East County Sports

Knights, Monarchs, Norsemen sweep



EastCountySports.com staff report


SAN DIEGO – The Foothills Christian Knights added to their win column and moved over the .500-mark in a big way on Saturday, sweeping a doubleheader on the road against the High Tech Storm.

It was really thanks to outstanding pitching, including saves in both ends of the twin bill by CHRIS STALLARD, that allowed Foothills to obtain the 6-4 and 6-1 wins over HTHSD.

Foothills trailed 2-0 heading into the top of the sixth inning of game one, but senior BAILEY LEWIS doubled on a 1-2 count, which allowed two runs to score and give the Knights a 3-2 lead. Lewis drove in runs in both ends of the doubleheader.

The Knights would finish with a six-spot in the sixth.

Sophomore JACK WURTS had a two-out RBI single to give FCHS a 5-2 lead.

“I like the opportunity to help our pitchers every chance I get,” said Wurts, a catcher. “They are working hard every pitch. If I can frame a few and give the umpire a reason to call a strike on a close one, that is always fun. Besides that, I try to keep the ball in front of me and give our pitchers confidence to throw any pitch any time. ”

Freshman KIP FAMOLARO got the win for Foothills Christian. He allowed four runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings, striking out four.

“I felt great for the first inning, I was hitting spots, throwing hard,” Famolaro said. “Ended up not being my best day, but my guys made some amazing plays behind me.

Stallard came in to throw 1 1/3 innings in relief to earn the save.

“Chris Stallard closed strong and we were able to put some runs together,” Famolaro added.

The Knights’ TREVOR SMALLWOOD turned in a strong start in game two and had an RBI single to start the scoring rally in game one.

“The second game belonged to our senior captain Trevor Smallwood,” Foothills Christian head coach DAVE LEWIS said. “He really shut them down and Stallard came back out to finish it again.

The senior surrendered one run on three hits over5 1/3 innings, striking out nine.

“Our starting pitching was outstanding today and the reason we were able to sweep a doubleheader from High Tech,” Lewis said. “Famolaro gave us a really strong effort with Stallard finishing the game for us. Jack Wurts was a wall back there. Jack really runs our defense and nothing gets by him. It all starts back there.”

Stallard threw 1/3 innings to get the save. He hasn’t allowed a run in 6 1/3 innings since joining the team recently.

“Chris really was key to both of our wins today,” Lewis said. “Famolaro came back and caught the second game. He did a great job and we are lucky to have two outstanding catchers.

Junior PRESTON SACCONE had two hits, including a two-run double in the top of the fifth to give FCHS a 3-0 lead. He also a sac fly in the opener.

“Preston had a big day for us,” Lewis said. “Good pitching, timely hitting and good defense got us a sweep today. Good momentum towards starting league next week.”

Junior JALANI BROWN and sophomore CORBIN HARRIS and each had two hits for the Knights.

“I’ve been in a slump for the past couple games and overall our teams is not producing runs as I would like,” Brown said. “Our coaches sat us down and told us that we need to change some things and to start stringing hits together which we have not been doing and that was the practice before this doubleheader.”

Brown had an RBI double in the sixth to cap the scoring in game two.

“At the practice, we changed our routine and put more focus into how we play,” Brown said. “For the doubleheader, we were more prepared and played competitively and fought for these two wins.”

Foothills Christian improved to 10-8 overall as they start league play as a new entry in the Pacific League, playing defending co-league champion Classical Academy in a home-and-home series this week on Tuesday and Thursday.


VALHALLA 10, MOUNT MIGUEL 9 (Game 2, 8 innings) – The Valhalla Norsemen took two different routes to a Grossmont Valley League doubleheader sweep of the visiting Matadors on Saturday, quickly improving to 2-1 in cicuit play.

After a decisive win in the opener of the twin bill, the Norsemen would rally from a 9-2 deficit as the teams combined for 12 runs in the sixth innings, seven of them by Valhalla (6-11).

Valhalla junior CAMERON ZAMUDIO lined a two-out single to left in the bottom of the eighth, the scored on an error on the ensuing at-bat by freshman TREY HENIGE.

Senior RUBEN PRECIADO-TEJEDA and junior NICO CAMACHO both drove in runs in the Matadors’ five-run sixth.

Sophomore ERIK KELLY had a two-run double to cap the frame, putting the Matadors seemingly comfortable in front by seven runs. Kelly had four RBI for the game.

Senior JOSEPH MENDOZA had two hits, drove in two runs, and scored once for Mount Miguel.

“We were set up to win game two,” Mount Miguel coach FRANK COIT said. “Seven-run lead, six outs to go. Baseball is a Cruel Game.”

Senior JACOB BARBA got things going with an RBI single, while junior CAMERON ZAMUDIO added an RBI single, as well, as the Norsemen took advantage of series of Matador mistakes, including on the game’s final play.

Junior MAX HAGEMAN was credited with a pair of RBI for the Norsemen.

Sophomore KYLE CASPER earned the win with two innings of relief, allowing one hit and striking out two.

Also impressive was Valhalla senior EVAN APPLEBAUM, who entered the game with one out in the first inning and spun 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Mount Miguel freshman MICHAEL CAMACHO deserved a better fate, allowing just one hit and an unearned run in 2 1/3 innings to finish the game.


VALHALLA 18, MOUNT MIGUEL 1 (Game 1) – Sophomore JOSEPH INGRASSIA and junior ETHAN DUNNAM both drove in three runs as the Norsemen erased a 1-0 first-inning deficit and Valhalla had a pair of six-run frames in the first game of the twin bill.

Ingrassia also was sharp on the hill, with four innings of one-hit ball, allowing one run and striking out six, with no walks.

Sophomore KYLE CASPER had an RBI single in the bottom of the first to tie the game, as Valhalla scored four runs in the bottom of the inning.

Several of the same types of mistakes the plagued the Matadors in game two were evident in the opener, as well.

Ingrassia and Dunnam both had two-run singles to right in the bottom of the fourth, as the Norsemen extended the lead to 9-1 and eventually, 12-1.

Junior CALEB KISTER highlighted Valhalla’s second half-dozen with a two-run single to left.

Junior EVAN O’NEILL spun 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief for the Norsemen.

Sophomore JULIUS HARRIS had an RBI double in the first inning, scoring junior AUSTIN ORTIZ (walk) for the Matadors’ first-inning run.

Valhalla is home to Steele Canyon and at West Hills in league games this week, while the Matadors are at Monte Vista and home versus the Cougars.


MONTE VISTA 10, WEST HILLS 5 (Game one) – A combination of thunder and lightning propelled the host Monarchs to a doubleheader sweep of the Wolf Pack to move into the early lead through the opening week of Grossmont Valley League play.

On Saturday (Apr. 14), Monte Vista produced a double-digit run total to capture the opener.

In Game One, Monarchs senior captain IVAN PLAZOLA batted 4-for-4 to help overcome an early 3-0 deficit, then he came on in relief to throw the final 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out two to pick up the win, his East County-leading fifth of the season.

“We took advantage of every opportunity,” said Plazola, who plans to play for Southwestern College next spring. “Our pitchers made some adjustments to keep West Hills off-balance.”

Plazola singled to center for a run in the last of the first, then made it 3-2 with an RBI single in the bottom of the second.

Plazola’s third-consecutive single, a bloop to center in the fourth, tied the game.

The Wolf Pack took an early lead thanks to a two-run homer by GAVIN KONDYRA. But when the wind started to blow in from left field, the Pack bats went silent until the fifth, when they tied the game at 5-apiece after stringing together a single and four consecutive walks.

Monte Vista junior DERRICK WILEY singled home the go-ahead run during a five-run sixth which decided the game.
The next batter, freshman ANDY CANEDO, drove in two more with a hard single to center.

MONTE VISTA 4, WEST HILLS 0 (Game two) – The Monarchs rode the arm of sophomore Abraham Sanchez in a complete-game, 3-hit shutout in the “afternoon-cap” and assumed first place in the Grossmont Valley League in the process.

Monte Vista (12-5 overall, 3-0 GVL) ran its win streak to six. West Hills (5-11, 1-2) saw its 3-game win streak snapped.

“It’s all about keeping focused and having confidence,” said Sanchez, who only struck out three, yet coaxed an array of ground-ball outs to keep this pitch count low. “That allows us to get better every game.”

Sanchez, an Honors student with a 3.80 grade-point average, was dominant throughout. He struck out four, throwing 63 of 90 pitches for strikes.

Although he allowed a second hit to Pack shortstop JOE THRAILKILL, Sanchez managed to field a tapper back to the mound by the ensuing batter, starting a game-ending double play to give the Monarchs their first doubleheader sweep since 2011 (nonleague vs. Kearny).

The Monarchs scored three runs in the third inning, capped by senior IVAN PLAZOLA’s two-run double. Senior JON GULLEY had an RBI single for the first run.

Junior ANDREW SAVOY added a steal of home, following a pickoff attempt at first base.

Monte Vista will host Mount Miguel in on Tuesday, then face El Cajon Valley, at Petco Park, on Thursday, at 7.

West Hills host El Cajon Valley and Monte Vista in league contests this week.

FRANCIS PARKER 2, GROSSMONT 1 (8 innings) – Foothiller junior left-hander DREW SHIRVANIAN was awesome in a spot start, allowing just two hits over seven innings, but the host Lancers earned the non-league win in eight innings.

Shirvanian struck out five and allowed one run, lowering his season ERA to 3.20.

“Drew Shirvanian threw seven great innings in his first varsity start,” Grossmont head coach JORDAN ABRUZZO said. “Give Francis Parker credit, they played great defense. We had our chances to score but we couldn’t get a big hit.”

“Drew was outstanding today. He gave us a chance to win but we couldn’t pull it out for him. He deserved to win today”

Grossmont’s JASE RUSSELL singled to left, driving in TYLER PARENT (single), as the Hillers strung together four-straight hits. Both Russell and Parent had two hits in the game.

The Lancers got to Shirvanian for that run in the first inning with a double, a sacrifice bunt and run-scoring single by Sterling Hayes.

From there, Shirvanian navigated his way for what would have been a standard complete game.

“My two angle curveballs helped me a lot today,” Shirvanian said. “I have been fighting for a starting position for my Grossmont high school team.”

Grossmont junior KEONI VALDEZ had three hits from the leadoff spot, but the Hillers couldn’t bring him around.

Despite the loss, Grossmont (10-6-1) is certain to be the highest-ranked East County team in the media poll when it is released on Monday.

“I believe that if we keep those bats hot and our pitching top-notch we should be able to win league and win the open division championship,” Shirvanian said.

The Foothillers and Granite Hills Eagles square off this week in a home-and-home set on Tuesday and Thursday, with the series opener at Gizoni Field.


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