East County Sports

Highlanders help Holland win No. 300



LA MESA – Time has a way of sneaking up on successful coaches.

Amid the day-in-and-day-out routine of life and mentoring young ballplayers in the afternoon, it can be hard to take the time to smell the grass, if you will.

One way of tells for coaches comes by the way of milestones and Helix High skipper Cole Holland achieved a significant one on Friday afternoon.

Holland, the Highlanders’ coach since 2002, recorded his 300th career victory as Helix edged Otay Ranch, 2-1, in the opening round the of the Lolita’s Tournament.

“I had an idea I was getting close but didn’t know it was today,” Holland said. “But its about the kids. I haven’t got a hit or a strikeout in any of my wins so it comes down to the kids they win games and coaches lose them.”

Jordon Thompson fired five full innings of 1-hit ball while also supplying the game-winning RBI to lift the Scotties.

“Thompson was really good on the mound,” Holland said. “We had alot of good ABs today hit the ball hard for 4 innings and got some big hits beat a really good pitcher today.”

Helix pitcher Thomas Caneday only allowed two hits and an unearned run in his two innings. Thompson registered 6 strikeouts.

The unearned run was countered when Helix got a freebie of its own to win the contest in the 5th inning.

Eric Smelko reached base on a two-out error, then stole second base.

Smelko raced home when Thompson lined a sharp single to center field.

“The day belonged to Jordan Thompson,” Smelko said. “He went out there and pitched his heart out. When he stepped on the rubber he was locked in and ready.

“Octavo Corona is a great pitcher and did a great job keeping us off balance.”

Smelko can appreciated the amount of time a coach puts in. His dad, Mark, was a long-time successful head coach at Monte Vista.

“That’s a huge accomplishment for him,” Smelko said of Holland’s 300th win. “He’s a great coach and he deserves every win. He always puts us in a place to succeed. He cares about us like we are his own children. As a player, I am grateful to have him as a head coach.

“I’m happy to be a part of his 300th win. I think as a team we are looking forward to winning him a 4th consecutive league championship. It will be tough but he’s prepared us and we are ready to go.”

Otay Ranch (3-6-1) scored in the 2nd in similar fashion.

Corona reached on an error, moving station-to-station around the diamond on a single and a pair of ground balls to the right side, capped by an RBI by Damian Tarin.

Helix (5-5) got even an inning later, set up on consecutive one-out singles by Alonzo Richardson and Smelko. Thompson followed with a sacrifice fly to center field.

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