East County Sports

Titans continue to have Scotties’ number



East County Sorts staff report

LA MESA (3-7-2019) – The Helix Highlanders have a hard time when it comes to defeating the Eastlake Titans.

In a potential CIF playoff preview, the only thing Helix High feels good about is that’s Thursday’s (Mar. 6) Grossmont-Metro-City contest was not a postseason contest.

Helix hasn’t defeated Eastlake since 2011. Since then, the Titans have scored 10-straight win over the Highlanders, including four meetings last season which culminated in the Scotties’ elimination from the playoffs.

The Highlanders mounted an early 3-0 lead but gave it all away as Eastlake rallied to post a 4-3 triumph on Thursday.

The No. 3-ranked Titans (6-0-1) remain unbeaten in seven contest by scoring four unanswered runs, including three in the decisive 5th inning.

Meanwhile, the Scotties fell to 2-4.

Down 3-1, Eastlake third baseman Keoni Cavaco led off with a solo home run, with the wind and over the right-field fence. Iran Fuentes walked, forcing a pitching change, but the bullpen also struggled.

Following a line drive for an out, Fuentes moved to third on a passed ball, then on a pop out down the right-field line, Fuentes was able to tag-up and score the game-tying run.

Moments later, diminutive Eastlake second baseman Jalen Fejeran – he’s listed at 5-foot-9 – kept the momentum going by rocking a go-ahead homer to left.

Titans starting pitcher Ricky Tibbett continued on, capping his six solid inningswith the final of his 7 strikeouts. Cavaco survived a one-out error in the 7th to register the save.

Helix saw Justin Cervantes and Jack Sothras (2-for-4) each stroke consecutive RBI doubles to right field in the 2nd. The two-out rally started on a walk to Adam Martinez.

“I felt really confident stepping up to plate,” Sothras said. “He was trying to throw me fastballs inside so I adjusted got off the plate and he missed his spot so I took advantage of that and drove the ball to right field.

“After that at bat, I had to change my approach again because he started to paint pitches on the outside corner, so I got on the plate and hit the ball down the third base line.”

An inning later, another two-out run scored on a solo homer by Jordon Thompson, also to right.

After that, Eastlake pitchers worked the inside to prevent the parade of extra-base hits by Helix, while the Titans rallied by implementing a similar batting strategy.

“Both starting pitchers did an excellent job hitting their spots and utilizing their secondary pitches to the best of their ability,” Sothras said. “Eastlake’s starting pitcher wasn’t missing his spots, he was painting his fastballs and was really feeling his curveball, but when he did we took advantage of that and we got some clutch hits that gave us the early lead.

“I think we grinded throughout the game, and we all had a good approach stepping into the box, but unfortunately they put together some clutch hits and they got the win.”

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