East County Sports

Red Hawks in D5 final; Foothillers, Sultans in must win



EastCountySports.com staff report


LA MESA – The Grossmont Foothillers are one win away from returning to the San Diego CIF Division I championship game and a chance to defend their section title after belting three home runs in a 9-0 win over visiting Carlsbad on Tuesday at Gizoni Field.

Senior AUSTIN ODOM hit a grand slam over the left field fence in the sixth inning and junior JACK HYDE pitched six innings, allowing four hits, as the second-seeded Foothillers returned the favor after losing the playoff opener to the tenth-seeded Lancers here last week.

“It was a great team win today,” said Odom, who hit his third homer of the season.”Everybody contributed in some type of way.”

The two squads are right back at it on Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 a title-game berth on the line.

“Carlsbad is tough and we’re going to have to come out ready to go tomorrow,” Odom said. “We are just enjoying the process and taking it one game at a time.”

The winner advances to Friday’s division title game at USD at 7.

“Jack did what Jack does and we played well behind him,” Grossmont coach JORDAN ABRUZZO said “We got some clutch two-out home runs to get us going.”

Hiller senior JESSE GARCIA had the first long ball with a line shot off the top of the building down right field line in the third inning for the first runs of the game, as GIO GIGANTI started the two-out rally with a single.

“Carlsbad pitcher threw me a changeup outside and left it up and I saw it well,” said Garcia of his ninth home run of the season.  “I have definitely had to learn to hit borderline pitches this year and, in a way, I am grateful for that because I know it is getting me ready for the future.”

Freshman ISAIAH GOMEZ, who came in as a pinch-hitter, belted a two-run shot well over the fence in right field with two out in the fourth to take a 4-0 advantage, as junior KEONI VALDEZ (single) scored.

“I was lucky to get the opportunity to pinch-hit in a situation where I could help my team put another run on the board,” Gomez said. “Coach told me to be on time with the fastball and that’s exactly what I did.

“I’m glad I was able to contribute to the all-around team win today. As a team, we just need to play aggressive and keep the momentum going into tomorrow’s game to come out with another win and get a shot at that D1 championship.”

Grossmont senior CHRIS GIOVENGO doubled and scored in the last of the sixth for a 5-0 lead, setting the stage for Odom’s two-out granny.

Meanwhile, Hyde (8-4) struck out four and walked none in using just 69 pitches to dispose of the Lancers’ initial title-game bid, keeping the Grossmont ace eligible to pitch on Friday.

“We took the same approach this time as last time,” said Hyde, who pitched seven innings but left a 1-all tie in the first meeting against Carlsbad. “I really focused on keeping the offspeed and breaking balls down and away from hitters. Fastball command was very important and generated most of the outs.”

This time, the Grossmont bats figured out Lancer hurler Drew Sommers, who allowed just one earned run and struck out six in six innings, as Carlsbad went on to win 4-1 last Wednesday.

“The offensive support was great and I’m very excited that our bats are coming alive at just the right time,” Hyde said. “This is a great group of guys coached by great coaches and we’ve really come together to compete and hopefully win the championship this year.”

The Foothillers’ TYLER PARENT closed things out with a perfect seventh.

Grossmont (19-12-1) surely will use junior left-hander DREW SHIRVANIAN on Wednesday in some capacity. He had a very good effort in picking up the win over La Jolla Country Day last Friday, pitching 5 1/3 innings and striking out six.

Carlsbad (15-18) will have the task of trying to earn their way to the championship by playing the Foothillers on their home turf for the second-straight day. Senior Jake Larimer (5-3, 1.70 ERA) last pitched on May 22.

“We came out aggressive today and played well,” Abruzzo said. “All we can ask for is a chance to play for a championship and we have that opportunity tomorrow if we can get it done.”


MADISON 7, SANTANA 6 – The Warhawks will force a deciding semifinal game in the Division I playoffs after staving off the visiting Sultans in a fourth-round game that featured a pair of six-run innings on Tuesday.

The teams will meet again at Madison on Wednesday with the winner advancing to Friday’s championship game at USD against the winner of the Grossmont-Carlsbad matchup.

Leading 3-0 with one out in the fourth, James Shimishita cleared the bases with a three-run hit in Madison’s big frame, as the Warhawks appeared to take a demoralizing 7-0 lead.

Not against these Sultans.

Santana bashed their way to a six-run fifth to put the contest in doubt for the remainder of the afternoon.

With the bases loaded, senior BRANDON GLOWACKI cracked a double that rolled to the wall in left center, allowing three runs to score as the Sultans countered to make it 7-6.

DAVIN BURROUGHS drew a one-out walk, scoring senior JAKE SARGENT (single) for the Sultans’ first run.

Junior BEN HART singled home seniors LANDON WOOD (walk) and TRISTAN TAYLOR (2-for-3) to make it 6-3.

Madison ace David Lantz was used as the starter and went five innings for the win.

Junior Dylan Rains pitched to innings for the save.

Hart started for Santana and went 3 1/3 innings, and afterward made no excuses.

Santana junior RYAN JAGGARD had another effective outing in relief, throwing 2 2/3 scoreless innings, giving his team a chance in their final two at-bats.

Junior Adam Lovato led Madison with three hits.


MOUNTAIN EMPIRE 4, CALVIN CHRISTIAN 3 (8 innings) – Mountain Empire freshman JACOBE NOLAND singled home the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning, sending the Red Hawks back to their first title game appearance in 37 years when the school won back-to-back 1A championships in 1979-80 under head coach WILLIAM PRINCE.

Junior IAN ESTRADA got the winning rally started with an infield single to short.

Red Hawk junior NATHAN ROSE doubled with one out, advancing Estrada to third, then junior RYAN SAWYER reached on an infield single loading the bases for Noland.

Senior WYATT AGUILAR tied the game with a two-run double to center with two out in the bottom of the fifth inning, driving home Noland (double) and junior TREVOR ELLIOTT.

In the first inning, Elliott drove in the first run of the game a run with a double, scoring Noland (single).

The Crusaders scored a run in the second and two in the third to take the lead.

Aguilar also earned the win with one inning of relief, as he struck out three in the frame while allowing a hit.

Elliott, the Hawks’ junior ace, started the game for Mountain Empire. He went seven innings, allowing three hits while striking out seven.

In Saturday’s championship game at UCSD at noon, Mountain Empire will face Tri-City Christian, which defeated Southwest High, of San Diego, 8-0, on Tuesday behind senior Zach Reitmeyer.

Tri-City Christian features a deep pitching staff with a cumulative 2.06 ERA this season. Junior Eric Fritzsch and sophomore Chris Doyle seem destined for service.

The Eagles went just 3-5 in the Pacific League (18-12 overall), finishing fourth behind league champ Classical Academy and second-place finisher, Foothills Christian.

Tri-City did beat The Red Hawks’ foe on Tuesday, Calvin, on the road, 10-3, in a Crusader Classic tournament game on March 21. TCC beat up on several weak opponents early in the season, scoring over 20 runs on five separate occasions.

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