East County Sports

Cougars’ Canales delivers clean slate

Steele Canyon and West Hills on Friday afternoon. / photo by Melissa Honick


Special to EastCountySports.com

SPRING VALLEY (5-52018) – It’s among the scariest things which can occur to a baseball pitcher.

“I hung a pitch and the (Monte Vista batter) hit it off my head,” said Steele Canyon pitcher Ivan Canales, pointing to a spot behind his right ear. “They took me to the hospital and everything to check me out, but I was fine.”

Canales proved the doctors correct.

West Hills applies a tag against Steele Canyon on Friday. / photo by Melissa Honick

Returning to the mound Friday (May 4), Canales dominated visiting West Hills.  The senior struck out 10 batters in tossing a 108-pitch, complete-game, 5-hit shutout, leading the Cougars to a 9-0 blanking.

Steele Canyon (13-10 overall, 8-2 GVL)  swept the 2-game series by a composite run-count of 17-0.

“I was able to get the ball on the inside corner when I needed to,” said Canales, who barely nipped teammate Trevor Back, who fired a 6-hit shutout at West Hills earlier in the week.

The Cougars tandem are battling for the starting assignment against Valhalla to determine the Grossmont Valley League championship. The ballclubs split their earlier series, but the Cougars lost one other GVL contest, giving the Norsemen a 1-game lead entering the third and final round of league competition.

Once again, the West Hills defense and an assortment of wild pitches made five of the runs allowed unearned. But with Canales firing blanks, the Pack didn’t find much room to rally after the Cougars scored in the first three innings.

Shortstop Anthony Mata and left fielder Richard Pedrin each drove in a pair of runs, while designated hitter Aaron Taylor registered three of nine hits for the Cougars.

Canales escaped a pair of jams. With two runners on base in the 2nd, the senior picked off the runner at first base to end the inning. In the fourth, again with two runners, West Hills’ Gavin Londyra send a rope to center field, but the defender snagged the line drive for the third out.

A Steele Canyon player slides into third on Friday. / photo by Melissa Honick

West Hills (8-15 overall, 4-6 GVL) made a mistake which prevented a triple play, instead settling for a two-out play (not a double play).

With two runners on, Wolf Pak catcher Greg Plale caught a pop-up which was ruled an infield fly for an automatic out. The lead runner was already at third base, so he headed back to second base, where the other runner was standing.

But others were going to be tagged, hoping the wrong runner would step off the bag to create a triple play, but the ball instead skipped into right field. The lead runner again headed for third, but he was thrown out.

Instead of ending the inning, Cade Stein and Mata following with RBI hits.

On Tuesday
(May 8), Steele Canyon goes to Valhalla to determine the GVL pennant winner, while West Hills will host El Cajon Valley, while. Both are slated for 4 p.m.

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