East County Sports

Helix’s Caneday deals playoff no-hitter


East County Sports staff report

LA MESA (5-19-2019) – In the spot serving as the No. 3 or 4 starting pitcher for the Helix Highlanders, junior Thomas Caneday knows his number may be called at any moment.

“I’m happy to fill whatever role the coaches need me to play,” Caneday explained. “Whether it’s relief, closer, or starter, I’m up for it.”

In a week filled with outstanding pitcher performances by East County pitchers, including a pair of stretches featuring 6.2 innings of no-hit ball (one was a near-perfect game), Caneday was able to take the final step.

On Saturday (May 18), Canedy became the first GUHSD pitcher to throw a no-hitter during the postseason in 24 years, leading the Scotties to a CIF Open Division playoff victory over visiting La Costa Canyon, 3-0.

It’s the first playoff no-hitter locally since Monte Vista’s Anthony Bolden toppled Montgomery in the 1995 CIF Division II quarterfinals.

Caneday’s feat didn’t come in a lower division contest, but in the Open Division against the best offered in the San Diego Section.

“LCC is a top team so we really had to stay focused,” Caneday added. “Having a great defense also really helps. I was able to locate my pitches very well today.”

Caneday (71-) registered six strikeouts, with the lone Mavericks baserunners coming on  a pair of hit batsmen and a walk. Caneday is now tied for the East County lead in pitching victories with Jack Hyde (7-2) of Grossmont.

“I was able to keep them off-balance, especially my changeup,” he added. “I feel that we’re in good shape for next week.”

The victory vaulted Helix (20-12 overall) into the Final Four against unbeaten Poway. However, since the Scotties own the higher seed, they will host both potential contests in the double-elimination phase of the tournament.

The next ballgame is slated for Tuesday, with an “If necessary” playback final scheduled for Thursday.

The Highlanders scored twice in the second, then once more in the third to support Caneday, led by a 2-for-3 effort by right fielder Noah Lane.

Adam Martinez took the first pitch in the second deep to center field, then Lane bunted for a single on the first pitch he saw.

One out later, Justin Cervantes singled home Martinez. Then with two down, Alonzo Richardson doubled to right to plate Lane for a 2-0 advantage.

An inning later, Carlos Oquita grounded a base hit to left. He took second base on a passed ball, then scored on Lane’s second hit to build a 3-run cushion.

Meanwhile, the early wildness by Caneday with hit batsmen in the second and third may have kept LCC batters on their heels, as Caneday followed by retiring 12 consecutive batters until a leadoff walk in the seventh.

However, the no-hitter was preserved on a shallow fly ball and a pair of grounders, including the capper to second baseman Ayden Estrada, who threw to Oquita at first base to trigger the celebration.

For La Costa Canyon (17-15), pitcher Jack Maes tossed a complete game with five strikeouts without issuing a walk.

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