East County Sports

First place Wolf Pack puts past behind

2019 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

By Nick Pellegrino
Special to East County Sports

SANTEE (3-21-2019) – The first day of the Grossmont Valley League baseball season was already unlikely, with Mount Miguel taking the early lead. But now, look which ballclub joined the Matadors in first place.

The West Hills Wolf Pack staved away a pair of late Monte Vista rallies to barely — really, barely, barely — claim a 5-4 decision Wednesday (Mar. 30) at Wolf Pack Park.

West Hills (2-9 overall, 1-0 GVL) now can completely ignore the school’s non-league results, ending an unsightly 9-game losing skid, victorious for the first time since opening day.

Sophomore pitcher Kyle Dobyns refused to allow a series of unearned run to bother him, able to end threat after threat by the Monarchs.

“It feels great! We’ve been waiting for a long time,” said Dobyns. “We fought through the mistakes and kept our energy going. We were in a rhythm and I knew my defenders would back me up.”

Dobyns came within two outs of a complete game, finally yielding to Christian Schmid, who garnered the save.

“It was time for me to come out, but we all have confidence in Christian,” added Dobyns. “We knew he could end it.”

Schmid’s first pitch went for a passed ball to allow Monte Vista to score, but he stranded the potential game-tying run with a ground out and a victory-clinching strikeout.

“The ballclub played the way they should have over the first 10 games,” said West Hills head coach Mickey Deutschman. “We worked all week on staying back on the ball and driving it — it panned out.”

The Wolf Pack talked about the team’s “energy level,” resulting in taking extra bases on balls to the outfield. Included was a leadoff, inside-the-park home run by Kole Klingerman in the 5th.

“He was able to just keep going,” noted Dobyns. “Not only did he turn a triple into an inside-the-park homer, but we also had guys turn doubles into triples, too.”

After Klingerman’s circumnavigation of the diamond, a two-out tally saw Kai Dennis, Devin Bevilacqua and Andrew Ritayik (RBI) stroke consecutive singles. The extra runs proved imported when Monte Vista responded with a run in the 6th, then two in the 7th.

An error in the 6th extended the inning, allowing Ramon Varela to lift a sacrifice fly to score Derrick Wiley (2-for-4), who started the rally with a lead single.

West Hills immediately got the run back when Cody Pedrero tripled in Connor Evans (lead walk).

The Monarchs, however, refused to roll over in the 7th.

A leadoff error and a single set-up Wiley’s RBI single to cap Dobyns day. But after the passed ball, Schmid closed the door.

“Monte Vista is a good team, so I just tried to throw strikes,” added Dobyns, who lowed his ERA to 1.94. “But we showed much more energy — sometimes, we were dead earlier — and we had that energy for the whole game, sowe  were able to capitalize on offense.”

The connection between Dobyns and Ritayik (2-for-3, 2 RBI), his catcher, was evident.

“Dobyns was in a rhythm all game,” added Deutschman. “And Andrew called a great game.”

“Now that we’ve won, I expect us to play like this the rest of the season.

For West Hills, Dennis and Bevilacqua each collected two of the Pack’s 10 hits.

Canedo and Abraham Sanchez each bat 2-for-4 among the 12 hits for the Monarchs.

“We did get some good hits today as a team but when there were men on base we didn’t execute as we should have,” Canedo said. “We were just unlucky early on in the game. But later in the game, we had the momentum, although we came up just a little short towards the end.

“We still played a great game as a team today.”

Of Monte Vista’s four runs, only one was earned.

“We had a tough loss but it was a good game and we tried to fight back but came up a little short,” Sanchez said. “We just came out or the losing side and all we can do now is practice hard tomorrow and be ready for Friday.

“Our coach always tells us we have six hours to think about the game and what you could’ve done better. But after that forget about it and start the next day fresh.

Monte Vista (7-5, 0-1 GVL) saw Cameron Schuler and David Vega each bat 2-for-4.

“West Hills made more plays than us,” Monte Vista head coach Craig Neu said.  “They played a solid ball game and got big hits when they needed to.

“They outplayed us and out coaches us.  I have to do a better job preparing my team.”

The teams conclude the two-game set in Spring Valley on Friday.

“The key to beat them is to stay within our approach,” Sanchez said. “And the most important thing is to do the little things right.”

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