East County Sports

Highlanders, Sultans can’t warm up

Brawley takes a cut against visting Santana on Friday. / IVPress photo

2019 EAST COUNTY PREP SOFTBALL

By Tyler Gribble

Special to EastCountySports.com

LA MESA – The Helix Highlanders and the Mt. Carmel Sundevils met for a non-league contest under the lights on Friday evening.

The Highlanders were coming off from a win at Santana on Wednesday, while the Sundevils had defeated the La Jolla Country Day Torreys on Thursday.

Mt. Carmel left town, however, with an 8-4 win over the Highlanders in a non-league contest.

The action began in the first, as with one out, Ally Troche reached via a fielder’s choice, and Ally Riches singled to follow.

Following a strikeout, a dropped ball in right field allowed Troche to score.

With two outs, Jonesa Hebreo drew a walk to load the bases, and Natalie Gonzalez followed with a walk of her own, scoring Riches and making the score 2-0.

The 2-0 score held until the fifth when Kylie Kates led off the inning with a walk, and Lauren Anderson successfully executed a sacrifice bunt to move her to second. Hebreo followed that with another walk and Gonzalez lined a single to center to drive in the third run of the game.

The Sundevils struck once more in the sixth, as Troche singled and later came around to score thanks to another defensive miscue.

Heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, with the Highlanders facing a 4-0 score, momentum swung hard as Erin Brown reached base via an error to lead off.

Nicole Hernandez followed with a single and Amber Young bunted a ball that was misplayed, allowing her to reach safely while also scoring Brown.

Sophia Ramuno lined a single into center, driving Helix’s second run home, and Zoe Kuhlken followed that with a ball chopped to short, allowing yet another run to score. Melissa Gutierrez, courtesy running for Ramuno, scored the tying run, sliding safely into home thanks to a passed ball.

In the top of the seventh, Gonzalez led off with a single.

The next batter popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt, with Hernandez catching the ball and firing to first to turn a double play. A strikeout followed, and the Highlanders grabbed their bats, ready to try for their second walk-off win of the week.

Avery Perez led off with a perfectly executed bunt single, and another misplay at second base allowed Brown to reach safely.

With runners on first and second, Hernandez laid down a successful sacrifice bunt, advancing both runners.

With one out, Young was the recipient of an intentional walk, loading the bases and setting up the force out at home.

Ramuno dug in and pulled a sharp ground ball to third, perfectly placed for the third baseman to snag, tag Perez, and tag the base for the inning-ending double play.

In the eighth, Mara Miranda led off for the Sundevils, and she chopped a grounder to short that was misplayed. Troche was then hit by a pitch, and Riches was then walked. Kates followed that with a single, breaking the tie. A walk to Henreo and a single by Gonzalez saw a couple more runs scoring, bringing the score to 8-4.

In the bottom of the eighth, Kuhlken and Kasey Castro both singled, but an outfield assist, strikeout, and groundout were all Mt. Carmel needed to close out the game.

Riley Barger got the pitching win, after coming in to relieve starting pitcher Miranda in the sixth inning.

The Highlanders managed eight hits on the day, as Perez, Hernandez, and Ramuno each hitting two apiece.

The Sundevils had five hits, with Gonzalez accounting for three. They also walked 10 times on the day – Riches and Gonzalez both with a pair each, and Hebreo with four.

After the loss, the Highlanders drop to 14-10 on the season and return to league play with a matchup against the Mount Miguel Matadors on May 1.

BRAWLEY 11, SANTANA 6: at the Imperial Valley, ever since dropping a 13-0 decision to Granite Hills in a battle of co-leaders in the Grossmont Hills League, the Sultans can’t seem to turn things around.

On Friday (Apr. 2), the host Wildcats, led by junior Lilliana Martinez, the new CIFSDS home run leader with 11, maintained their status as the top-rated ballclub in Division II by spanking Santana in warm conditions.

Brawley utilized a 5-run rally in the 4th inning to bust open a 4-3 contest into a romp.

Martinez did not homer but she did pitch the first five innings to gain the win after striking out eight batters. Martinez was supported by first baseman Brianna Hoffman, who registered three RBI.

Santana (10-7), which has lost three of four, received home runs from Emmalee Leggett and Natalie Simms.

-Nick Pellegrino contributed to this report

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