East County Sports

LIONS: Norsemen win 9th-straight extra-inning game

A Chula Vista slides into third against West Hills on Wednesday. / photo by Melissa Honick

2019 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

69TH LIONS TOURNAMENT

East County Sports staff report

RANCHO SAN DIEGO (4-18-2019) – Simply call them Masters of Overtime.

The Valhalla Norsemen pushed their record to a remarkable 5-0 in extra innings this season, including a dramatic 2-1 triumph over visiting Mission Hills in Wednesday’s (Apr. 17)  final pool-play round of the 69th edition of the Lions Tournament.

The Norsemen have now captured nine straight games in extra innings. Last season, they took four extended-game victories, including three consecutive, meaning you need to go back to March 2017 to find the school’s last loss in extra innings.

The decision left both ballclubs, along with Ramona, all with 2-1 records in pool play. However, a miscalculation will leave the Norsemen out of the 3A Division semifinals.

Tie-breaking criteria vary depending on the event. If runs scored was the difference maker, Ramona would advance. If fewest runs allowed was the rule, Valhalla would be playing.

However, Lions officials go with run margin, which meant Valhalla needed to win by more than one run. Thus, they needed to win via a multiple run homer to advance.

Instead, singled by Aaron Lopez, Ryan Perot and JoJo Ingrassia (RBI) produced the deciding margin.

Norsemen pitcher Riley O’Sullivan tossed six solid innings, yet left with another no-decision — an amazing sixth in nine starts. He struck out six batters in as many innings.

Reliever Andy Boyd garnered the victory after tossing three shutout innings on two hits.

Mission Hills (7-14) took a 1-0 lead in the third when designated hitter Dylan Delvecchio singled in Cameron Woolsey.

An inning later, Valhalla pulled even when Luke Clark hustled down the line to avoid a double play on his grounder, allowing Ethan Dunnam to score from third base.

A Chula Vista player slides safely into second base on Wednesday against West Hills. / MelissaHonickPhotography.com

CHULA VISTA 12, WEST HILLS 1: At western Santee, the stars were all aligned for the Wolf Pack, but it didn’t seem to matter.

The Spartans, already missing three of their top four pitchers, used hurlers No. 3 and 5 in the first two rounds of the Lions Tournament, So on the mound Wednesday (Apr. 17) has a freshman who stands, maybe, 5-foot-2.

And the kid pitched the game of his young life.

Pedro Fred allowed just four hits and a run through his six innings, winning the battle between the two remaining unbeaten teams in the pool to gain a berth in Thursday’s Lions semifinals.

For West Hills, despite a 5-game winning streak, should’ve stayed in bed.

For example, the Pack coaxed Chula Vista’s Antonio Garcia to pop up for an “automatic” out on the infield fly rule. However, the infield lost the ball in the sun and it bounced foul. Next pitch, Garcia slams a 2-run triple to deep left-center field, then he scored when a fly ball to the outfield fell, again lost in the glare.

A Chula Vista runner is safe at home against West Hills on Wednesday. / MelissaHonickPhotography.com

Down 12-0, the Pack scored in the 4th when center fielder Kole Klingerman lined a lead single.

Klingerman advanced on a wild pitch, a ground out and an RBI ground out by third baseman Kai Dennis.

For West Hills (8-13), catcher-third baseman Andrew Ritayik entered to pitch, closing the contest with 3.2 innings of shutout ball.

The junior allowed just three hits and struck out four Spartans.

Chula Vista (8-14) is coached by Jim Westlund, a former player for the San Diego Stars owner/ manager and West Hills skipper Mickey Deutschman.

RANCHO BUENA VISTA 4, EL CAPITAN 0: At southwestern Vista, Longhorns pitcher Reed Coffin fired a 3-hit shutout to bury the Vaqueros in pool-play action at the Lions Tournament.

Coffin struck out seven in handing the Vaqueros a fifth straight setback. RBV moved to 7-14.

El Capitan (6-15) received hits from Jake Bergherm, Austin Barker and Jake Pfitzner. In addition, Vaqueros reliever Kevin Allison struck out seven batters over four innings.

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