East County Sports

Monarchs’ Vega makes most of first start to beat Knights



EastCountySports.com staff report

SPRING VALLEY – The Monte Vista Monarchs are serious challengers for the Grossmont Valley League title starting this week after they won for the sixth time in the last seven games on Monday and may have found an added boost to the starting rotation.

The host Monarchs pulled away with seven runs in the fifth inning, skating past the Foothills Christian Knights, 11-3, in Monday’s (Mar. 17) non-league ballgame.

The middle third of the Monte Vista batting order compiled a composite 5-for-10 with 5 RBI.

Leading the way was sophomore Andy Canedo (2-for-4) with 3 RBI, while senior Derrick Wiley (2-for-3) knocked in a pair.

The other hit came from cleanup hitter Abraham Sanchez, a junior, who also walked and scored twice.

Meanwhile, Monte Vista pitcher David Vega – making his first varsity start – allowed five hits over six innings. He only struck out two, instead coaxing a series of 13 ground-balls for outs.

“First start on varsity so I was kinda nervous but I knew I had a strong defense behind me,” Vega said “All i was trying to do was throw strikes and paint my corners.

“Also Jacob Savoy did a great job behind the plate calling the game and keeping me inside the strike zone. And lastly, Andrew Savoy and Ernie Arambula turning two double plays behind me were key.”

The 7-run inning featured four singles, an error, a pair of walks and a hit batter to score the runs. Included an RBI single by Ernie Arambula to score Jacob Savoy, then a 2-run single by Canedoto plate Aaron Zuniga and Sanchez for Monte Vista (2-9).

“We did a tremendous job on the base paths taking extra bases and putting pressure on them,” Neu said. “We played a solid game.”

Foothills Christian (2-9) saw leadoff batter Jalani Brown punch a double for the lone extra-base hit of the ballgame for either ballclub. The senior co-captain, who plays center fielder, later stole third base, then scored on a wild pitch in the 3rd inning.

“We were down a few runs and I knew we needed to get a runner on base so I drove the ball up the middle grabbed a few bags then my coach gave me a steal sign when I was at second with two down,” Brown said.

“It’s been rough playing these games especially being the only senior that’s played all four years but we’re striving to get better.”

Ramon Varela had two hits, as well, for Monte Vista.

Valhalla, the defending champs, and Steele Canyon may have been the early favorites in the Grossmont Hills League, but the Monarchs’ recent surge has them right in the conversation.

“Valhalla, Steele and El Cap are all great competition,” Neu said. “On to West Hills. They are always scrappy.  We need to be ready to play.

“We are ready for league play to begin. It’s going to be a fun league.”

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