East County Sports

ROUNDUP: Titans over Scotties; Pats rally



EastCountySports.com staff report


CHULA VISTA – The Helix Highlanders finally got their second shot at the Eastlake Titans on Wednesday, but the county’s No. 1 ranked team entering the week turned away the Scotties’ challenge for the second time in eight days, 6-3.

The highly-ranked outfits were scheduled to meet in the championship game of the Aztec-Foothiller Classic on Saturday, but the game was washed away.

After Eastlake seemed to be in command of a 3-0 lead behind senior Grant Holman through four innings, the Highlanders broke through to tie the game in the fifth.

With one out, AUSTIN KRETZSCHMAR (2-for-3) singled home JORDON THOMPSON (double) for the first Helix run.

“After some struggles, I went back to the basics with my mechanics and adjusted my approach to be more aggressive and it seems to be helping the team thus far,” Kretzschmar said. “On the negative side, we didn’t seem to have luck when we hit balls hard. On the positive side, we hit balls hard off their top two guys, and our offensive approaches significantly improved from our last game against them.”

After ERICK SMELKO singled to left, Kretzschmar scored on an error off the bat of BRANDON PETERSON.

One batter later, CARLOS OQUITA hit a sacrifice fly to center, as Smelko came in from third.

Eastlake’s Brian Leonhardt singled on a 1-1 count, scoring the go-ahead run. He would come on to earn the save, as well.

“I was happy with the way we competed as a whole,” Helix head coach COLE HOLLAND said. “We hit a lot of balls hard today. We gave up a few unearned runs which you can’t do against a quality team but I feel we grew as a team today.”

Not only did the Highlanders keep it competitive against one of the top ten rated teams in the state once again, they did it with a pair of prospective sophomores on the hill in THOMAS CANEDAY and Thompson.

Caneday was particularly gritty, keeping his team within striking distance despite scattering seven hits and issuing four walks.

“It was a tough one to swallow tonight,” said Helix senior catcher ZACK OWENS, who singled and walked twice. “I think it was a learning experience for a lot of our young guys tonight. We threw two sophomores on the mound and I think they matured a lot from today. I think we matured a lot as a team today and I think this helped us more then it brought us down.

“This was the second time seeing Grant on the mound this year after seeing him twice last year and I think I was more comfortable in the box today. I was relaxed and slowed the game down, and I was looking for a pitch that I know I could drive.

Helix dropped a 3-1 decision to the Titans just eight days earlier, but Eastlake may have lost their grasp on the county’s top spot following its loss to Grossmont.

In fact, the Highlanders had moved past Eastlake in the first release of the computer rankings on Tuesday.

“It sucks to lose to these guys again but we put ourselves into a lot of opportunities to win today,” Owens said. “A couple plays here and there and it could have very easily been us on top, and that is exactly what coach (COLE) HOLLAND told us after the game. We will be ready to go for Madison on Friday.”

The Highlanders and Warhawks will meet on Friday in another matchup of top ten teams in La Mesa on Friday at 4.


CHRISTIAN 4, OTAY RANCH 3 – Christian High sophomore ALEX MARKOWICZ pitched a complete game and the Patriots rallied with four runs in the top of the sixth to knock off the Mustangs and Arizona-bound senior pitcher Randy Abshire in the GMC Tournament.

“We were down 3-0 and we came back to beat one of the top pitchers in the county,” Christian coach MIKE MITCHELL said. “That was a huge win for us.  We battled back and never gave up.”

BRAD JEREMIAH had two hits for the Patriots and Markowicz plated Christian’s first run in the big rally with a sacrifice fly that scored Jeremiah.

Christian High junior PEYTON BERROTH singled to right field to make it a 3-2 ballgame, driving in JAKOB BECK (single).

After a wild pitch tied the game, senior GARRETT NIELSEN drove in the go-ahead run with a hard grounder to left, scoring sophomore CONNOR OHTON (walk).

Markowicz allowed six hits and three runs, striking out five.

Otay Ranch’s Noel Perez homered for a 2-0 lead in the first.

The Patriots will host Montgomery on Friday in the GMC event, starting at 3:30.


MORSE 5, EL CAJON VALLEY 4 – El Cajon Valley junior GREG SANCHEZ pitched a complete game as the Braves dropped an exciting game with the visiting Tigers in the GMC tourney.

The Braves jumped out to a 1-0 lead, then had an answer every time the Tigers scored.

Morse finally scored the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh.

In the first inning, Braves senior JESUS FAVELA singled and came around to score on an error.

In the bottom of the third, El Cajon Valley junior SEBASTIAN SANCHEZ (2-for-3) hit a line double to center, eventually coming home on an RBI groundout by senior PAULO MICHEL.

Favela was hit by a pitch to open the last of the fifth. He advanced to third on a single by Sanchez and scored on a fielder’s choice grounder.

“My first at-bat I bunted first pitch and I was out but my teammate managed to go all the way around the bases on an error and score,” Sanchez said. “My second at-bat I fought off a few pitches and hit one up the middle then Morse’s center fielder missed and I advanced to second and ended up scoring.

I think I had success today because our coaches Cliff and Jerome always tell us to just go out there and have fun but also play the game how it’s supposed to be played by giving 100 percent perfect effort on every single play or at bat.”

After Morse regained the lead again in the sixth, El Cajon Valley junior ROBERT VERDUGO opened the Braves’ half by walking. He eventually scored with two outs when junior LUIS HUERTA reached on an error.

“We played a pretty strong game all around,” El Cajon Valley head coach CLIFTON THOMAS said. “We had some costly mistakes – mental and physical – that cost us in the last few innings.”

Junior AARON RODRIGUEZ was credited with an RBI for the Braves. El Cajon Valley recorded three stolen bases, but committed four errors.

“Our pitching was great today, our defense was good, and offense battled,” Thomas said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t get past the mistakes we made, and that’s what cost us the game. I like the growth I’m seeing in our guys, and I think we are headed in the right direction.”

The Braves will play in the Lions Tournament starting next Monday at Eastlake High, going up against a 4-1 de Toldeo squad from West Hills.

“My thoughts on our next opponent is like any other game,” Sanchez said. “Go out there play solid defense and put some runs up early for our pitcher and to play our brand of Braves baseball.”


BONITA VISTA 8, SANTANA 7 – The Santana Sultans deserve better than their current losing streak.

The Sultans fought back against the host Barons after being down 8-0 after five innings.

The comeback fell just short though on Wednesday in a GMC Tournament game in the South Bay. Santana Sultans 2018 Varsity managed seven runs in the failed comeback. Benton Hart, Cam Kane, Sean Iverson, Timmy Tisher, Aidan Burrows, and Iverson all picked up RBIs in the rally.

Santana’s BENTON HART went 3-for-3, scoring two runs and driving in a run to start the Sultans’ six-run sixth inning.

SEAN IVERSON drove in two runs in the uprising and he also picked up an RBI in the seventh when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and two out.

CAM KANE (HBP), TIMMY TISCHER (sac fly) and AIDAN BURROWS (bunt single) also drove in the runs in the terrific sixth-inning rally.

Santana senior LANDON WOOD allowed no earned runs in four innings of relief, striking out seven.

Santana is scheduled to host St. Augustine on Friday at 4 in the Grossmont-Metro-City event.


MADISON 9, GROSSMONT 0 – The eight-ranked Warhawks slowed the Foothillers roll for the moment in a shutout by Madison junior Dylan Rains in the GMC Tournament in San Diego.

The Foothillers have been on the move and in the news following their recent success against state top-ten ranked Eastlake as part of a 4-0-1 streak.

But Madison led 5-0 after two innings and the Hillers mustered just five hits.

TYLER PARENT and CHRIS GIOVENGO got singles to start the top of the second, but that would Grossmont’s only real chance to stay in the game.

We still played awful but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” Grossmont head coach JARED ABRUZZO said. “The sun comes out tomorrow or at least I hope it does.”

With rain in the forecast for the next two days, we’ll see if the skies will clear in time for Friday’s Grossmont-Metro-City game against visiting Scripps Ranch at Gizoni Field starting at 4.


FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN 14, HOOVER 9 – Foothills Christian sophomore CORBIN HARRIS went 4-for-4 with two RBI and four runs scored to help wreck Hoover on Wednesday in the GMC Tournament at Barona Field.

The score was actually tied 4-all after one frame but the Knights led 11-4 after four.

After the Cards scored four in the top of the first to stun the host Knights, Harris starting the Knights’ counter with a line single to center for an RBI, scoring JALANI BROWN (HBP). Harris later scored on a balk.

Foothills Christian sophomore JACK WURTS drove in two with a line single to left, tying the game.

Harris singled and scored on freshman JAKE BAPTISTA’s double to center for a 6-4 lead in the second inning.

Wurts tacked on another run with a single to score Baptista. Baptista scored three runs in the contest.

In the third, Brown was again hit by a pitch and Harris singled the speedy runner home with a line single to center.

The Knights had 14 hits in the game, including two from freshman TYLER KENNEDY, who scored twice and had an RBI.

Senior TREVOR SMALLWOOD went four innings for the win, allowing no earned runs and striking out five with just one walk.

Foothills Christian, which improved to 6-2, faces Longmont (Colo.) on Saturday at 3 at Barona Field.


ST. AUGUSTINE 10, EL CAPITAN 6 – The Saints need all seven of the runs they scored in the first inning against the visiting Vaqueros in the Dickens-Thompson bracket of the GMC.

After the Vaqueros scored for the third consecutive inning with three runs in the sixth, they had cut the lead to 9-5.

Senior JAKE COKER and senior SHAYNE CUNNINGHAM both drove in runs with a double in El Cap’s sixth-inning rally.

Coker scored two runs in the contest.

Senior HUNTER MARKLE singled and scored in the sixth.

Junior AUSTIN BELL had two hits for El Capitan and scored a run.

The Vaqueros get their shot at Eastlake on Friday at 4 p.m. in Lakeside.


PATRICK HENRY 6, VALHALLA 4 – Valhalla senior COLE HOWARD hit a three-run home run in the second inning to erase an early Henry lead, but the visiting Patriots scored three in the fourth and quieted the Norsemen’s bats the rest of the way in the GMC Tournament game.

Valhalla’s JACOB BARBA had three hits, including a RBI single in the Norse’s four-run second, and stole two bases.

Valhalla’s EVAN O’NEILL threw three innings in relief to keep the Norsemen within a shot, as the Norsemen put two men on in the seventh with two out.

Sophomore JOSEPH INGRASSIA had a hit and scored a run for Valhalla.

The Norsemen take on a good Point Loma team on the road on Friday in the GMC tourney at 3:30 p.m.


CLAIREMONT 9, WEST HILLS 0 – Senior pitchers Gavin Nickel and Parker Phillips combined on a 3-hit shutout, pacing the host Chieftains to a 9-0 GMC Tournament victory over the slumping Wolf Pack on Wednesday (Mar. 21).
Nickel pitched into the fourth inning but gave way to Phillips, who pitched the final 3 2/3 innings to gain the victory in relief.
Clairemont senior first baseman Austin Rice registered four RBI.
The Chieftains (3-4)won for the third time in four starts after opening the scoring five markers in the third inning to pull away. The Wolf Pack collected two hits in the fifth, but Phillips escaped the jam with one of his six strikeouts.
The Wolf Pack received two hits from ballclub batting leader Gavin Kondyra. The sophomore moved his season average to .400.
West Hills (1-6) suffered its third shutout setback of the season in dropping its fifth straight.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *