East County Sports

Highlanders, Eagles down a game

Helix pitcher Thomas Caneday delivers on Thursday. / photo by Dave Dickens



East County Sports staff report
LA MESA  – La Costa Canyon Mavericks pitcher Ross Goldschlag employed a strategy never endorsed in Major League Baseball, yet it worked in a high school playoff game on Wednesday.
The senior registered the final eight outs on fly balls, surviving three unearned runs to nip the host Highlanders in Wednesday’s (May 15) CIFSDS Open Division first-round contest.

Goldschlag only struck out four Scotties, yet whenever someone with pop came to the plate, the right-handed worked the upper portion of the strike zone, darning the batters to swing for the fences.

So Helix flipped the strategy and nearly turned the game in the 6th inning.

Helix cleanup hitter Carlos Oquita and No. 5 batter Adam Martinez each powered hard grounders through the infield for consecutive leadoff singles.

La Costa Canyon then did something unorthodox, sending in a substitute to take over behind the plate after Noah Lane took the first pitch for a ball. Whatever the reason for the move, two pitches later, a passed ball advances Ortiz to third, then scoring on a sacrifice fly by Lane.

Two batters later, pinch-runner Justin Cervantes came home on a two-out grounder that was booted.

However, Goldschlag overcame his club’s defensive lapses by retiring the next four batters on balls in the air, advancing La Costa Canyon (16-13) to the winner’s bracket semifinals against Poway.

“You just can’t walk four and hit three in the first four innings,” Helix head coach Cole Holland said. “Way too many free passes to win this time of year. But this team has shown a lot of resilience this year. We will be ready to go on Friday.

The only other hit by the Scotties was a first-inning single by Eric Smelko.

“We have played many tough teams these last two weeks and not all of the outcomes weren’t the way we wanted,” Smelko said.
“But we have a lot of fight left in us and we don’t want our season to end. We kept hitting the ball right at them. We battled back in the 6th and showed a lot of heart.

Helix (18-13), the second seeds, heads for the challenger’s bracket, hosting sixth-seeded Scripps Ranch on Friday.

“The ideal situation in the Open Division is to win every game and make it to the championship but our road is a little tougher now,” Smelko said. “All eight teams are legit and we can see that by the scores in the other games. Friday is going to be another tough game but I have full confidence in our team to come back through the losers bracket and make it to the championship.”

For the Mavs, Spencer Jones, a 6-foot-6 senior first baseman batting leadoff, went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.
KEARNY MESA – At Hickman Field, both ballclubs committed a decisive error in the 5th inning. Fortunately for the host Saints, the miscue only cost them one run while the Eagles’ mistake cost them two runs, the difference in Wednesday’s (May 15) CIF Division I first-round contest.

In a classic pitchers’ duel between the Eagles’ Austin Smith and the Saints’ Giancarlo Cortez, both tossed complete games, both struck out five batters, while Austin allowed one fewer hit — but only because he didn’t need to pitch in the seventh when a budding rally was cut short on a game-ending double play by the St. Augustine defense.

The pivotal fifth inning learned toward Granite Hills when Max Bodtke opened with the ballgame’s lone extra-base hit, drilling the ball to right field.

Smith took a page from the powerful Granite Hills softball team by grounding a roller to the right side of the infield, advancing Bodtke to third base.
“Our hitting wasn’t there today,” Bodtke said. “And when it was in a couple of the innings, we didn’t capitalize on it and that costs us the game.

“In my at-bats, I felt pretty good. I came into the game feeling pretty confident about my swing and I jumped on the fastball on both at-bats and just tried to get on base for our team to score. Rough game but I’m still confident we’re gonna come out on top in the end.”

Then with two outs, a ground ball off the bat of Ryan Fenn was booted, giving the Eagles the only run on the afternoon. However, they would return the favor.

St. Augustine saw leadoff batter Charlie Rhee reach on a one-out error, taking two bases.

Angelo Peraza, who batted 2-for-3, followed with a single, as the Saints third-base coach gambled and sent Rhee home. He beat the throw to tie the game.
With two outs, Peraza went to second base on defensive indifference, then stole third base, so the Eagles walked the next batter. However, the strategy back-fired when Peraza scored on a wild pitch.

The Eagles had one last chance on Bodtke ‘s second hit to lead off, moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Smith.

However, Saints second baseman Luke Mansy turned a double play to end it. The sophomore also contributed a pair of base hits.

Granite Hills (14-14) moves into the challenger’s bracket, hosting La Jolla Country Day on Friday.

St. Augustine (18-12-1) will advance in the winner’s bracket against Grossmont, also on Friday.

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