East County Sports

Coach’s daughter steps in to help RedHawks get baseball win



East County Sports. staff report

LEMON GROVE (3-2-2019) – Mountain Empire senior MACKENZIE NOLAND is no stranger to the baseball diamond.

The daughter of Mountain Empire head coach MIKE NOLAND is a former baseball and softball player that has kept busy the last couple of years as the scorekeeper of the resurgent RedHawks baseball team.

But what’s a skipper to do when you have just eight eligible players and the season quickly upon you.

You might just ask the scorekeeper – who hasn’t played softball for two years or with the boys in a baseball game for four years – to suit up for the varsity season opener on Friday against host Liberty Charter.

“With four kids on my team ineligible for the time being, I asked my daughter Mackenzie, our scorekeeper, to play for us so we have nine,” Mike Noland said. “She responded by going 1-for-3 from the plate and reached base every plate appearance.

“It was great to get a win by scraping up nine eligible players.”

“I came to play on the team because of the fact that we only have eight eligible players,” Mackenzie Noland said. “I wore jersey No. 27, which was the jersey of one of our better players, who is out for a while due to a knee injury.”

Noland, a multi-sport athlete, also has played volleyball and basketball.

“When I stepped up to the plate I was so nervous I was shaking because I haven’t played baseball in four years and softball in two, so I was a bit worried.”

Mackenzie Noland singled, walked, reached on an error and reached on a fielder’s choice. Her brother, Jacobe, a sophomore, had a hit, stole two bases and scored four runs.

“Being on my dad and brother’s team wasn’t scary at all because I told him that since I’m not supposed to be a player he can’t yell at me, so he didn’t and my brother didn’t either.

“When I finally made contact with the ball I was happy and surprised because I thought I was going to strike out every time. I only hit to help the team win because thanks to our infield and pitching, the ball didn’t get to me in the outfield.

“At the end of the game, I told my dad that I wanted to be a player now and not a scorekeeper anymore.”

The Redhawks’ Trevor Elliott dominated this one. He pitched a complete game one-hitter, striking out 17, tying a single-game strikeout record now shared with his dad.

“I was locating really good,” Elliott said. “My curveball was pretty good, too. They couldn’t touch it. I couldn’t throw my fastball because they had the removable mound and I had to throw in my tennis shoes.”

Elliott also went 3-for-3, including a pair of triples, with three RBI and two triples as well.

“I’ve always had a knack for hitting,” said the humble star. “Every since Little League.

We’re just going to go out there and compete. JUst ready to play some baseball.”

Damian Cruz-Gastellum had a basehit in his first varsity game for Empire.

“The game went great and I’m sure most, if not all, of my team could agree more,” Jacobe Noland said. “I’m hoping that my team, as well as myself, thrive in all aspects of the game this season.”

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