East County Sports

Lions Open: Scotties latest east team to beat Dons


East County Sports staff report

LA MESA (4-17-2019) – Helix High can finally add its name to a long list of East County baseball programs to defeat Cathedral Catholic this season.

The Highlanders avenged an early March setback by outlasting the Dons, 3-2 in 11 innings, in Tuesday’s (Apr. 16) Lions Tournament pool-play thriller.

Helix cleanup hitter Carlos Oquita singled home Jordon Thompson with tw0 outs to finally decide a near 3-hour marathon. Helix is 2-0 in the Open Division of the tourney.

Unlike many of his teammates, Thompson swung at the first pitch and lined a base hit to right field. A passed ball moved him to second base, then Oquita lined a base hit to center field, with Thompson racing around third base for the game-winning run.

“I’m just going out there trying to have fun and compete,” Oquita said. “I think what is driving me is my teammates, I know that if I do good it’s going to benefit the team. I’m just trying to do anything that I can to help the team win.”

Helix can advance to the championship round if they win Wednesday’s pool-play finale at La Costa Canyon in Carlsbad. First pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m.

Cathedral Catholic, the co-leaders in the Western League with Scripps Ranch, tallied single runs in the 1st and 3rd for as 2-0 lead. But Helix answered with markers in the 5th and 6th to extend the ballgame.

In the 5th, Dons pitcher Thomas Carter lost his shutout bid by walking the bases loaded, as No. 9 batter Ayden Estrada took a free pass, followed by base-on-balls to Alonzo Richardson and Thompson.

Then with two outs, Noah Lane grounded a hard, RBI single through the left side of the infield.

An inning later, an error allowed Scotties leadoff batter Adam Martinez to reach. Later, again with two outs, Eric Smelko’s base hit would tie the contest.

Helix had a chance to win in the 7th after a two-out double by Martinez, but he was stranded and the game rolled on for another hour before Oquito’s game-winner.

For the Highlanders (13-8), Noah Lane pitched all four extra innings, allowing just one hit to collect the victory.

Cathedral Catholic (10-10) RBI by Zavien Watson; the other run came on an error.

CARLSBAD 1, GROSSMONT 0: At Carlsbad, another pitcher’s duel was decided in the bottom of the 7th in walk-off fashion on consecutive leadoff doubles by Jackson Garrett and Trent Lopez. Both are seniors for the Lancers (10-10).

Carlsbad junior pitcher Max Gibson spun a 1-hit shutout with four strikeouts. The lone hit was a single by James Odom with one out in the 5th, but the pinch runner was erased when the Lancers converted a double play.

Grossmont (11-11), which fell to 0-2 in the Open Division of the Lions Tournament, saw pitcher Jaden Wilcox carry a 3-hit shutout through six innings, striking out 8 batters.

“Jaden Wilcox did a great job today and gave us a chance to win,” Grossmont head coach Jordan Abruzzo said. “We just can’t seem to get the big hit. Our kids are trying hard.”

OAKS CHRISTIAN (Westlake Village) 4, GRANITE HILLS 2:  At Granite Hills, both clubs pitched 4-hitters, but the visiting Lions pushed across single runs in the 6th and 7th frames to snap a 2-2 tie and send the Eagles to their first loss in the Lions Tournament Open Division.

Cleanup batter Charlie Adamson stroke a two-out, RBI double for the go-ahead run.  An inning later, No. 9 hitter Gianni Horvat did the same.

Both sides scored twice in the 5th.

Granite Hills (10-10) rallied to get even on consecutive run-scoring singles by pinch-hitter Jackson Early and leadoff hitter Ryan Fenn, but the Lions (14-11) halted the damage with an inning-ending double play.

“We left a couple of baserunners in scoring position which hurt us but we will come ready to win next game,” Fenn said. “(We need to) hit better and keep (up) a good defense.”

Noa Ponciano pitched 6 2/3 innings for Granite Hills.

“I pitched good for my team but I could have also done better with my command on my fastball,” Ponciano said. “I was missing my location a few times but when I didn’t, my mechanics felt good. Our team will get back on track with hitting soon.”

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