East County Sports

Patriots counter Cougars’ late score

2019 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

PATRICK HENRY 2, STEELE CANYON 1

East County Sports staff report

RANCHO SAN DIEGO (3-10-2019) – Three outs away from a mild upset victory when Steele Canyon broke a scoreless pitchers’ duel in the 6th inning, visiting Patrick Henry roared back with a pair of runs in the 7th to shock the Cougars, 2-1, in Saturday’s (Mar. 9) rain make-up in the Grossmont-Metro-City Tournament.

A clutch two-out base hit by Eli Page seemed destined to be the game-winner.

After Jake Entrekin and Aaron Taylor stroked consecutive lead singles, the Patriots retired the next batter as another ‘zero’ seemed poised for the scoreboard.

However, Page delivered a sharp ground up the middle for a base hit.

Looking like a windmill on steroids, third base coach Jesse Evans nearly blew out his arm in sending pinch-runner Gabe Vidana home (instead, the Pats fired the ball to third base for the second out).

The smart defensive play seemed to energize the Patriots when they rallied back.

Just like Steele Canyon, the first two batters in the 7th reach base, as Jonathan Marshall doubled to left, then Garrett McKee grounded a single through the left side, taking second base on the throw to third. Both players were the lone Pats to register two hits in the rare 10 a.m. start.

Neither runner in scoring position could advance after a ground ball to a drawn-in infield and a pop out. But with the Cougars one away out from victory, the roof fell in.

Flipping back to the top of the batting order, right fielder Mateo Medina grounded the ball through the left side. Marshall easily scored to tie the ballgame, but Patriots coach Sheldon Watkins, emulating Evans, nearly busted a wing to bring McKee home with the go-ahead run.

Andrew McAlpin was hastily summoned from the bullpen to pitch the 7th, surviving a pair of walks to end the ballgame on a line-drive third out. McAlpin saved the game for another reliever, Ben Manis, who allowed just three hits over 3 2/3 innings for Patrick Henry (5-1-1)

For Steele Canyon (2-4), starting pitcher Jonathan Kenney lasted 6-plus innings, allowing a lead walk in the 7th. He came away with no-decision.

MADISON 5, GROSSMONT 0:  It sounds a touch like Shakespeare: “To be shutout, or not to be shutout. That is the question.”

Among the eight ballgames played by Grossmont High, six have been decided by shutout. Four were victories, but the other two were whitewashes handed to them by the Warhawks, including Saturday’s (Mar. 9) GMC Tournament contest.

This ballgame was decided early when Madison registered all five runs in the 1st inning. The initial run scored on a sacrifice fly by Victor Arreola, ending a string of 26 2/3 innings of consecutive shutout ball by the Foothillers pitching staff.

The outburst was capped on a 3-run homer by Chase Schilling.
Meanwhile, Hawks pitcher Christian Becerra fired a 4-hitter at Grossmont, walking just two. Becerra was supported by a 3-for-4 batting effort by Israel Tafolla.

“We didn’t make enough adjustments today to win a baseball game,” Grossmont head coach Jordan Abruzzo said. “Jaden Wilcox and Scott Wood did a great job keeping us in the game but we just couldn’t get going offensively. We will get better, we have no choice.”

Grossmont (5-3) saw relief pitchers Jaden Wilcox and Scott Wood closed with 6 1/3 frames of shutout ball to commence a new streak. Isaiah Gomez recorded two of the Hillers’ three hits.

“I had a good outing after the first inning but a lot of things I still need to work on, but I worked hard to hold them scoreless for the next 5 innings,” Wilcox said.

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