East County Sports

Sultans find way to beat Norsemen

Valhalla's Kyle Casper singles on Saturday against Santana.

2019 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

East County Sports staff report

SANTEE (4-28-2019) – Santana and Valhalla high schools may be long-time East County rivals in baseball, yet not really. Whenever one ballclub gets promoted, it always seems to happen that the other gets relegated, thus, the schools have not been in the same league since 2010.

Even this season, the clubs are in different divisions in the CIF San Diego Section, so no postseason meeting can occur. However, Saturday’s (Apr. 27) non-league contest held major implications for both.

In a solid pitchers’ duel, it was minor mistakes which made the difference, as Santana tallied three unearned runs to nip the Norsemen, 3-1.

The decision was especially important for the Sultans, which entered the ballgame ranked 13th in Division II — only the top dozen schools advance to CIF play — attempting to catch Brawley, the lone winless club in Imperial Valley League play. Meanwhile, Valhalla sits comfortably in the Division III field, yet could lose the prestige of being the top-seed with the setback.

In the duel on the mound, it’s could be hard to determine who pitched better.

Santana starter Tyler Glowacki yielded just four hits over his six innings but allowed the game-tying run in the 6th inning.

“I felt as a team we picked each other up very well and worked together,” Glowacki said. “It was a great confidence booster but we still have to improve and get better as a whole.

Meanwhile, Valhalla starter JoJo Ingrassia, the Norsemen leader in pitching victories, allowed just one base hit in his 5-plus innings, but defensive lapses cost him as all three Sultans runs came unearned.

Indeed, it was another one of those Grossmont Conference classics when every pitch mattered,

Early on, both sides placed two runners on base in each of the first two innings but failed to score. Finally, in the 5th, Santana broke through as Brandon Glowacki stroked a one-out single, moving to third base on an error, then home on a passed ball.

“The key that got me the hit was being able to battle and to get to the next pitch which was a fastball,” Brandon Glowacki said. “It was a middle-in fastball.”

Valhalla immediately responded in the sixth, also the recipient of gifts. A walk and a hit batter opened the frame, then Ingrassia bunted both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice.

Ethan Dunnam then collected an RBI on an out, as Santana missed on a double-play opportunity to leave the game knotted at 1-all.

Santana re-claimed the lead on a hit batter a 2-1 lead. Another run jogged home on a bases-loaded walk to Aidan Donovan.

Sultans closer Ben Hart then fired a 1-2-3 frame for the save in the seventh, capped by a game-ending strikeout.

For Santana (11-11), the one-out single by Brandon Glowacki in the 5th was the club’s lone hit.

“I would say that (Ingrassia’s) ability to throw the curve for a strike was the best thing for him because he could throw it whenever he was behind in the count,” Brandon Glowacki said.

The Sultans will face Granite Hills in a three-game series next week before a season-ending contest at home against first-place Helix. Santana (3-5 Grossmont Hills League) is still mathematically alive in the pennant race.

“I feel we will prepare very well for the upcoming games and keep working hard at our craft,” Tyler Glowacki said.

Valhalla (17-7) saw its 3-game win streak snapped.

One Comment

  1. Adam Paul

    April 28, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    Ben Hart didn’t even pitch. On the Santana game changer which was done by Coach Ledezma it was Riley Hamilton that closed out the game for the Sultans.

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