East County Sports

Pack bats learning, earning wins in April

Catcher Andrew Ritayik and starting pitcher Cody Pedrero, of West Hills on Wednesday. / Picture credit to Melissa Honick

2018 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

 

Special to EastCountySports.com

 

SANTEE (4-5-2018) – Without intending to prod or embarrass any individual, the laundry list of West Hills High batters struggling at the plate this season is extensive.

West Hills’ CODY PEDRERO stretchs for a put out on Wednesday.Picture credit to Melissa Honick

“I’ve been absolutely horrific at the plate all season,” admitted PEYTON HONICK, one of several members of the Wolf Pack sporting batting averages well under the infamous Mendoza Line. “It’s just been a crazy time out there with the bat.”

Fortunately, many members of the roster have been willing to do something about it. And they’re earning positive results.

Honick, batting at the bottom of the lineup, came through with a roller which eluded a University City defender, the only run in the Wolf Pack’s 1-0, walk-off triumph over the visiting Centurions.

The win moves West Hills (4-9 overall, yet 2-0 in April) to the top of its GMC Tournament pool with two other schools at 3-2. Tournament officials were to meet Thursday to determine which of the trio — the others are San Ysidro and Chula Vista — will advance to Saturday’s championship contest.

West Hills starting pitcher Cody Pdrero again proved dominant. The junior registered 10 of his 16 outs on strikes but was forced from the ballgame on a pitch count. Gavin Kondyra entered in relief and registered two additional whiffs, combining on a 4-hit shutout.

However, University City pitcher Isaac Wolfkind was equal to the task for six innings. Consistently getting ahead of hitters, Wolfkind yielded just two base hits on 76 pitches through six innings, but West Hills responded with three singles in the bottom of the seventh, capped by Honick’s clutch game-winner with two outs.

Chris Schroeder hitting on Wednesday for West Hills. / Picture credit to Melissa Honick

But it took several different efforts to finally push the run across.

“We tried everything to score,” said head coach Mickey Deutschman. “We tried to bunt, push the ball, try a double steal — everything! But Payton finally got the hit we desperately needed.”

Devin Bevilacqua and Kondyra opened the seventh with base hits to place runners on the corners. Kondyra took second base, yet couldn’t draw a throw from the Cents catcher, gaining second base on indifference.

An out later, Larry “Chris” Schroeder was handed an intentional walk to load the bases.

A hard ground bunt by Steven Cristini saw the UC first baseman make the defensive stop of the ballgame. He laid out to glove the ball, got up, then fired home for the force out to the catcher and the second out.

However, Honick followed with his grounder between defenders to level West Hills’ record at home to 3-3 entering next week’s start of Grossmont Valley League play.

“Hopefully, this can get us going to right the ship,” Honick added.

Pedrero added a double over the head of the UC center fielder to start the game. The only other hit was a bloop single down the left-field line by Kai Dennis in the 6th.

Unless West Hills advances to the GMC final, the next Pack game will be at El Cajon Valley on Tuesday (Apr. 10), starting at 4 p.m.

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