East County Sports

Zolina, Foothillers top No. 1 Eastlake



EastCountySports.com staff report


LA MESA -The Grossmont Foothillers earned their new county No. 10 media poll ranking this week thanks in large part to a 10-inning tie against the top-ranked Eastlake Titans at Gizoni Field back on March 9.

Well, just keep moving the Hillers up the charts after they went out and dominated the Titans, 6-2, in the opening game in the Bill Dickens/Gordy Thompson Division of the Grossmont-Metro-City Tournament on Monday afternoon at the Grossmont High diamond.

Grossmont junior ZACH ZOLINA pitched a complete-game four-hitter in his first career varsity start and the Foothillers scored three in the bottom of the sixth to break open a 3-2 lead.

“We can compete with any team as long as we play to the best of our ability and work extremely hard,” Zolina said.

Ten days ago, the Hillers used a five-run sixth to rally fro a 6-1 deficit, then the teams’ pitching staffs delivered four innings of shutout ball before daylight expired.

On Monday, the Titans got a leadoff homer from Micha Pietila-Wiggs, but Grossmont responded with a pair in the bottom half of the first

Senior CHRIS GIOVENGO singled to score fellow senior JESSE GARCIA (walk) to tie the game, then three batters later, junior ZAK FARRIS drew a bases-loaded walk for a 2-1 lead.

After Eastlake got another leadoff home run in the top of the second, Grossmont took the lead in the last of the third.

Senior TYLER PARENT singled to scored Giovengo (double), one of his two hits on the day.

“Having Zach Zolina pitch well made it easy for our offense,” Parent said. “We knew we were solid on the mound, which took some pressure off the team and our at-bats. It was a good team win.

“My approach at the plate was to look for a good pitch to hit and drive it gap-to-gap.

Freshman ISAIAH GOMEZ was credited with two RBI on a hard infield single first. Freshman KEONI VALDEZ added a run-scoring double.

Zolina, who struck out five and walked two, gave up the early solo homers but retired the side in order in the third, fifth and sixth inning.

“Our kids are playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Grossmont head coach JORDAN ABRUZZO said. “Zach was just outstanding. Just embraced the challenge and enjoyed the competition.”

Grossmont will travel to face Madison on Wednesday in the second game of the GMC Tournament at 4 p.m.

Five teams compete in two brackets in the Dickens-Thompson Division of the tourney, facing each team in the opposing bracket once.

The winners of each bracket meet in the division championship game on Saturday, April 7 at 10:30 a.m. at Granite Hills High.



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