East County Sports

ROUNDUP: Not in Hillers’ house

2019 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

 

East County Sports staff report


EL CAJON (5-4-2019) – In a best-case example of a rivalry ballgame, there was no way the Grossmont Foothillers were going to allow arch-roval Helix to celebrate a championship om their home diamond, Gizoni Field.

On Friday (May 4), the Hillers mounted an early 4-0 lead, then held on for dear life yet accomplished the mission to a de-rail the Scotties’ party plans for another day in a 4-3 verdict in Grossmont Hills “Super” League action.


Helix, which is guaranteed at least a tie for the title, can claim an out-right crown with a win in Wednesday’s regular-season finale at Santana. Otherwise, Grossmont — which won 3-of-4 from Helix this season — can claim a share of the GHSL title with a win at Granite Hills.


Both are difficult assignments in the first – and perhaps only – year of the four-team circuit. Several coaches have indicated the “Super” League concept will revert to a previous format for 2020.


Grossmont sophomore pitcher Jaden Wilcox finished with seven strikeouts, yet couldn’t collect a complete game when he ran out of pitches just one batter away due to a one-out walk. Fortunately, fellow sophomore Evan Vasiliou garnered the save on an infield popout to shortstop Anthony Mata.


The Hillers’ early lead started with a two-out rally in the first. Danny Yanez lined a single to center, then Keoni Valdez followed with an RBI double to left.


An inning later, sophomore Justin Brown made it 3-0 on a 2-run homer. Kaleb Tedokon was hit by a pitch to lead off, then Brown followed with his shot to left field.


And in the third, Yanez and Valdez stroked one-out singles, with an error in the outfield allowing Yanez to take three bases to score.

“I thought we played good baseball this whole week,” Valdez said. “Helix is a tough team and we just played hard and kept battling. I’m not too worried about anything. I think if we keep playing hard and sticking to our plan as a team, we’ll be alright.”


The Highlanders answered in the fourth with their own two-out rally, loading the bases on a hit batter and a pair of base hits. Grossmont followed with back-to-back errors, allowing a pair of unearned runs.


In the sixth, Jack Sothras slugged an RBI double, but he was stranded when Wilcox followed with a strikeout and a ground out.

“It was a great game all around offense and defense,” Wilcox said. “I’m glad to see our team is coming around and everyone is contributing. I was just doing my part today by competing and my teammates gave me great run support.”


For Grossmont (15-12 overall, 6-5 GHL), Yanez batted 3-for-3 and scored twice and Valdez went 3-for-3 with two RBI. The only other Hillers hits were by Brown and Mata.

“Great team win,” Grossmont head coach Jordan Abruzzo said. “Jaden Wilcox pitched a heck of a game. Evan Vasiliou came in and shut the door. That’s a good sign for the future with two sophomores pitching like that.

“Helix has a great team and that’s why they are in first. It took our best effort to beat them. It was also senior day so it was a great way to send those guys out in their last home game at Gizoni Field.”


Helix (17-11, 7-4 GHL) saw Sothras collect two hits. The others were by Noah Lane, Adam Martinez and Alonzo Richardson.

“Today was a tough loss but I thought we hit balls hard we just couldn’t get them to land,” Sothras said. “What killed us today was our defense. We made a few critical errors that could’ve changed the outcome of the game. But we will be ready for Santana on Wednesday.”

 

Richardson, a senior, announced earlier on Friday that he has committed to play baseball at San Diego State.


SANTANA 10, GRANITE HILLS 8: The Sultans captured Friday’s (May 3) Grossmont Hills “Super” League contest with a pair of five-run frames.

Santana High senior Brandon Glowacki belted a three-run home run in the second to break a 2-all tie.

“We knew that the game was going to be difficult,” Glowacki said. “But we knew that if we threw strikes that we were going to have a good chance of winning.

“The main key today was being relaxed, which ultimately lead to the good results in the game.”

Glowacki finished with three hits and five RBI on the day.

Granite Hills delivers to Santana on Friday. / photo by Dave Dickens

Sean Iverson, also a senior, drove in a pair of runs to cap the Sultans’ five-run fourth to make it 10-4.

Grant MacArthur, had a pair of sacrifice fly outs for Granite Hills.

Ryan Fenn had two hits and scored a run for the Eagles.

“Santana hit well today,” Fenn said. “They came up with some key hits. We fought hard and we hung in there and we had an opportunity to win the game. We’ve got a big game on Wednesday (at home versus Grossmont) that we need to come prepared for.”

Granite’s Austin Smith had two hits and a walk, while scoring a run and driving in one.

“It wasn’t too good of a game,” Smith said. “We finally got energy the last two innings. We just started too late.”

Sean McGrew continued to look good since his return to the lineup, hitting a double and scoring a pair of runs.

“We should’ve kept the intensity throughout the game,” McGrew said.

The Sultans moved ahead of the Eagles and into third place with one game remaining.

 

FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN 11, MARANATHA CHRISTIAN 6: Foothills Christian scored five runs in the top of the eighth inning to win and set up a final two-game set against first-place Tri-City Christian for the Pacific League championship

Jalani Brown and Max Merlan hit home runs for the visiting Knights, who improved to 4-3, just one game behind TCC.

The teams will meet in a home-and-home set this Wednesday and Friday with the final game in Vista. The Knights will need a sweep to win the title.

Brown, a senior, had three hits and scored three runs, but it was his leadoff homer in the top of the eighth that gave the Knights a brief lead.

Brown also earned the game-winning RBI an inning later with a sacrifice fly for the first run of the five that came across in the ninth.

Merlan, who cracked a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, also earned the win with four innings of relief work.

Cade Cabral also had three hits for the nights.

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