, May 4, they got their revenge against Lemoore in their second meeting of the season as they comfortably defeated the Tigers 8-1. Last Thursday’s 3-0 win against Hanford clinched the league title.
The identity of this year’s championship squad is a strong offensive attack. Their 42 goals are the most in Division I of the Central Section according to MaxPreps. They’re led by senior Christian Trujillo who has created a lot of scoring opportunities for his teammates. He has scored or assisted on over half of the team’s goals. Right next to him is fellow senior Pedro Martinez who used the extended offseason to his advantage by putting in extra time to train. As a result, he’s developed into a major leader on the squad and has been a key piece in the team’s success this season.
McCaw has been coaching the team for over 20 years, and helped develop a winning culture within the program. He deems that culture has had a big effect on the team’s ability to keep performing well each season, despite a new group of players every year. That confidence has given his team an edge in a lot of the close games they’ve played over the years.
“When you’re a part of a winning program, they put that expectation on themselves. I think going into the last 2-5 years, our kids think that they’re going to win the league. They don’t hope…they believe they’re going to win the league,” he said.