East County Sports

Helix, West Hills, Henry tabbed as league leaders

2016 EAST COUNTY PREP SOFTBALL

 

By Adam Paul
© East County Sports.com

EL CAJON (4-11-16)


LEAGUE PREDICTIONS

Grossmont Hills

  1. WEST HILLS –The defending champions of the Grossmont Hills League look to defend its title and claim the crown for the fifth straight year. Like the squad last year they return the majority of their firepower as the lineup is tough top to bottom. The squad includes six seniors. Standouts include junior SIERRA SCHLICHTING who is batting .475 while homering 3 times and also driving in 11 RBI while scoring 12 runs, junior ALEX GUAY who has belted 2 home runs while raking in 11 RBI and senior KENDALL MARINESI who has driven in 8 runs so far. Senior PAIGE BOWLER will also be a big help in the lineup in the fifth spot in the batting order as her .371 average and 3 homers, 8 RBI give Guay potent protection. The pitching staff is anchored by the gunslinger junior RYLEIGH DOBYNS who has pitched in the big games this year for the Pack, she has collected 5 wins so far in the circle, posting a 3.73 ERA while striking out 20 in 15 appearances for the Wolf Pack.  As always they play a tough schedule and don’t duck anyone to prepare themselves for the playoffs and this will more than likely help them in league play. As they did last year they will face Steele Canyon in their league opener as they look to get on the right track in Hills play.

 

  1. GROSSMONT – The Foothillers move over to the Hills side after playing in the Valley league last year where they finished in second place. They look to continue their great start as they have beaten quite a few of the top teams in the county already this season. Grossmont surprised many with their run to the Gold Bracket Championship in the always tough Cougar Classic at Kit Carson Park. During the tournament they beat West Hills 5-2 which was ranked 7that the time, Patrick Henry 5-3 which was ranked 4th, and Rancho Bernardo 8-6 which is a tough Division One team in the Championship game.  They should score runs as the offense is averaging 6 runs a game and includes one of the toughest top parts of a lineup around in CHLOE CAMARERO, DESTINY BACON, and CARLY PEARSON. Pitching wise they have a two headed monster in junior CASSIDY DAVILA with her 3 victories and freshman SAMARIA ROOPE with her 9-3 record and who pitched and gained experience in the big games during the Cougar Classic including the championship. The other part of the pitching staff is JESSICA SCHOONER who also has a victory. All three will be needed if Grossmont is to stay in the top half of the league as well as make a run in the playoffs.

 

  1. STEELE CANYON – Improvements have occurred already in a couple categories for the Cougars as they have won more games and scored more runs than last year. The defense will need to pick it up to keep Steele Canyon in the upper half.  They already own victories over league opponents Santana and Valhalla albeit in tournaments. Standouts for the Cougars include junior MAKAYLA STROMENGER who has belted 3 homers and driven in 12 RBI while batting .325, duel threat MAKAYLA MCCARTHY who is batting .356 and has 9 RBI, while in the circle has garnered 7 victories in 14 appearances while posting a 1.53 ERA and striking out 41 batters in 59 1/3 innings. Her counterpart NIKKI DEPAOLA has 3 victories in 13 appearances while posting a 2.90 ERA in 38 2/3 innings. Other standouts for the Cougars include junior GENTRY HOFFMAN, junior EMMA DODSON and freshman AUDREY BAGGE among others.

 

  1. VALHALLA – Pitching and defense will carry the Norsemen and determine where they finish in the league. If the workhorse LILY METSCH who has won 6 games already, can continue her work and she can get some run support then things should be good. Valhalla has shown flashes as they played Cathedral tough for about 5 innings before one bad inning. Also they made it to the Bronze Bracket Championship game of the Cougar Classic and dropped a heartbreaker to Mira Mesa in which they led for quite a while. Offensively the Norsemen average 5 runs a game and will need baserunners to get on for sophomore standout KENNEDY LABSHERE to drive them in. A big plus in the lineup is freshman SAMMY GREEN who is batting .333 and has driven in 10 RBI so far on the season. The big thing for Valhalla is to be more consistent on defensive side as the errors have cost them in crucial situations to which has led to losses.

 

  1. GRANITE HILLS – The Eagles return quite a few key components this year from their 2015 Division II runner-up squad. However a couple of freakish injuries to their starting second baseman and first baseman put them behind the eight ball. New coach CURTIS BARNES has had to plug in a slew of replacements to find out the correct combination. Key players for the Eagles include double threat HALLE KYLER who is batting .348 and has knocked in 8 runs and stolen 7 bases along with a homerun, in the circle she has 4 victories while posting a 1.24 ERA in 9 appearances. KAYLA MACK leads the teams with a .417 average along with driving in 7 runs and a homerun as well. Behind the dish is returner JESSIE LAPIERRE who is one of the best catchers in the league and is batting .316 while also driving in 7 runs as well as banging out 4 doubles. Granite has shown that they can play with the top teams as they recently pulled off the big come from behind 6-5 victory over Patrick Henry who was ranked 3rdat the time.  However the consistency has been missing for the Eagles as five of their eight losses are by one run. So if they look to jump in the standings they will have to win the close games and the game against Henry is a good start before league starts. The other key will be scoring runs as they only average a tad over 4 a game while the pitching staff as a whole has a sub 2.00 ERA as a staff so they don’t give up much run wise.

 

  1. SANTANA – The Sultans are vastly improved from last year’s team as they already have more wins this year with 10. However defensive lapses have cost them games this year including their last three losses which were to Hilltop, Brawley and Steele Canyon. Santana can score runs as they have scored 121 total which averages to about 8 per contest. Offensively they are led by senior SYDNEY VATES who is batting .528 and has belted 4 homers while knocking in 15 runs and has scored 18 runs, newcomer junior RACHEL WILSON .386 as well as driving in 21 runs, sophomore MACKENZIE BENNETT who is also one of the top catchers in the league is batting .528 while plating 13 RBI and hammering 3 homeruns. One of the other standouts who is still looking to come into her own is freshman MADISON MENDEZ who is batting .462 while raking 18 RBI and belting 2 homers is also a duel threat as she has garnered 8 pitching victories on the season while posting a 2.89 ERA in 14 appearances. She has also struck out 40 batters in 70 1/3 innings. The Sultans if they can put together some consistency like the Granite Hills Eagles will surprise teams in the league and cause chaos for teams in the upper half.

 

GROSSMONT VALLEY

  1. HELIX – The Highlanders are the pick to win the Valley as they return the majority of their players from last year’s third place finish.  Senior DESTINI BULLOCK leads the Highlanders with a .579 average and also 27 RBI to go with 7 homers, she has also scored 30 runs. Junior GABRIELA OLIVARRA is batting .519 while plating 30 RBI and scoring 23 runs, sophomore MCKENZIE FLORES sports a .404 average while knocking in 7 runs and smashing 5 doubles. Pitching wise sophomore SHAREENA LACHANCE leads with 7 victories while posting a 3.09 ERA and has struck out 20 batters. Helix, if they play the way they do with scoring runs in which they average about 9 a game, shouldn’t drop a contest in league, however being the favorites puts a target on their back.

 

  1. MONTE VISTA – The Monarchs are an interesting team as they have put up runs but also have made defensive miscues that have cost themselves games as well. Four of their players have driven in 10 or more runs and also scored 10 or more as well. Junior GEENA HENDERSON leads the team with a .541 average and also 15 RBI while another junior CIERRA ROSS is batting .471 while raking in 7 RBI and scoring 13 runs. If the Monarchs are going to push the Highlanders for the league crown they will have to cut down on the errors.

 

  1. EL CAPITAN – The Vaqueros look to be spoilers in the league despite coming in with a 2-10 record. El Capitan led by senior GRACE BURKETT who has a .500 average and has crossed the plate 6 times, will get help from freshman ALLYSON VON YOKES who is showing she can play with her .387 average while knocking in 6 runs and scoring 5 runs. The other two players helping are sophomore MADISYN WIEHER .310 average and junior ZANDRA RAGALE who is hitting .265 and has scored a couple of runs. If the other players can feed off of them and the pitching can come around, the Vaqueros will be a team not to be overlooked as veteran coach JOE COTA always has his teams ready to play.

 

  1. MOUNT MIGUEL – New coach SONIA RAY has had her hands full trying to get the Matadors competitive this year. The Matadors don’t look to be spoilers this year as they are getting used to Ray’s philosophy but look to be somewhat competitive down the road.

 

  1. EL CAJON VALLEY – As always the Braves won’t be a factor as they only have scored 6 runs in 8 games while giving up 160 so far.

 

 EASTERN LEAGUE

  1. PATRICK HENRY – The Patriots while not as dominant as their 2015 squad look to defend their crown and will do so as they are still a dynamic team with all their returners. Led by veteran coach STEVE MINER, Patrick Henry is currently ranked 3rdin the county and also 10th in the first edition of the CIF power rankings for Division One. Patrick Henry has four players that have scored more than 10 runs and also more than 10 RBI as well. Also the fact that they have 6 batters hitting .300 or better, HANNAH McEWEN (.527), DANI ROMERO (.489), CASSIE VAN TIL (.413), CRISTIONA CACCAMISE (.345), ANYA VANDERSIP (.333), and ANDREA WRIGHT (.300). Pitching wise they are led by their ace MADISON JAMES who is one of the best in the county as she has racked up 11 victories so far while posting a 2.77 ERA in 15 appearances, she also has struck out 81 batters so far on the season.
  2. MIRA MESA – The Marauders will look to be spoiler again this year as last year they scored victories over Henry, Scripps Ranch and Serra. They won the Bronze bracket by defeating Valhalla in the Cougar Classic. Currently they sit in the 13thposition in the power rankings for Division One right behind West Hills and being competitive in league they will surely add to their victory total and also keep their position in the power rankings.

 

  1. SERRA – A tough team to figure out, the Conquistadors as they reeled off 11 straight victories including one over High Tech SD who is the No. 1 in the power rankings for Division Three in CIF have lost two straight. They are challenging to figure out as they will look really good one minute but the next they will be the total opposite as they commit defensive miscues to cost them games or make games closer than they should. However in league if they can put things together they should be able to stay in the top half of the league. Led by senior AMBER WOZNIAK who on the season is hitting .462 while scoring 22 runs and driving in 29 runs, she also has slammed 4 homers. Her help comes from sophomore VIVIAN TOMOVICH who is hitting .345 while scoring 9 and knocking in 5 runs and sophomore SELA FALLON who is hitting .347 with 13 RBI. The pitching staff consists of senior MEGAN POOLE who has won 6 games, senior DARBY TIBBETTS with her 4 victories and Tomovich who has won 2 games. If the staff can keep things in check they should be in good shape.

 

  1. CHRISTIAN – Currently sitting in the 7thposition of the CIF Division Four power rankings, the Patriots are an interesting team in that they can put up runs but also can give them up as well. Led by senior ANNA SHERBURNE who on the season is batting .462 and has 15 RBI and scored 18 runs while blasting 5 homers, sophomore SILENT RAIN ESPINOZA and her .565 average, 24 runs, 9 stolen bases and 8 doubles, sophomore speedster ASHLEY CARTER who has scored 17 runs while batting .351 along with swiping 9 bases among others, the Patriots can possibly play spoiler for the top half of teams.

 

  1. SCRIPPS RANCH – Having graduated key players including their top pitcher MAKAYLA MARTIN who is now pitching at the University of Auburn, the Falcons have struggled a little as they have posted a 5-9 record so far. If they are to do anything in league they will have to figure things out as they have lost a few close games so far this season.

 

  1. MORSE – The Tigers are the pick here as they already have a loss to league foe Christian earlier and also a really bad loss to Orange Glen who isn’t picked to do anything in their league.

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