East County Sports

ROUNDUP: Giovengo wins it on Senior Day



EastCountySports.com staff report


LA MESA – Senior CHRIS GIOVENGO singled home the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Grossmont Foothillers clinched a tie for second-place in the Grossmont Hills League with a 2-1 victory over the visiting Santana Sultans on Senior Night Thursday in the regular-season finale.

Grossmont junior JACK HYDE went the distance, allowing five hits and striking out five to earn his seventh victory of the season.

Sophomore GIO GIGANTI hit a solo home run in the second inning to give the Foothillers a 1-0 lead.

The Foothillers started the game-winning rally with a lead double by senior AUSTIN ODOM (3-for4), who lined a shot to right.

After East County home run co-leader JESSE GARCIA was walked intentionally, Giovengo hit a hard grounder to center on a 1-1 pitch, driving in Odom.

“Couldn’t have done it without Austin Odom starting the inning off with a double and Jesse Garcia getting intentionally walked so they played a big part in the victory today,” Giovengo said.

Hyde lowered his season earned run average to 1.84.

“Hyde pitched another gem today,” Giovengo said.

Hyde outlasted a pair of Sultans pitchers – BEN HART and LANDON WOOD – who pitched three innings apiece, both allowing one run.

“I threw 95 percent fastballs with a few changeups and maybe two sliders,” Hyde said. “My fastball was tailing and I was hitting my spots and they just couldn’t get a hold of it.”

The Sultans tied the game in the top of the seventh on a single to right by Hart, driving home DEVIN BURROUGHS, who had a one-out single.

Junior ZAK FARRIS had two hits for the Foothillers.

Grossmont is likely one of the top seeds – if not possibly the No. 1 seed – heading in the Division I playoffs.

“Of course we are trying to repeat last year as D1 CIF champs,” Giovengo said. “The game today had the most fan support of any game. It was so much fun to play with all my teammates in front of all our friends and family on Senior Night.”

The Foothillers nearly a dozen players from last year’s section championship team, including ace Hyde.

“In terms of CIF, I’m hoping for a top seed for D1,” Hyde said. I think we are ready to face whoever we will play.”

The Sultans are automatically ticketed for the postseason in Division I.


VALHALLA 7, MONTE VISTA 0 – The Norsemen won their 14th-straight game to close out the regular season as champions of the Grossmont Valley League for the second-straight year as they put the finishing touches on a 14-1 record with a combined one-hitter.

Valhalla pitching aces JOSEPH INGRASSIA and TANNER SMITH combined on the shutout.

Ingrassia, a sophomore, allowed one hit and walked none, while striking out three.

He finished the regular season with a 7-1 record and a 0.99 ERA.

Smith, a senior, was perfect over the final three frames. He recorded a pair of Ks.

Arkansas Tech-bound Smith takes a 1.46 earned run average into the postseason.

The Norsemen (18-11) have a formidable 1-2 mound duo heading into the Division II playoffs.

Seniors COLE HOWARD and EVAN APPLEBAUM are steady third and fourth options.

The productive Norse offense produced runs in four of the first five frames.

Smith and Howard both drove in a pair of runs.

Howard’s RBI single with two outs in the first gave Valhalla a 2-0 lead.

Howard’s two-out single in the second inning scored junior JONAH ST. CLAIR, went 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored for Valhalla.

Valhalla senior JACOB BARBA, who finished the regular season with a team-high .424 batting average, drove in a run with a ground single to left in the fourth, scoring St. Clair.

The next batter, Smith, tripled to left field, driving in Barba, but the Monarchs threw Smith out at home trying to stretch the hit into a four-bagger.

Monte Vista finished the regular season with an 18-11 record and is a serious contender for the Division IV title.


FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN 4, ESCONDIDO CHARTER 0 – Foothills Christian senior BAILEY LEWIS allowed one hit over five innings to earn the win and hit a two-run home run to send the Knights on their way to their sixth Pacific League win of the season.

BAILEY LEWIS delivers a pitch on Thursday.

Lewis struck out six in winning for the sixth time this season. He lowered his ERA to 2.40.

It was the fourth-straight win for FCHS heading into the Division IV playoffs.

Knights freshman KIP FAMOLARO went the final two innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three.

In the first inning, Foothills Christian freshman TYLER KENNEDY doubled with the count full, driving in Lewis.

Foothills Christian sophomore CORBIN HARRIS singled to left scoring junior JALANI BROWN, who reached with a one-out single.


MOUNT MIGUEL 3, EL CAJON VALLEY 2 – Mount Miguel junior NICO CAMACHO allowed four hits over six innings, striking out seven to earn his third victory of the season, and sophomore JAY HARRIS hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot, lifting the Matadors to the Grossmont Valley League home victory in their season finale.

The Braves scored in the first inning for a 1-0 lead.

It wasn’t until the fifth that the Matadors broke through against El Cajon starter GREG SANCHEZ.

Freshman JOJO CASTILLO was hit by a pitch to start the frame, then junior CAMERON BEAUZEC sacrificed him to second.

Up to the plate stepped Harris, who gave the Matadors the lead with one swing.

Senior RUBEN PRECIADO-TEJEDA had a hit and scored a run in his final game with the Matadors.

Sophomore ERIK KELLY made it 3-1 with a line single to left in the bottom of the fifth.

AUSTIN ORTIZ, a junior, went 2-for-3 for Mount Miguel and finished the season strong with a .303 batting average.

Senior JOSEPH MENDOZA closed out the game in his final performance.

“Nico pitched well,” Mount Miguel head coach FRANK COIT said. “We let Mendoza, the senior, finish his career on the hill.

“(Mendoza) threw well, a couple grounders got through to make it interesting, but he fought through.”

Sanchez went the distance for the Braves, allowing no walks and striking out six.

“Greg Sanchez has done what he has done for us all year,” El Cajon Valley coach CLIFTON THOMAS said. “He pitched a great game that gave us a chance to compete.”

Sanchez finished the regular season with a 3.38 ERA despite nine losses.

“He’s a really good competitor and always gives us a chance when he’s on the hill,” Thomas said.

El Cajon Valley’s CHRISTIAN VASQUEZ had two hits, while teammate JESUS FAVELA singled and scored.

“Vazquez is great and Favela did well today,” Thomas said. “We had (Favela) in the outfield and he showed up big time for us out there. He made some great plays that kept us in the game.”

While the season ended on a high-note for the Matadors, the news is not all bad for the Brave

El Cajon Valley’s strength of schedule puts them in the Division V playoffs, where they stack up more competitively than their tough league campaign.

“I like the way we finished the regular season with this game,” Thomas said. “I think that’s going to be huge for us heading into the playoffs.

For veteran Favela, the playoffs bring a final chance at some senior postseason redemption.

“Every season you have a new group of guys and you consider them family,” Favela said. ” I might have a couple more games in me. Maybe even a ring.”

Favela may keep his game in the East County following the season

“Hopefully if I go to Grossmont (College) I make the baseball team there and show that I love this game one-thousand percent and will do my all for a team,” Favela said. “Who knows from there on my future in baseball. It’s every kids’ dream.”

For Vasquez, a transfer, he represents a big part of the Braves’ future, both short- and long-term.

“I love the team we have,” Vasquez said. “We’ve had struggles here and then, but what team doesn’t struggle? I just love the team we have.

“I feel just more comfortable with the team and have fun playing the game. I definitely consider these guys my brothers, and at Grossmont, I just didn’t feel that vibe I had like I do with El Cajon. I have confidence in my team, we are definitely capable of going far into playoffs, I know we do. I look forward to my next two years with the Braves.”


EL CAPITAN 4, KEARNY 3 – El Capitan senior BLAKE “Boomer” PEYTON singled home the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning and got the win on the hill for the last time as the Vaqueros won their season finale at home.

El Capitan won its ninth game of the season when freshman CONNOR CHRIST starting the winning rally with a lead-off walk.

HUNTER MARKLE followed with a single, then STEVIE MONTEJANO was walked on four pitches, loading the bases and setting the stage for the Vaqueros’ senior superstar.

Peyton singled on a 1-2 count, driving in Christ.

Kearny got on the board in the first inning for a 1-0 lead.

El Capitan senior SHAYNE CUNNINGHAM tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second, scoring junior AUSTIN BELL, who led off with a double.

The Komets grabbed a pair of runs in the third, but in the bottom of the sixth inning, El Capitan tied the game at 3-all when Cunningham doubled to center, driving in Bell (double) once again.

Peyton came on in relief of starter Cunningham and went four innings, allowing no runs on two hits while striking out six.


STEELE CANYON 10, WEST HILLS 2 – In a contest to close the regular season offering no effect on the Grossmont Valley League standings or the CIF playoffs, Cougars starter Noah Nadeau carried a shutout into the seventh inning, going on to a 10-2 triumph over the host Wolf Pack.

Nadeau, a senior who struck out seven, out-dueled Landon Bailey, who nearly matched his opponent for five full frames before tiring in the sixth.

For Nadeau, he knew entering Thursday’s (May 18) outing it might be his final time on the mound.

“I really wanted to pitch because I haven’t pitched in league before I was hurt,” said Nadeau. “Next year, I’m going to UC San Diego to study marine biology.”

Nadeau carried a 3-hit shutout into the seventh before the Pack sandwiched around a Cougars errors to hit the board, capped on an RBI double by pinch-hitter Kai Dennis and a sacrifice fly by Joe Thrailkill. Both are sophomores, boding well for the Wolf Pack future.

Steele Canyon was powered in the middle of the batting order, as the 3-4-5 hitters combined to bat 6-for-7 (two each) plus five free passes (3 walks,2 HBP). The rest of the ballclub managed just to hits.

Right fielder Danny Yanez started the scoring with a two-out single in the first, followed by a walk to first baseman Billy Tellous, then an RBI base hit by catcher Luke Arias.

In the fourth, Tellous, grandson of well-known sports referee of the same name, walked and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Anthony Mata.

Steele Canyon (I17-11 overall, 12-3 GVL) finally busted the ballgame open with six markers — three via wild pitches — in the sixth.

Among the Cougars’ eight runs in the final two innings, only three came with RBI hits. Setting up both outbursts were a double in each inning from senior left fielder Josh Esquibel.

Unfortunately for Steele Canyon, its second-place finish was not good enough to advance to the CIF playoffs due to its power rating, which can penalize a club from a weaker league schedule.

Meanwhile, West Hills (10-20, 6-9 GVL) closes its campaign in fourth place.

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