East County Sports

Cougars put sneak attack on Bobcats





East County Sports staff report

RANCHO SAN DIEGO (4-18-2019) – Red-hot Steele Canyon High rolled into the Premier Division championship round in the 69th edition of the Lions Tournament by pasting one of the top ballclubs in the CIF San Diego Section.

Buoyed by an early grand slam by CIFSDS home run leader Billy Tellous, the Cougars swamped No. 4 Sage Creek, 11-5, on Wednesday (Apr. 17). However, the contest wasn’t that close, as three homers by the Cougars mounted an 11-0 cushion, handing the Bobcats — the top-ranked squad in Division II — only their third setback of the season.

Steele Canyon (14-6) will meet host Thousand Oaks in Thursday’s 9:30 a.m. ballgame, followed by the second semifinal between Otay Ranch and Mission Hills at 12:30 p.m. The Premier final follows at 3:30 p.m.

While local clubs such as Grossmont Valley League rival Valhalla climb in the local media rankings, the Cougars wonder what they need to do to get noticed. The ballclub has captured 11 of their last 12 contests, and they only trail the No. 7 Norsemen by a half-game because they need to make up a rainout with El Cajon Valley.

The Cougars failed to receive even one vote in the most recent county canvas of area prep baseball observers.

Thus, to gain a berth in the Lions finale, there were plenty of arms and sticks to go around.

Along with Tellous’ bomb, Sebastian Granados and Richard Pedrin also smacked home runs for Steele Canyon.

Meanwhile, Cougars pitcher Jack Schlotman carried a shutout into the sixth, collecting four strikeouts to gain his second straight victory.

“Billy and I tend to have pre-at-bat conversations along the lines of ‘my next at-bat I’m getting you run-support’ or ‘Billy, now would be a good time to do your thing.'”

“He’s such a clutch, consistent hitter, really fun to watch.

“My go-to set up was fastball either inside or outside then hard slider. (I) was pretty stoked on this start and the whole team was ready to make a point against these top teams. Time to prove people that 2019 Steele Canyon baseball is a top contender.”

Five runs in both the 3rd and 5th innings mounted an 11-0 cushion.

Following a series of base hits by Eli Page, Aaron Taylor and Pedrin to open the third, Tellous cleared the loaded bases with a drive to left field to open the scoring, just over the glove of the lunging left fielder.

For Tellous, it was his 8th homer of the season, breaking his tie for the CIF San Diego Section lead with Carlsbad junior Thomas Saggese.

“Got lucky on this one today because he threw me low and away stuck my (butt) out and almost got the thing robbed,” Tellous said. “I did tell him though that I would get him some runs before I went up to bat.”

Granados posted a solo shot for a 7-0 lead in the 5th, then Pedrin added a 3-run bombin  the 5th.

“Right now I’m seeing the ball really well,” said Pedrin, who has gone 14-for-28 over the last 10 games. “I really feel good about my swing. The team has started to finally put things together on all sides of the ball.”

The Cougars’ Jake Entrikin had a hit and scored, as well.

“Bubs (Pedrin), Aaron, Entriken, everyone is starting to find the groove,” Tellous said.

Steele Canyon (14-6) saw Taylor lead the ballclub with three hits.

Sage Creek (19-3) managed just six singles, including two each by Nick Naccarato and Scott Anderson (2 RBI).

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