East County Sports

Farris homers to lift Foothillers’ hopes



East County Sports staff report

EL CAJON (4-24-2019) – If the Grossmont Foothillers are truly serious about gaining a CIF Open Division playoff berth, they must finish the post-Spring Break schedule strong.

Despite an overall record just two games above .500, the Foothillers’ strength of schedule still has them just outside the elite division playoff bubble.

No offense to the rest of the teams in Division I but Grossmont is the back-to-back champs of the division. If the Grossmont Hills League title gets out of reach, the Hillers can still reach an ultimate goal.

On Tuesday (Apr. 23), such a quest began in a positive fashion thanks to the Grossmont bench.

Pinch-hitter Zakary Farris belted a solo home run in the 6th inning, giving reliever Drew Shirvanian just enough wiggle room to cap a 4-inning outing, lifting the Hillers past visiting Westview, 4-3, at Gizoni Field.

Both Farris and Shirvanian are seniors, each hoping to make their final year with the Hillers memorable.

“We are really just starting to find who we are as a team and coming together to play the game,” Farris said. “Once we have all of our players at 100 percent again, and our bats start coming together, it should be a fun rest of the season for us.”

Shirvanian was called upon to stop the bleeding with Grossmont trailing 2-0. Although he hit the first Wolverines batter he faced, the closed the inning strong, then the Hillers rode the small wave of emotion to immediately tie the contest.

“I believe the team really needs to focus and push each other to get that fighting mentality,” Shirvanian said. “I know we want to win it all but the team has got to be capable of playing well.”

Hillers second baseman Brodie Romero opened with a line single to center field. He advanced to second on a ground out, then with two outs, Keoni Valdez singled home Romero to end the shutout bid.

Westview, which has suffered on the mound all season, then walked three straight batters as free passes to James Odom, Kaleb Tedokon and Brandon Smith (RBI) forced home the game-tying run.

An inning later, with the batting order turned over, the momentum continued, as Valdez followed a pair of walks with a single to load the bases. And when pinch-hitter Austin Wittmayer walked to force in another run, Grossmont held its first lead.

Westview totaled six walks, all leading to Grossmont runs. But the homer by Farris was enough to counter a lare Wolverines sacrifice fly in the seventh to give the victory to Shirvanian, who struck out five and yielded just three hits.

For Grossmont (13-11), Romero and Valdez each had two of the Hillers’ five hits; Farris had the other on the homer.

Westview (8-15) pitcher Brycen Mautz struck out eight Hillers in his four innings. Tommy Warren batted 2-for-3 with an early RBI double.

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