East County Sports

ROUNDUP: Hillers win; FCHS’ ‘Seaweed’ rakes



EastCountySports.com staff report


LA MESA – Grossmont’s JESSE GARCIA hit a two-run home run in the first inning on a 1-1 pitch and the Foothillers scored two runs in the fifth inning to extend what was a one-run lead en route to defeating Christian High, 6-3, in an Aztec-Foothiller Classic game on Wednesday at Gizoni Field.

Junior JACK HYDE got the win for the Foothillers, allowing just one earned run over five innings, and junior ZACH ZOLINA picked up the save with two innings of one-hit relief to complete the Jack and Zach show.

“Jack had a quality start and Zach came in and closed it,” Grossmont coach JORDAN ABRUZZO said. “Zach has been great in that role with two saves early on.”

Needless to say, Z.Z. has been coming to close the door and put the opponent to sleep.

“(Christian) is definitely one of the best hitting teams I’ve faced and one of the best in San Diego,” Zolina said. “They are very good at capitalizing on mistakes and making really hard contact.

“I didn’t have my best stuff today, but luckily I was able to still them enough off balance in order for our defense to make great plays behind me.

Freshman center fielder KEONI VALDEZ had a solid day defensively with three putouts and he also singled, walked and scored a pair of runs for the Hillers.

“(Christian) hit the ball hard a lot, but we just happened to be in the right spots and make good plays,” Zolina said.

Garcia also doubled for another RBI om the second inning to give the Hillers a 2-1 lead.

Sophomore GIOVANNI GIGANTI and senior CHRIS GIOVENGO both had a pair of colpi, as well, for the Hillers, while ISAIAH GOMEZ added a sacrifice fly.

BRANDON SMITH added a sac fly for the Foothillers in the fourth.

“We had a good approach offensively today,” Abruzzo said. “We did a better job of applying pressure on them.”

Patriot freshman TRENT NIELSEN had a pair of hits, including a solo home run in the top of the second inning, while senior teammate JAKOB BECK had two hits, as well as, a stolen base.

“The no-hitter (on Monday) gave us a boost,” Nielsen said. “Our bats finally came alive against Grossmont and we felt that we were in the game until the very last pitch.

“The team has been putting in hard work at practice and in the gym and results are starting to show.”

The Patriots scored a run in the top of the third to make it 3-2 when senior BRAD JEREMIAH reached on an error, scoring Beck. Jeremiah drove in a run with a sac fly in the fifth to cut a Foothiller lead to 4-3.

Patriots center fielder MATT ARMIJO, who saved the no-hitter with a lunging catch in the seventh inning on Monday, made another pair of diving catches in this one.

“Definite improvement today as a team with a much better approach at the plate,” Christian head coach MIKE MITCHELL said. ”

Christian High faces No. 1-ranked Eastlake today on the road at 3, while the Foothills face Vista on the road at 3:30 in the Aztec-Foothiller event.


FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN 7, HOOVER 0 – There could be a secret to the success of Foothills Christian junior JALANI “Seaweed” BROWN.

Well, consider it a secret no longer.

“After a game against Olympian last year I gave my coach (DAVE LEWIS) a piece of seaweed to try because he saw me eating them all the time,” said Brown, who cracked a pair of base hits in the Knights’ shutout of the Cardinals on Tuesday afternoon to keep his average this season right at .500 (8-for-16).

“He tried one and he spit it out. He said that it was the most disgusting thing. And now it’s been by nickname ever since.”

Brown hit .330 last season as a sophomore for Foothills Christian, but has two hits in each of his first four games, and has scored five runs.

After hitting a triple in the Knights’ last win over Mount Miguel, Brown doubled on Tuesday against Hoover.

“I pull eighty-percent of the balls I hit because I’m in front of everything,” Brown said. “I knew I had to position myself up in the box to get a hit against (the Cards’ hurler) because I didn’t want to hit everything foul.

“When I made that adjustment I started seeing the ball better and managed to pull a few hits out for our team.”

Three Foothills Christian pitchers combined to throw a shutout.

The Knights scored four in the first on RBI from BAILEY LEWIS (two-run double), TREVOR SMALLWOOD and TYLER KENNEDY.

Kennedy got the win for FCHS. He allowed five hits and zero runs over five innings, striking out seven and walking one.

Sophomore CORBIN HARRIS and freshman BRENDAN CAMPBELL helped to close out the game in relief for Foothills.


EL CAPITAN 3, HILLTOP 2 – ANTHONY BENEDETTO, a senior, allowed two runs on five hits over seven innings, striking out four to earn the win over the Lancers in the 31st annual Hilltop-Lolita’s Tournament.

Trailing 1-0 heading into the bottom of the second, El Capitan scored on a single by senior SHAYNE CUNNINGHAM to take a 2-1 lead.

Senior STEVIE MONTEJANO drove in senior HUNTER MARKLE a few batters earlier to tie the game on a sac fly.

Montejano doubled home the Vaqueros’ third run with a double in the bottom of the third to score Markle.

Markle and Cunningham each collected two hits.

Markle stole two bases.

El Capitan evened its mark at 2-2.

The Vaqueros face Poway on Thursday at 3:30 in the Hilltop tourney.


MOUNT MIGUEL 1, TRI-CITY CHRISTIAN 0 – Mount Miguel’s NICO CAMACHO was phenomenal again, pitching a complete game, striking out seven and allowing just one walk in a Sweetwater Invitational win.

“(Camacho) was a real Bulldog and our defense fed off of it all game,” Mount Miguel coach FRANK COIT said. “Great High School Baseball Game… at any level.”

AUSTIN ORTIZ scored the game’s only run when he tripled to left field and came home on a passed ball.

Ortiz had two hits.

Senior second baseman ANGELO ZERTUCHE and sophomore center fielder JULIUS HARRIS led the Matadors defensively.

Mount Miguel (2-2) will host Lincoln on Thursday at 3:30 in a Sweetwater Invitational game.

EASTLAKE 3, HELIX 1 – The top-ranked Titans used a walk-off hit home run by Zaine Mendoza to defeat sixth-ranked Helix in the Aztec-Foothiller Tournament.

Mendoza homered on the first pitch of the at-bat in the bottom of the seventh, scoring two runs.

Helix starter GRIFFIN ZAMORA lasted six innings, allowing three hits and one run while striking out five.

Grant Holman started the game for Eastlake. He allowed two hits and one run over four innings, striking out six.

ADAM MARTINEZ, BRANDON PETERSON, and ERICK SMELKO had the three hits for Highlanders off Eastlake pitchers, including Grant Holman, who threw four innings.

Smelko scored the Highlanders’ run in the fourth inning on a double play grounder.


LA COSTA CANYON 2, GRANITE HILLS 1 – The fifth-ranked Mavericks won the Hilltop-Lolita’s Tournament game by scoring a run in the top of the fourth to snap a 1-all tie.

Granite Hills, ranked eighth in a preseason coaches’ poll, lost despite out-hitting La Costa Canyon seven to six.

In the bottom of the second inning, Granite Hills tied things up at 1-all when DOMINIC DONOFRIO doubled, scoring RYAN FENN (catcher’s interference).

TREVOR HAZELHURST surrendered two runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings, striking out four, to hold up his end of the pitcher’s duel.

BRADLEY HARRIS and Hazelhurst each had two hits for the Eagles.

The Eagles will travel to face Hilltop on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in the Hilltop-Lolita’s Tournament.


CATHEDRAL CATHOLIC 2, VALHALLA 0 – The county’s second-ranked team scored one in the bottom of the first and one in the fourth to win the pitcher’s duel at the 31st annual Hilltop-Lolita’s Tournament.

Valhalla senior TANNER SMITH pitched six innings, allowing four hits and no earned runs.

Senior JACOB BARBA and junior ETHAN DUNHAM both had two of the Norse’s six hits.

Valhalla plays Rancho Buena Vista on Thursday in the Hilltop-Lolita’s Tournament at 3:30 p.m.


POWAY 11, SANTANA 4 – The Titans led just 2-1 through four innings, but scored five in the fifth to start to pull away at the Hilltop-Lolita’s Tournament.

Poway took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but the Sultans picked up a run in the third when AIDEN BURROWS walked and later scored on a double steal attempt.

Down 9-1, the Sultans scored three in the sixth when Sultan senior JOSH OEDEWALDT drew a bases-loaded walk, junior BRANDON GLOWACKI and senior CAMERON KANE both hit sacrifice flies.

Santana is at La Costa Canyon on Thursday at 3.


MURRIETA VALLEY 6, STEELE CANYON 1 – The Cougars got on the board in the bottom of the seventh inning of the Falcon-Pirate Classic game when senior NOAH NADEAU hit a solo home run.

The Nighthawks scored three runs in the first inning.

Senior JOSH ESQUIBEL singled and walked for Steele Canyon.

The Cougars will host Classical Academy on Thursday at 3:15 in a Falcon-Pirate Classic tilt.


MAR VISTA 4, MONTE VISTA 2 – The Monarchs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third on RBI singles by BLAKE MATANANE and ZACH MANUEL, but the Mariners scored four in the fifth to win the Sweetwater Invitational game.

Monte Vista’s ABRAHAM SANCHEZ threw two scoreless innings in relief, allowing one hit and striking out three.

The Monarchs will travel to face host Sweetwater in the tourney on Thursday at 3:30.


LIBERTY CHRISTIAN 6, GOMPERS PREP ACADEMY 5 – The Lions improved to 3-1 with the win.

Liberty Charter travels to face Army-Navy on Thursday at 4.


HIGH TECH CHULA VISTA 12, EL CAJON VALLEY – High Tech’s KAI SATERSTROM had two triples, a single, scored two runs, and stole a base for the Bruins.

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