East County Sports

Cougars advance to semifinals; Sultans, Pack ousted

Steele Canyon's MAKABLE MCCARTHY knocks in the game-winning run on Thursday in Spring Valley.



By Adam Paul
© East County Sports.com


SPRING VALLEY (5-25-16) – Pitching, defense and some late-inning heroics are the key ingredients for Cougar magic in the No. 6 Steele Canyon Cougars latest come-from-behind victory of 2-1 in 8 innings over the visiting No. 8 Del Norte Nighthawks.

Both teams pitching and defensively played well as each held each other back and forth. The Cougars in the bottom of the first had the first shot as leadoff hitter AUDREY BAGGE reached on an error and moved to second on a passed ball but would be stranded as the next three batters would be retired to end the inning. Del Norte threatened in the top of the third with a one out double but MAKAYLA MCCARTHY (2-4, RBI) got out of it with a pop out and a lineout.

A couple of innings later in the top of the fifth, the Nighthawks led off by reaching on an error, that runner would advance to second on the bad throw and would be sacrifice over. So with two outs a runner at third, McCarthy threw to third and was able to pickoff the runner for the third out.

Steele Canyon in the bottom of the sixth threatened again as ASHLEY TAVIZON (2-3, R) led off with a single and stole second base. However, she would be cut out at the plate as she tried to score.  Both teams just couldn’t push anything across in the opportunities afforded them thus far.

Heading to the top of the seventh still knotted at 0-0, the Nighthawks leadoff hitter Grace Roberts reached on an error, she would advance to second on a sacrifice, the next batter Carlin Smart struck out for the second out, Taylor Carr singled advancing Roberts to third who would score on the throw in to give the Nighthawks a 1-0 lead.

Now trailing 1-0 heading into their last outs the Cougars were in familiar territory as they had previously comeback to win 5 times so far in the season and they looked to add to that total. Leadoff hitter McCarthy struck out for the first out, KYLIE MINSHEW (1-3, 2B) ripped a double to left field, MARIANNA MARTINEZ (run) came into run, MAKYALA STROMENGER flied out in foul territory for the second out of the inning.

Facing their final out up stepped JJ VENZOR (1-3, RBI) to try and keep things alive for the Cougars.  She took the first pitch looking for a strike, so with an 0-1 count the very next pitch came and wham she hit the ball up the middle on the ground which got through for a single that brought Martinez in to score to knot the score at 1-1 and give new life to the Cougars.

So with the score tied the game went into extra innings to the top of the eight where the Cougars would get out it despite the leadoff single by the Nighthawks.  Steele Canyon could feel it was their time as they went to bat in the bottom of the eighth.

Leadoff batter HANNAH DUDLEY was retired for the first out of the inning, Tavizon on a 2-1 count would hit a ball to center field that would fall in for a single, Bagge would follow with a walk, Tavizon advanced to second.

With only one out and runners on first and second the Cougars were in business.

The next batter GENTRY HOFFMAN worked the count till it was full 3-2, the very next pitch went for ball four which loaded the bases. The fans in the stands for the Cougars went crazy as they could win it with a hit or fly ball.

Up stepped one of the big boppers for the Cougars in McCarthy, who also was pitching quite a game as well. She worked the count to 2-2 and on the very next offering hit a hard grounder to left field that got through for a single and scored Tavizon for the game winning run.

With the win in extra innings this now gave them their fourth such victory on the season and also a berth in the semifinals on Thursday.

Taking the loss for the Nighthawks, Anne Marie Prentiss who tossed 7 1/3 innings giving up the 2 runs of which both were earned on 6 hits while walking 0 and striking out 6 on the day.

For the Cougars in the victory, McCarthy went all 8 innings giving up the 1 run on 7 hits while striking out 7 on the day.


ESCONDIDO 7, SANTANA 0 – The No. 3-seeded Santana Sultans traveled up the freeway to the North County to take on the No. 1-seed Escondido Cougars and unfortunately the Cougars bit early and never looked back as they took advantage of opportunities and ended the Sultans’ historical season.

After retiring the Sultans in order the Cougars came to bat in the bottom of the first inning and ultimately took advantage of a leadoff walk, a hit batter, an error and a couple of stolen bases along with a couple of hits to take a 3-0 early on in the bottom of the first.

Santana in the top of the second was able to get a runner on with two outs as JORDAN TEEGARDIN reached on an error but a groundout on the next play would end the inning. Both teams would hold each other until the bottom of the fifth inning when Escondido broke it wide open with a four run inning to take a 7-0 lead.

The Sultans up to the top of the sixth couldn’t get anything going as the high powered offense was held hitless. However they finally broke through as with two outs MACKENZIE BENNETT (1-3) roped a hard ground ball to left for a single. Unfortunately that would be all they wrote for the Sultans in the inning.

After holding the Cougars in the bottom of the sixth, the Sultans had one last crack at doing something to extend their season.

Leadoff batter RACHEL WILSON worked the count to 3-2 and 10 pitches before drawing ball four and taking first. However as like the previous innings the Cougar pitching shut down the Sultans as the next three batters were retired 1-2-3 to end the inning and the game as well as the great run.

Taking the loss for the Sultans MADISON MENDEZ who tossed 6 innings giving up 7 runs of which 6 were earned on 8 hits, walking 3 and striking out 2.

In the victory for the Cougars, Victoria Cervantes went 6 innings giving up the 1 hit.

By Adam Paul, © EastCountySports.com


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West Hills players before Thursday’s playoff game in Escondido.

RANCHO BUENA VISTA 3, WEST HILLS 0 – Despite the various opportunities and out hitting the host team 8-5 the visiting No. 5-seed West Hills Wolf Pack couldn’t cash them in against the No. 2-seed Rancho Buena Vista Longhorns.

With two outs in the top of the first the Wolf Pack had an opportunity as MOANA PISIA (1-4) and ALEX GUAY (1-3) hit back to back singles, but the threat was ended when SIERRA SCHLICTING struck out to end the inning.

The Longhorns in the bottom of the inning were able to push across a run thanks to a one out solo homer by Allie Hughen to make it 1-0 early on.

West Hills again in the top of the second would have another opportunity as PAIGE BOWLER (2-3, 2B) led off with a single, the next two batters would be retired, ALYSSA BUBAR would be hit by a pitch and ALEXIS HERRERA (2-4) would single to load the bases.

Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be as BROOKE ROBERTS (1-4) hit a ground ball to third where it was fielded and thrown to first for the third out. The Longhorns in the bottom of the third inning would round out their scoring by plating a couple of runs to make it 3-0.

KENDALL MARINESI (1-3) in the top of the fourth would single but would be stranded. West Hills would threaten in the top of the sixth inning when Bowler would smash a one out double but the next two batters would be retired.

After giving up the three runs, Wolf Pack starter CARLY BURSCH would sit down the Longhorns the rest of the game without giving up another hit which would keep the Pack in the contest.

Heading into the top of the seventh the Wolf Pack were down to their final three outs to try and do something to extend their season.

However, the Longhorns had other ideas.

Leadoff batter Bubar would strikeout looking for the first out, Herrera grounded out to short who threw it to first for the second out, Roberts laced a single to keep things alive but Pisa would strikeout to end the game.

Taking the loss for the Wolf Pack, Bursch who went 6 innings giving up 3 runs of which all were earned on 5 hits, walked 2 and fanned 2 on the day.

By Adam Paul, © EastCountySports.com

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