East County Sports

Foothillers feelin’ GMC Tournament championship

Grossmont following the GMC Tournament championship win on Saturday.


East County Sports staff report

EL CAJON (3-17-2019) – There was a feeling in the air, the feel of a championship ballgame.

No, it wasn’t a CIF playoff contest, but the upper-hand to such a title currently belongs to the Grossmont Foothillers. Although both ballclubs registered 10 hits, the Hillers’ hits were much more timely to thwart Cathedral Catholic, 9-2, to claim the GMC Tournament crown Saturday (Mar. 16) at Granite Hills.

The tournament is played in honor of William C. “Bill” Dickens, the longtime sports editor of The Daily Californian until the newspaper’s folding in 2000, then managing editor of the East County Sports website until his passing two summers ago.

Grossmont blanked Cathedral in pool play, 3-0, then again jumped to a quick start with a two-out rally in the 1st inning, when six consecutive batters reached base to mount a 4-0 advantage.

The Hillers pitching staff took over from there, capped by 5.1 innings of relief by winning pitcher Jaden Wilcox. The sophomore struck out six Dons and yielded just one run, pushing his record to 2-0 while lowering his ERA to 1.21

“It was a great game and we just went out there with that mindset that we would go out and get on them early,” Wilcox said. “And it felt really good after the tough loss to Eastlake on Thursday.”

A two-out walk to Brooke Romero didn’t worry most at the moment, but when the second baseman’s totals added up to 2-for-2 with a pair of walks, good for two runs and a pair of RBI, it jst shows how important any little mistake can become as the damage followed.

Cleanup hitter Keoni Valdez lined a single to center, sending Romero to third, with both scoring on an ensuing line double by Zakary Farris to deep center for a 2-0 advantage. Farris, the left fielder, finished batting 3-for-4 with three RBI.

“Today was a good win for us as a team and we all saw the ball well today,” Farris said. “Our defense made plays when they were there and we got out of some situations. It was nice to finally get a ball to land where someone isn’t playing when I was hitting today, and hopefully, the bats keep heating up for our team.”

The beat continued when the next three batters also produced two additional runs.

Kaleb Tedokon was hit by a pitch, with a wild pitch advancing both runners into scoring position. And, tes, they both would come home when Brandon Smith lined a 2-run single to right field.

The streak ended after Connor Ohton was also hit by a pitch, which only offered temporary relief for the Dons, which allowed finished yielding 9 runs forth third time this season (Poway and Rancho Bernardo).

Cathedral Catholic (4-6) also saw its record against Grossmont Conference schools fall to 3-4 this season.

In the 5th, Farris and Tedokon posted consecutive RBI singles, both with two outs. Then in the 6th, a two-out double by Romero plated Ohton and Giovanni Giganti (2-for-5, 2 runs).

“Jaden stepped up big today,” Grossmont head coach Jordan Abruzzo said. “He came in and threw a ton of strikes and did an outstanding job.

“We finally had some balls drop for us today. Farris and Smith got us going with a couple of big two-out hits in the first inning.”

For the Dons, Justin Campos batted 3-for-3 with a double.

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