East County Sports

ROUNDUP: Thompson homers for walk-off win in eighth


East County Sports staff report

LA MESA (3-27-2019) – Rewards can be found in different forms.

For Helix High pitcher Jordan Thompson, a solid effort on the mound went unrewarded, vacating the hill with a no-decision in a 1-1 ballgame. So Thompson found rewards elsewhere.

Now playing at shortstop following six solid innings as the pitcher, the LSU-bound Thompson delivered with a walk-off, 2-run homer in the 8th inning, powering the Highlanders to a 3-1 triumph over visiting Granite Hills in Tuesday’s (Mar. 25) dramatic Grossmont Hills League ballgame.

Following a one-out ground single by Eric Smelko to chase Eagles starting pitcher Noa Ponciano, Thompson stepped up against the bullpen and took three balls. He fouled off the next two offerings, then teed-off on the sixth pitch, drilling the ball over the fence in left-center field for the game-winner.

“Throughout theat-bat coach (Cole) Holland really stressed being relaxed at the plate and that played a big part in my mindset during the at bat,” Thompson said. “Took some tough pitches to get into a 3-2 count. Saw a hanging curveball and tried to put a good swing on it. And luckily it went over the fence. This was a huge team win especially against a team like granite.”

Thompson may be unlucky to gain a no-decision, but it was much worse for Ponciano, who moved to within one out of a complete-game shutout. But Helix clawed back to force extra innings.

“Our pitching staff has been outstanding this year and we will only get better,” Ponciano said. “Playing on our home turf is something that we love to do because our supporters have been doing a great job this year cheering us on. We want to get back on a winning track, and it will happen soon when we start to hit more.”

The Scotties has two chances to score.

Following a lead double by Alonzo Richardson, Carlos Oquita grounded the ball to the left side. However, Hillers shortstop T.K. Parker took the ball and fired to third baseman Cayden Clinger to take out the lead runner on the fielder’s choice.

Erick Rodriguez followed with a single, then with two out, Justin Cervantes stroked an RBI double to center with the potential winning run being held up at third base.

“My whole thought process was to just stay loose and calm having already faced the guy twice and executing on the first good pitch I saw to keep the inning going,” Cervantes said. “He gave me a waist high fastball middle-in that I was able to drive up the middle to get the tying run in which was a huge momentum boost for the team, but if it weren’t for the guys before me finding a way on base we wouldn’t have had that opportunity to keep the ball rolling into the following inning to end the game.”

Granite Hills’ run came in the 5th following a solid pitchers’ duel for four frames.

Brian Smith lined a lead single to right, moving to second base on a wild pitch then to third on a sacrifice bunt by Dillon Goins. Jacob Hennessey followed with a sacrifice fly to open the scoring.

For Helix (6-6 overall, 1-1 GHL), Smelko and Martinez finished with two hits each.

“You have to give a lot of credit to Granite’s pitcher,” Smelko said. “He did a great job of keeping us off balance.

“Justin Cervantes and Jordan Thompson had major hits today. We lacked those hits in our losses this year. Jordan Thompson did a great job on the mound today. He hit his spots and pitched to contact.”

Granite Hills (6-6, 0-2 GHL)  saw five players collect hits, including No. 9 hitter Austin Smith, who also stole a base.

The series concludes with games on Thursday and Friday.

“The game on Thursday is going to be another tough one and we really have to compete,” Smelko said.

SCRIPPS RANCH 7, CHRISTIAN 0: At Mitchell Field, a quartet of pitchers — yup, four of them — from the first-place Falcons combined on a 3-hit shutout of the host Patriots in Tuesday’s (Mar. 26) Western League contest.

Starting pitcher Carter Foss allowed two hits in his four innings of work to collect the victory, then a trio of relievers yielded just a single hit to close it out.

Foss and first baseman Will Van Duren also collected two for the 12 hits by Scripps Ranch (8-5 overall, 3-0 WL).

For Christian (5-9, 0-3 WL), second baseman Fisher Ransom collected a pair of base hits, while leadoff batter Peyton Berroth, the shortstop, had the other hit plus a walk.

OLYMPIAN 8, FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN 4: At Chula Vista, the host Eagles ran their record to 4-0 against East County schools this season, including Tuesday’s (Mar. 26) non-league decision over the Knights. Olympian already owns wins over Monte Vista, West Hills and Patrick Henry.

However, except for the 1-run loss by West Hills, this was the closest among the other three contests.

Tyler Kennedy lined a 2-run single in the 5th inning, capping a 3-run rally to knot the contest at 4-all. However, the Eagles countered with four runs in the home-half of the fame to finally put away the pesky Knights. The go-ahead run came on a safety squeeze bunt by Aryan Jaff.

Foothills Christian (3-11) saw Corbin Harris bat 3-for-4, with ensuing batters Kip Famolaro and Kennedy each driving in a pair of runs.

“I was feeling pretty good today,” Harris said. “Had some plays that should’ve been made. Brenden had a great outing. Tyler came in. And did great too. As a team we are getting better every day. We’ll find our sweet spot soon, and I was trying to hype up the team even more.

Yeah, it’s been pretty frustrating. Not off to a good start like last year. Our upper class men have been doing pretty good this season. But I think, Seth, Kip, Tyler, Cameron, and Elijah These guys have been going above and beyond this season. They’ve been playing in spots they’re not used to. They’ve been taking everything seriously.

Jeff, the third baseman, and shortstop Andres Contreras each had two RBI for Olympian (6-3).

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