East County Sports

ROUNDUP: Cougars only sweep of East doubleheaders


East County Sports staff report

CHULA VITSA (3-17-2019) – Almost every ballclub faces a turning point. The Steele Canyon High Cougars softball team hopes they found theirs.

J.J. Venzor smacked a walk-off, RBI double in the bottom of the 7th inning, as the Cougars swept a pair of contests during Saturday’s (Mar. 16) round of the Hilltop Tournament. Venzor’s hit nipped Clairemont, 2-1, after her side also defeated tournament-pool host Olympian, 6-4.

Venzor finished with four RBI — two in each ballgame — with the victories propelling the Cougars (5-4) over the .500 plateau for the first time since opening day.

Venzer, who tops the lineup card, twice delivered like a cleanup hitter after the bottom of the order set the table, registering both RBI for the Cougars.

Danielle Directo (2-for-3) led off with a nice bunt single to the right side, with the ball rolling off the line just enough so the Chieftains first baseman could not reach for the tag after fielding the ball.

Cougars No. 9 batter Mariah Mata followed with a sacrifice bunt, but to the left side. then Venzor lined a 1-2 pitch to center to plate Venzor to complete the walk-off.

The game-deciding run mirrored an early run by Clairemont. No. 9 hitter Leila Liseski singled, later scoring on an RBI double by shortstop Isabella Jameson in the 3rd.

Steele Canyon answered in the 5th, the rally’s foundation again established by the bottom half of the batting order.

Carlie Williams, Directo and Mariah Mata posted consecutive leadoff singles to load the bases with no one out.  Venzor then intentionally grounded the ball toward the second baseman, as Williams raced home with the game-tying run.

Meanwhile, Cougars pitcher Grace Richter finished with a complete-game 5-hitter. She struck out four batters from Clairemont (3-5). In addition, the Cougars’ Amanda Whipple added two hits.

STEELE CANYON 6, OLYMPIAN 4: At Olympian, the host Eagles overcame a 3-0 deficit to pull even, so the Cougars added three more to take the morning game at the Hilltop Tournament.

Venzor, the shortstop, started her memorable day with a home run and a double in a 3-for-4 performance with two RBI and two runs scored. In addition, Bianca Morales and Whipple registered two hits each.

Richter’s long day in the circle started by allowing 10 hits, but she really only had one bad inning when the Eagles rallied. She struck out five Eagles batters.

Morales singled and scored on an error in the 2nd. A frame later, Venzor went deep with a 2-run blast for a 3-0 lead.

After Olympian pulled even, the Cougars regained control in the 6th with nearly every member on the lineup card contributing.

Whipple led with a single, Maggie Carpenter walked, then Tayler Thomas placed a sacrifice bunt.

Lexi Hutchinson pushed the ball to second base for the go-ahead run as Whipple scored, then No. 9 hitter DJ Dumeng stroked an RBI single to plate Carpenter for a 5-3 advantage.

An inning later, it was more leadoff hits for the Cougars, as Venzor doubled. She took third base on a deep fly ball by Audrey Bagge, then scored when Morales grounded a hard base hit to center field.

For Olympian, third baseman Katie Steinmetz batted 3-for-4 with 2 RBI and a run scored.

EL CAPITAN 11, OTAY RANCH 1; UNIVERSITY CITY 3, EL CAPITAN 2: The Vaqueros came within inches of a sweep Saturday (Mar. 16) after almost gaining an upset of the Centurions after first crunching the Cougars.

In Game 1, the Vaqueros racked an 8-ball in the 3rd inning, as Katy Hicks and Kiki Angeles cranked triples, while Katie Collier and Brandy Taylor spanked doubles.

El Capitan pitcher Alexa Williams spun a 5-hitter for the triumph.
Game 2 was a nail-biter that was decided in the 6th, when the Cents scored once for a 3-1 lead, then limited El Cap to just a single run to maintain a slight advantage.

UC pitcher Ashley Legler out-lasted a trio of Vaqueros in the circle, tossing a 4-hitter with 8 strikeouts.

In the 6th, El Capitan pinch hitter Hailey Mulligan doubled, scoring on an RBI single by Brooklynn Fukashima before Legler shut them down.

WEST HILLS 3, VISTA 2; SCRIPPS RANCH 9, WEST HILLS 0: At Hilltop, the Wolf Pack salvaged a split of a pair of Hilltop Tournament contests, barely edging past the Panthers after getting spanked by their traditional playoff rival Falcons.

The Pack offense started quickly to mount a 3-0 cushion through two innings, but the bats went back to bed afterward, ignoring the snooze alarm.

Shannon Kim opened with a lead single. She circumnavigated the diamond on a sacrifice bunt by Dakotta Mershon, an intentional ground ball to the right side by Sabrina Brown, then a key, two-out line single to left field by cleanup batter Star Gaylord.

An inning later, Emma Bentley and Ta’lour Graham registered consecutive one-out singles. Calllia Rooks, the courtesy runner for Bentley, stole third, with an error allowing her to score. Moments later, Mia Colabella grounded out for an RBI and a 3-run lead.

Vista answered with unearned runs in the 5th and 7th. However, Bentley, the West Hills pitcher, barely escaped by stranding the tying run on base on a line drive catch by Brown at third base.

Against Scripps Ranch, Falcons pitchers Elaine Swecker and Ashley Tong combined on a 4-hit shutout of the Pack. The pair were backed by a 2-run homer by Alyssa Vilke (2-for-4).

Vilke, Sarah Nakahara and Miranda Murphy all registered two hits.
Scripps Ranch (8-2) also run-ruled SD-Southwest, 11-3. West Hills ended the day at 4-3 overall.

POINT LOMA 10, VALHALLA 9 (9 inn.); HILLTOP 14, VALHALLA 6: At Hilltop, the long day for the Norsemen saw a wild International Tiebreaker, as the Pointers scored four times before Valhalla answered with just three in a barrow defeat. The second-game gap wasn’t as narrow in a setback to the Lancers.

In the opener, outfielder Kelly Olson ripped a 2-run homer, while second baseman Yanely Gonzalez slugged a triple and a double, as both batted 3-for-4.

Olson hit a leadoff shot to left, tying the game at 5-all in the 3rd. Later in the frame, Gonzalez triples, scoring the go-ahead run on the first od two RBI ground outs by Bailey Munch. However, Point Loma re-tied the contest in the 6th before winning under the ITB.

Against Hilltop, the Lancers pounded out 18 hits in less than six at-bats before the run rule was invoked.

Hilltop should consider moving leadoff batter Elizabeth Olguin to the middle of the order. The POS  belted a pair of home runs, finishing by batting 4-for-4 with four RBI and four runs scored before coming out, but then late-inning sub Alexis “Nico” Rios also earned a base hit.

Meanwhile, Vanessa De La Luz also went deep with a 2-run homer in the 5th. She went 2-for-5 with three RBI.

The Norsemen received triples from Marissa Lupo (3-for-4, 4 RBI), Kelly Olson, and Delaney Stettler. Olson, Stettler and Samantha Green all went 2-for-4.

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