East County Sports

Easterners punch ‘ship tickets

Photo by Dwight Tinker

2017 EAST COUNTY PREP SOFTBALL

By Adam Paul

Open Division

Semi-Finals

#1 Ramona 5, #7 Granite Hills 2: Bulldogs win in very dramatic fashion to advance to the Championship.

The Bulldogs took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a SENECA CURO solo-shot over the center field fence.

Granite Hills would finally put together some offence in the top of the third inning when KARA BLANCHARD (1-3, R) singled to center, she would advance to second a couple batters later when HALLE KYLER (2-4) grounded out and would come into score on a lined double by STACI CHAMBERS (2-4, RBI, 2B) which would tie the score 1-1.

The Eagles would threaten in the top of the fourth inning as KAYLA MACK (1-4) led off with a single, BAILY WALLACE (1-3, R) sacrificed her to second, a couple of batters later with two outs, BRIELLE TYSELING (1-3) singled to center and Mack advanced to third, Blanchard would be hit by a pitch to load the bases but KAREN CREECH would ground out to end the inning.

Both CATIE DOBBS and Bulldogs ace HANNAH BOWEN were pretty much matching inning for inning.

Granite again threatened in the top of the seventh inning with two outs as Kyler singled and Chambers singled but HALEY JOHNSON grounded out to end the inning.

Dobbs would shut down the Bulldogs in the bottom of the seventh inning to send the game into extras.

The Eagles in the top of the eighth took advantage when Wallace with one out hit a fly ball to left field for a hit but the ball was misplayed by the left fielder which allowed Wallace to round all the way to third base and she would score on a wild pitch to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead.

Granite Hills was three outs from forcing an elimination game and things looked good as Dobbs was able to get the first two batters to pop out for the first two outs. However the next batter singled, ALEXA NEIL singled to put runners on first and second, the runner at second would advance to third on a passed ball as would Neil to second. Dobbs would work the count full against JORDYN FICK before what would be a very controversial call by the home plate umpire, the very next pitch by Dobbs was pretty much over the plate and what should have been strike three, game over was called ball four to load the bases. The next batter Curo who had previously homered in the first inning was down 0-2 and on the next offering took it and just absolutely crushed it over the center field fence for the walk-off grandslam.

For Ramona, Bowen went 7 2/3 innings for the victory, giving up 2 runs on 8 hits, walked 2 and fanned 6.

For the Eagles, Dobbs took the hardluck loss as she went 7 2/3 innings, giving up 5 runs on 6 hits, walked 2 and struck out 8.

 

Division I

Semi-Finals

#1 Patrick henry 4, #2 Eastlake 1: Henry ace Madison James does it with both the bat and in the circle to help propel the Patriots to the championship game.

Both teams previously met twice this past season with each team winning a contest. The Titans won the first game 3-0 in the Cougar Classic and the Patriots won the second contest 11-3 in the Falcon Fiesta. So it was either going to be a close game or a score fest.

Both teams would hold each other scoreless until the top of the fourth when the Titans struck first blood as Keila Bosinger singled, a sacrifice and wild pitch would bring up Taylor Tropp who would lay down the perfect squeeze play allowing Bosinger to score to make it 1-0.

However the Patriots would answer in the bottom of the fifth as SAVANNAH CHAPMAN (1-3, R) with one out singled, LAUREN NETT hit a fielders choice, a couple batters later with two outs ARIANA RIOS (RUN) walked to load the bases bringing up HANNAH MCEWEN (1-3, 3 RBI, 3B) who would deal the big blow with a bases clearing triple to give the Patriots a 3-1 lead.

The Titans threatened in the top of the sixth as they were able to put on a couple baserunners but James would get out of the inning to end the threat.

They would add another run in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a solo-shot homerun by James (1-3, R, RBI, HR) which was her 10th on the season to make it 4-1.

James and the defense would do the rest in the top of the seventh as she would retire the Titans in order 1-2-3 to end the game and write their ticket to the CIF Championship for the second straight season.

James went 7 innings for the victory, giving up 1 run on 4 hits, walked 2 and struck out 2.

Notable Notes: Madison James 10th homerun on the season puts her in the books tied for 7th in San Diego CIF Section history.  Also Cassie Van Til went 2-3 in the game.

 

#6 Carlsbad 10, #10 West Hills 9 (8 innings): The Lancers score a run late to down the Pack and win the slugfest.

After two innings the Carlsbad Lancers led 2-0 over the West Hills Wolf Pack and things were not looking good but the Pack knew they had the ability to comeback. They had used momentum to propel themselves into the semis with big wins on the road over heavy favorites and the Lancers were no different.

The Pack in the top of the third cut into the lead thanks to a roped triple by SIERRA SCHLICHTING (3-5, 3 RBI, 3B) that scored MIKAYLA CRISTINI (2-4, 2R, 2 RBI, 2B) to make it 2-1. However the Lancers pushed across a couple more runs in the bottom of the second to extend their lead 4-1.coupl

This didn’t deter West Hills as in the top of the fourth, RYLEIGH DOBYNS led off with a walk, ALEX GUAY followed with another walk, STAR GAYLORD (RUN) into run, ASHLEIGH HARTWIG (RUN) walked to load the bases, a couple batters later with one out ALYSSA BUBAR (2-4, 2R, RBI) laced a single that scored Dobyns to make it 4-2, Cristini smashed a two run double to tie the game 4-4, HALEY VALLES (2-4, R, 2 RBI) singled in a run to give the Pack a 5-4 lead and Schlichting drove in a run on a single to make it 6-4.

Unfortunately the Lancers would push across three runs in the bottom of the fourth to retake the lead 7-6 and score two more in the bottom of the fifth to lead 9-6.

West Hills would push across a run in the top of the sixth inning thanks to a Valles leadoff single and Schlichting driving her in to cut the lead 9-7. In the top of the seventh the Pack would push across a couple more runs as CARLY BURSCH singled with one out, Bubar followed with a double and a couple batters later Valles singled which score both runners to tie the score 9-9.

The game would go into extra frames as the Pack retired the Lancers in order in the bottom of the seventh inning. Unfortunately despite back to back singles by MELISSA CASTILLO (1-5) and Dobyns in the top of the eighth the Pack would be retired.

Carlsbad in the bottom of the eighth inning would take advantage as they used a couple of base hits and a walk to push across the game winning run.

Dobyns in the loss went 3 2/3 innings, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits, walked 1 and struck out 1. Bursch came in and tossed 4 innings in relief, giving up 7 runs on 9 hits, walked 5 and struck out 1.

 

Division II

Semi-Finals

#7 Del Norte 8, #3 Grossmont 6: A couple big homeruns propel the Nighthawks to victory in the elimination game.

Grossmont would strike the first blow in the bottom of the second inning as KATIE APPENZELLER led off with a walk, ALEXIS COLLINS roped a double, Contreras into run, JESSICA WILSON singled which scored Appenzeller to make it 1-0, CHLOE CAMARERO ripped a double to center that scored both Contreras and Wilson to make it 3-0.

Grossmont shortstop DESTINY BACON fields a grounder on Thursday. / photo by Ramon Scott

The Nighthawks would strike to cut into the Foothillers lead in the top of the third inning as they pushed across a couple of runs to cut the deficit 3-2.

Grossmont added another run in the bottom of the fourth as Collins again singled, Contreras into run and she would come into score on a steal to make it 4-2.

However the two run wouldn’t last as the Nighthawks in the top of the fifth would receive a leadoff homerun to make it 4-3 and a couple batters later get a 2-run jack to take a 5-4 lead.

The Foothillers in the bottom of the sixth would tie the game as Collins led off with a walk, Contreras into run and she would come around to score when ALLY ALLAMAN roped a double to make it 5-5.

Del Norte pushed across a run in the top of the eighth to lead 6-5 but Grossmont answered in the bottom of the inning when TAYLOR BAEZ walked to lead off, she would come into score when Wilson knocked her in to tie it again 6-6.

Unfortunately the luck would run out as Del Norte would push across a couple of runs in the top of the ninth to lead 8-6.  The Foothillers would threaten in the bottom of the ninth when DESTINY BACON singled to lead off, MOANA PISIA walked to put runners at first and second with no outs, but the next three batters unfortunately would be retired to end the game.

 

#2 Steele Canyon 5, #1 Santana 1: The Cougars take advantage early and score a couple late to punch their ticket to the championship.

The Cougars knew they had the talent to get to the championship as they were returning pretty much everyone from last years squad that lost in the semi-finals at the Santee Sportsplex. To get to the big game they had to beat their nemesis the Santana Sultans with whom they split their league contests.

Both times the games came down to late runs and taking advantage of opportunities and this contest was no different. However this time in front of a super packed house the stakes were higher.

The Cougars struck the first blow in the top of the first inning as AUDREY BAGGE singled to lead off, GENTRY HOFFMAN advanced Bagge to second on a sacrifice, MAKAYLA MCCARTHY on 2-2 count would rip a hard grounder to center that brought home Bagge to make it 1-0.

The next bow came in the top of the third inning for the Cougars, Bagge singled with one out, Hoffman grounded into a fielders choice where Bagge would be out at second, McCarthy singled on a grounder to short, MAKAYLA STROMENGER followed with a fly ball to right that went all the way for a triple which scored both Hoffman and McCarthy to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead.

Santana partially threatened in the bottom of the third with two outs as MADISON MENDEZ doubled, BRIANNA JERIG into run but she would be stranded as MACKENZIE BENNETT would hit a hard grounder to third where Bagge would make a fantastic stab and throw her out at first for the final out of the inning.

Steele Canyon would again threaten in the top of the fifth inning thanks to a two out double by JJ VENZOR and a MARIANNA MARTINEZ walk but Mendez was able to get out of the jam to end the inning.

Santana finally in the bottom of the sixth got to McCarthy, with one out Bennett singled, DESIREE LYNCH into run, CASSIDY MATTHIE walked, RACHEL WILSON singled to center which scored Lynch to make it 3-1.

Clinging to the two run lead the Cougars in the top of the seventh were able to add some insurance runs. With one out, McCarthy singled, MASEN PEARLSTEIN into run, Stromenger roped a double which advanced Pearlstein to third, Venzor lined out, both would come into score when Martinez ripped a single to center to make it 5-1.

McCarthy and the Cougars went out for the bottom of the seventh knowing they needed only three more outs to fulfil one of the teams goals set at the beginning of the season. The Sultans knew they had to do something to keep things going. Leadoff batter LAKAILA AQUININQOC would ground out to short where SAMANTHA MILLER fielded it and threw it to first for the first out, SYDNEY BENJAMIN popped out for the second out. The next batter for the Sultans ERICA REID tried to keep things going as McCarthy had the count go 1-1 when on the next offering Reid grounded to Bagge at third who promptly fielded it and threw it to first base for the final out of the game which brought loud cheers from the Steele Canyon faithful.

Mendez in the loss went 7 innings, giving up 5 runs on 10 hits, walked 1.

McCarthy for the Cougars went all 7 innings, giving up 1 run on 3 hits, walking 3 and striking out 6.

“I knew the pitch was going to be outside, so I wasn’t surprised when it came.” Said Stromenger when asked about the third inning triple. “I was pretty excited excited and definitely felt the energy from the crowd and also with our eight seniors we knew it was a possibility to reach the championship game.”

“Knowing their batters really helped since every time we play Santana it is always a battle and also the atmosphere really helped.” Said McCarthy a four-year varsity letterman. “I’ve never won a championship in my four years here and it is awesome that we have an opportunity to go out on top.”

Notable Notes: The last time the Cougars made the CIF Championship was in 2007 in Division III when LORENA KLOPP, SAMANTHA BEASLEY among others led them to the championship. Interestingly enough it was against the Santana Sultans who were coached by Mike Bass and assisted by current head coach John Faila and featured Rachel Faila, Britty Balough, and Danielle Balough all of whom coach now for the Sultans. By the way the final score was 8-0 Steele Canyon.

Semi-Finals Elimination Game

#1 Santana 5, #7 Del Norte 4: The Sultans rally late and hold on to win to reach the championship game.

The Sultans looked to rebound from their earlier loss and things looked good early on in the bottom of the second when NICOLE MADRIGAL singled, ASHLEY MADRIGAL singled, LAKAILA AQUINIQOC sacrificed both Madrigals up, Nicole Madrigal came into score on a wild pitch and SYDNEY BEJAMIN ripped a line drive to center that went for a double that scored Ashley Madrigal to make it 2-0.

The Nighthawks would break through off Mendez in the top of the fifth as they were able to push across four runs thanks to multiple hits to take a 4-2 lead.

However the Sultans didn’t fret as they would cut into the lead in the bottom of the fifth as Mendez led off with a double, MACKENZIE BENNETT walked, DESIREE LYNCH into run for Mendez, a couple batters later RACHEL WILSON on a 1-0 count would rip a ball to left that fell in for a single that scored Lynch to make it 4-3, KELLY REID into run, Nicole Madrigal is hit by a pitch, a couple batters later with two outs Aquininqoc on a 0-2 count from fouling off many pitches hit a little pop up over the third basemans head which looked to be foul but the umpire signaled fair would allow both Madrigal and Reid to score to give the Sultans a 5-4 lead.

Mendez would set down the Nighthawks in order in the top of the sixth 1-2-3. In the bottom of the sixth with two outs, Bennett ripped a double but would be stranded.

So heading to the top of the seventh inning with three outs standing between them and a date in the championship game, Mendez knew she had to get it done. However the Nighthawks wouldn’t make it easy as with one out got a walk, the next batter walked to put runners at first and second with one out, the next batter would reach on an error. So with one out and the bases full, Mendez knew she had to dig deep and that she did as she was able to strike out the next batter looking which brought the Sultan faithful to their feet and at a loud roar. All that stood between the Sultans and the ship was one more out.

With two outs, Mendez got behind the next hitter 2-0 but on the next offering she wound and delivered in which the hitter connected but popped it up to Benjamin at second who got under it and squeezed for the final out of the game and punch the Sultans ticket for a rematch.

Mendez in the victory went 7 innings, giving up 4 runs on 9 hits, walked 4 and struck out 3.

“I felt a sigh of relief after that final out because I knew Del Norte wouldn’t go down easy. I told the girls that the two run lead wasn’t going to be enough and when we trailed we knew the deficit wouldn’t be one that we couldn’t possibly overcome.” Said head coach John Faila when asked about the feeling after the game.

Now the Sultans will get their rematch with the Cougars for all the marbles in what has all the makings of a great heavyweight title fight.

Notable Notes: The last time the Sultans reached the CIF Championship game was back in 2013 when they beat Cathedral Catholic 4-2 in the Division III title game. That team was coached by John Faila.

 

Division IV

Semi-Finals

#3 Christian 4, #11 OLP 3: The Patriots would rally to score a couple runs late and hold on to beat the Pilots.

The Pilots drew first blood in the top of the first as KAYLEIGH LANE smashed a 2-run homerun to give OLP a 2-0 early lead.

However that deficit would be erased in the bottom of the first as SILENT RAIN ESPINOZA (3-3, 2 R, RBI) singled and would come into score on a SHANNON MCMAHON (2-2, 2 RBI) single to make it 2-1, ALLISON MCMAHON (RUN) into run, a couple batters later AUDREY SHEBLOSKI would reach on an error which also scored McMahon to tie the game 2-2.

OLP in the top of the fifth thanks to a double and a two out single retook the lead 3-2. Again the Patriots would erase that lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. This time leadoff hitter LAUREN SHERBURNE (1-2, R, 2B) doubled, she would score on a single by Espinoza to tie the game 3-3, she stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and would come into score on another sacrifice bunt by Shannon McMahon to give the Patriots a 4-3 lead.

The one run lead would hold up for the Patriots as they were able to retire the Pilots in order 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh inning to move onto the elimination game.

 

Semi-Finals Elimination Game

#3 Christian 11, #2 University City 3: Patriots bats explode to exact revenge on the Centurions to procure their spot in the championship game.

The Patriots knew they had to figure out University City If they were going to advance to the championship game. The Centurions have had the Patriots number on the season winning all three previous contests.

But this time it was different as going home or staying alive was on the line and Christian in the top of the first inning fired the first shot.

Leadoff hitter SILENT RAIN ESPINOZA (1-1, 4 R, 3 SB) walked, she would eventually come around to score on a SHANNON MCMAHON (2-3, 4 RBI) sacrifice bunt to take a 1-0 lead.

However the lead didn’t last as the Centurions were able to push across a couple of runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 2-1 lead.

University City would threaten to put more on the board in the bottom of the second thanks to multiple hits but the Patriots were able to get out of the inning without any damage done.

Christian with two outs in the top of the third and back to the top of the lineup received a single by Espinoza, she stole second base, and would score on the single by ASHLEY CARTER (2-3, 3 R, RBI) to tie the score 2-2, Carter stole second, and would score on a wild pitch to give the Patriots a 3-2 lead.

Things got even better for the Patriots in the top of the fifth inning as the offense came alive. It started with a walk by TENAY BANEGAS (RUN), she stole second base, Sherburne (1-3, 2 RBI) sacrificed Banegas over, Espinoza walked, Carter singled which scored two runs to make it 5-2, Shannon McMahon singled which scored another run to make it 6-2, and MALLORY STEELE (1-4, RBI) drove in a other run with a single to extend the lead 7-2.

University City in the bottom of the fifth pushed across another run to cut the lead 7-3. That would be the closed they would get as the Patriots in the top of the sixth inning pretty much put the game out of reach.

With two outs, Espinoza again walked, she stole second and third, Carter walked, McMahon singled which scored a couple more runs to make it 9-3. Christian would round out their scoring in the top of the seventh inning to make it 11-3 as Shebloski (1-4, R) singled and would come around to score and ELLE LINDBLAD (1-2, R) singled and would come around to score.

The Centurions would get a one out hit before the next two batters would be retired to end the game and give the Patriots a chance to win another championship.

Notable Notes:  Christian will be looking to win another championship as they are the defending Divison IV Champions but moved up a Division this season. Last year they defeated La Jolla 5-0 and this year will look to knock off the top seed.

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