East County Sports

Highlanders win again in Santa Maria

2016 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

 

By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com

 

SANTA MARIA (3-31-16) — Helix turned to its ace, CONNOR KONISHI, to shut down Lakewood on four hits with a complete game effort that earned the junior left-hander his East County best 4th win against no losses as the Highlanders conquered the Lancers 3-1 on Wednesday (Mar. 30) in the Righetti Spring Classic.

Konishi struck out 8 and walked only 2 as he carried the Highlanders into Thursday’s (Mar. 31) third round of the tournament against Calabasas at 10 a.m. in Santa Maria.

If Helix is successful in that faceoff the Highlanders will qualify for the semifinals Friday (Apr. 1) at 10 a.m. If the victory skein continues, Helix will play in the championship game on the same day at 4 p.m.

“When we have our ace on the mound the whole team seems to pick it up,” said Helix assistant coach AUSTIN RAUCH, a 2006 graduate of El Capitan who played five years of minor league baseball in the Rockies and Orioles organizations.

“Konishi didn’t have his best stuff but he made the key pitches when he had to,” Rauch added.

Offensively Helix made the most of 6 hits to snub the Lancers.

Helix erased a 1-0 deficit by plating 2 runs in the third inning. MATTHEW RICHARDSON ripped an RBI double and JACK STRONACH drove in a second run with a base hit.

The Highlanders added an insurance run in the sixth inning. Konishi led off with a base hit and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by MICHAEL BROGAN. With two outs BRANDON PETERSON drove in Konishi with a double to left center.

“We came out and needed to be aggressive,” noted Rauch. “We needed to be mentally not afraid to swing and miss – to attack the pitcher.”

Rauch spoke of the significance of a road trip out of town.

“We’re staying in Pismo Beach,” he said. “We let the kids pretty much do what they want to do except we eat together. We want to build pride and camaraderie, to get the kids to play for each other, not just for themselves.

“I think we’re doing that. We have a lot of activities for them. We want them never to forget this experience.”

Righetti Spring Classic
HIGHLANDERS 3, LANCERS 1
Lakewood (8-5) 100 000 0 – 1 4 0 
Helix    (6-4) 002 001 x – 3 6 0
Herrera, Gana (5) and Coffman. Konishi and Isbell. 
WP-Konishi (4-0). LP-Herrera. HR-Fields (Lake) 1st, solo.

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