East County Sports

Sultans win with Hart and Glo-stick



EastCountySports.com staff report

SANTEE (3-27-2019) – About a decade ago, many college football conferences were re-aligned, creating “super-conferences.” This happened especially in Southern California among the community colleges when schools like Grossmont, Saddleback, Fullerton and Mt. San Antonio Colleges were all placed in the same circuit.

And all of the coaches were all gung-ho for it — until they started playing each other. Suddenly, schools used to annually posting records of 7-3, 8-2 or better were now going 3-7, 2-8 or worse.

Soon, complaints soared and conference alignments were re-adjusted.

This season, the Grossmont Hills League in baseball has been reduced to just the four top clubs in the Grossmont Conference, with the other seven relegated to the Grossmont Valley League.

Coaches seem excited, even thrilled, by the new structure… but the question remains: how long will that last?

This season, Grossmont is one of the projected front-runners with a solid set of starting pitchers. Granite Hills also has some arms and a solid lineup, while Helix is known for its balance of Big D’s: depth, discipline and defense.

In other words, Santana was projected to finish in last place, according to the experts.

With that said, after concluding the first week of the GHL schedule, look who’s on top?

The Santana Sultans sit on top of the GHL standings, moving to 2-0 thanks to Tuesday’s (Mar. 26) 7-2 triumph over Grossmont in a battle of co-leaders.

A 3-2 nail-biter was decided in the sixth inning as Sultans erupted for four runs in their final at-bats.

Santana first baseman Brandon Glowacki led the offense with a pair of home runs, collecting three RBI and scoring three times, as the senior and cleanup hitter Ben Hart (3 RBI) were the focal point in each rally.

“We were excited (following the game) but we know that in order to win the Grossmont Hills League, we will need to keep grinding,” Glowacki said. “But it was a great team win.”

Meanwhile, Hart was equally impressive on the mound, firing a complete-game, finishing with eight strikeouts.

The Sultans were in control from the very first pitch.

After Hart retired the Foothillers in order, sophomore Tyler Glowacki lined a one-out single to center, then “big brother” went “big fly” with his initial blast clearing the barrier in left field for a 2-0 lead.

His second home went to center to lead off the third inning for a 3-0 cushion.

“I felt good at the plate, Brandon Glowacki said. “I was seeing the ball well today. Our whole team worked hard and prepared for this game with a good scouting report from our coaches. This is what ultimately helped with my success and the teams.

Hart now held more than he needed, allowing four hits all afternoon. He retired the first 14 batters he faced.

And when Hiller batter No. 15 reached on a dropped third strike (wild pitch), Hart quickly redeemed himself by picking off the pinch runner at first base.

“I’d say this was arguably my best performance of the year for sure,” said Hart. “I threw well against RBV earlier this year striking out 12 in five innings with a win but today definitely competes with that.

“I felt pretty good today on the mound, had a three pitch mix going with my fastball, curveball, and slider.”

In the 6th, Grossmont designated hitter Jaime Odom halted the no-hit bid with a lead single, with the Hillers score their first run. But Santana answered with four in the home-half of the frame.

Shortstop David Burroughs started the scoring with an RBI single. Hart then cleared the loaded bases with a double.

“Grossmont is a great hitting team so to hold them to no hits through five innings felt good for sure,” Hart said. “I got off to a slow start with the bat this year but the last few games I have felt better so I’m hoping to build on today’s performance.

“Great team win. Helps my job on the mound when we put up seven runs like that. Definitely feels good to be 2-0 in league.”

For Santana (7-5 overall, 2-0 GHL), the Glowacki brothers combined to bat 3-for-6 with three RBI and four runs scored.

Grossmont (8-5, 1-1 GVL) scored via an RBI single by Isaiah Gomez in the 6th, then a sacrifice fly by Kaleb Tedokon in the 7th. In addition, three pitchers yielded just six total hits.

“All the credit goes to Santana,” Grossmont head coach Jordan Abruzzo said. “They out-coached us and they outplayed us. We will get better.”

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