East County Sports

Foothillers get one back; Highlanders’ Oquita belts two


East County Sports staff report

EL CAJON (4-6-2019) – In danger of following out of the race for the pennant in the Grossmont Hills “Super” League, it was a must-win situation for Grossmont High.

Oh, they did something about it, but with a helpful handout.

Brian Smith belted a game-tying leadoff home run in the 5th inning, then a wild pitch allowed Zakary Farris to register the go-ahead marker, as the Foothillers nipped visiting Granite Hills, 3-2, to salvage the final contest in a 3-game series on Friday (Apr. 5).

Trailing 2-1, Smith took a 1-0 pitch out to the short porch in right field to get even.

“It felt great to get two hits today and to be able to help our team win,” Smith said. “My approach was to try and wait on the baseball and drive the ball to right field.

Our team needs to get on a roll and gain some momentum from this win.”

The handout came in the form of a two-out rally, as the Hillers were able to load the bases on an infield single by Farris, a walk to Keoni Valdez, then a line drive single to right by Danny Yanez.

However, the ball reached the defender so quickly that Farris was unable to test the arm of Clay Fordham, so he remained at third.

The base-running decision proved moot two pitches later when a ball in the dirt for a wild pitch allowed Farris to gallop home.

That was all that was needed for Hillers pitcher Jaden Wilcox, who allowed just one hit the rest of the way for a complete-game victory.

“It was a big win today getting us out of our two-game losing streak,” Wilcox said. “We needed it today.”

Wilcox finished with five strikeouts without issuing a walk, as both runs were unearned.

“Jaden has been great for us all year long and pitched great today,” Smith said.

Wilcox, a sophomore right-ranked, has an ERA this season is 1.78 in 31 1/3 innings.

“Brandon had a clutch hit today keeping us in the game and changing the momentum from their team to ours,” Wilcox said. “My best pitch today was probably my changeup up. It was working great today with good drop and I got a lot of hitters to roll over, K or pop up.”

Grossmont took the initial lead n the 2nd when Yazen tripled to right field, with James Odom following with a sacrifice fly to center.

Granite Hills immediately responded by grabbing its lone lead in the 3rd.
Ivan Garcia lined a one-out single to right.

Then with two out, T.K. Parker singled, Max Bodtke reached on an error to score Garcia (no RBI), while Parker came home on a second error on the same play.

For Grossmont (11-7 overall, 4-3 GHSL), Yanez and Smith each had two of the team’s seven hits, as they remain one game behind front-running Helix, the 3-time defending league titlist.

“Much needed win today,” Grossmont head coach Jordan Abruzzo said. “We have been in a funk. It all comes down to our offense. If we can start hitting we will be okay.”

Granite Hills (8-9) fell to 2-5 in GHSL play.

HELIX 9, SANTANA 1: At La Mesa, the host Highlanders complete a series sweep of the Sultans by progressively larger margin, winning by scores of 6-2, 8-2, and on Friday (Apr. 5) by a 9-1 margin.

Senior first baseman Carlos Oquita belted a pair of home runs, both coming in the 4th inning when the Scotties scored eight times to turn a 1-0 nail-0biter into a 9-0 romp.

Oquita opened the frame with a home run on the very first pitch. The next two batters made out, yet Helix was still able to score seven more times, capped by Oquita’s second blast of the outburst, a 3-run shot, also to left field.

“I’ve just felt really comfortable at the plate lately,” Oquita said. “I feel like I’m seeing the ball very well and I’m barreling balls where ever they are thrown.

“I saw a mix of fastballs and offspeed but I was locked in on my at-bat and took advantage of what was given to me and that was the result.”

The big inning also included consecutive RBI singles by Carlos Michel and Richardson, then a 2-run double by Eric Smelko, before Oquita again went yard.

Meanwhile, Scotties pitcher Alonzo Richardson yielded just a run on four hits over five innings, followed by two frames of 1-hit, shutout relief by Chris Paruleski.

The big inning might have prevented a shutout by Richardson. After sitting for at least 25 minutes, the first two Sultans batters of the 5th produced their lone run, as pinch hitter Blake Taylor stroked a lead double, coming home on a base hit by No. 9 hitter Davin Burroughs.

For Helix (11-6 overall, 6-1 GHSL), Oquita finished with four RBI. He also joined Michel and Smelko with two hits each.

“We have a lot of hard games ahead of us and we have to take it one game at a time,” Smelko said. “We want to be playing well in the end and I think we will get better as we get closer (to the end of the regular season).

“With the way Carlos Oquita is swinging the bat, I believe our chances have improved. We’ve had a lot of balls fall lately and we happen to be hot right now.

“All teams have peaks and valleys during a season and right now we are trending upward, hopefully, we can continue that trend and continue to win.”

Santana (7-10, 2-5 GHSL) saw leadoff batter Brandon Glowacki collect two more hits, raising his batting acerage to .485.

“We just aren’t able to string a good amount of hits together right now,” Glowacki said. “We will make a push, trust me.”

BASEBALL League Overall
Grossmont HillsW L TW L T
Granite Hills
6 1 0
4 3 0
2 5 0
2 5 0
11 6 0
11 7 0
7 10 0
8 9 0
Grossmont ValleyW L TW L T
Steele Canyon
El Capitan
West Hills 
Mount Miguel
Monte Vista
El Cajon Valley
4 1 0
3 1 0
3 1 0
3 3 0
2 4 0
2 2 0
0 5 0
9 6 0
11 4 0
6 9 0
4 12 0
4 11 0
10 8 0
2 9 1

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