East County Sports

ROUNDUP: Eagles’ Ponciano in control

Noa Ponciano delivers a pitch on Saturday. / Dan Barnes Photography

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

EL CAJON – In a pair of standout pitching performances, Granite Hills senior Noa Ponciano out-dueled Lucas Marrujo of Bonita Vista, leading the host Eagles in a 3-0 shutout of the Barons in Sweetwater Tournament action Saturday (Mar. 27) morning.

Ponciano limited Bonita Vista to just four base hits, with only one hard-hit ball off a right-hander – a double by Adiel Torres.

“Ponce controlled the game,” Granite Hills head coach James Davis said.

Conversely, Marrujo also limited unbeaten Granite Hills (2-0) to four hits over his five innings of work, but the Eagles made the most of them.  They tallied twice on a 2-run homer by Spencer Davis in the second inning, then added an insurance run against the Barons bullpen in the sixth.

“(Spencer Davis) really stayed back on it and hammered it,” James Davis said.

Marrujo set the Eagles down in order in the first, but the hosts quickly bounded back an inning later.

Grant Mac Arthur slugged a leadoff double to center field. Davis followed by measuring a fastball by fouling it off, then laced the next offering – a curveball – over the right-field barrier to open the scoring.

“I got a fastball that was in and I was able to turn on it pretty nicely,” Spencer Davis said. “Home run aside, our defense definitely won that game. Ponce threw a great game. It was a really exciting way to start our season.”

Ponciano needed no more assistance. He struck out six Barons without a walk, never threatening the pitch count. He also received error-less play by the Eagles defense.

“Spencer delivered a clutch hit that put less pressure on me out there,” Ponciano said. “That allowed me to pitch to the best of my ability.

“Our team looks to have a good chance at a CIF run this year.”

The bonus run saw Alex Smith coax a lead walk, then MacArthur collected his second double of the contest for the RBI.  Earlier, Smith also slugged a two-base hit, as four of the five hits by Granite Hills went for extra bases.

Elsewhere
Santana 11, Rancho Buena Vista 3

SANTEE – Buoyed by starting pitcher Ethan Wright, the Santana Sultans staff carried a shutout into the seventh inning, easily taking down lowly Rancho Buena Vista, 11-3, in Saturday’s (Mar. 27) Sweetwater Tournament affair.

Wright fired four innings of 3-hit shutout ball, coming out early after his teammates mounted a mammoth 10-0 cushion through three frames. Caleb Harris went the final three innings to qualify for the save. Both are juniors.

With the bats, four members of the Sultans — Cole Contreras, Elijah Reber, Dean Landers, and Tyler Glowacki — all collected doubles to fuel a 15-hit attack. A half-dozen players drove in runs, including two each from Jason Gonzalez, Dean Landers and Glowacki.

Contreras’ double in the first scored a pair of a 2-0 lead, then Santana added five more markers in the second. Reber and Gonzalez posted consecutive RBI singles, then Contreras stroked an RBI double.

Then in the third, one of five RBV errors allowed Glowicki to double home Davin Burroughs.  Later, Gonzalez registered a two-out, run-scoring single.

The winless Longhorns (0-3) have yielded 31 runs in three starts.


Olympian 13, Foothills Christian 1

CHULA VISTA – When the Foothills Christian Knights step up to play schools with significantly higher enrollments, they usually remain competitive… but not on Saturday (Mar. 27) morning in Sweetwater Tournament action.

The Knights avoided the shutout bid by the Eagles in their final at-bat, yet still took a 5-inning road setback.  The run proved meaningful; Olympian was seeking its third consecutive shutout to open the season after previously blanking Escondido (6-0) and Hoover (21-0).

Hector Najera fired four innings of no-hit ball. He struck out eight Knights but also walked four. However, the Olympian coaching staff elected to pull the pitcher even though he was just three outs away from school history, knowing the contest would end early by run-rule by holding a 13-run cushion.

The run was scored by Taylor Casey. He accepted a one-out walk, then came around on consecutive base hits by Kip Famolaro and Colby Johnson (RBI) for the lone knocks for Foothills Christian.

Olympian led 5-0 through two frames, but let loose with seven markers in the third to reach one-dozen runs.

For the Eagles, Walter Alfaro batted 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles. The cleanup hitter posted two RBI and scored twice.

Sweetwater 8, Mount Miguel 5

SPRING VALLEY – The tournament host Red Devils, which are often mistakenly located in National City (it’s across the street in San Diego), went on the road to down the Matadors.

Even the school itself doesn’t even know where it is located since it lists its street address is listed in National City.

The game result moved Sweetwater to 2-1 after getting blanked by Foothills Christian, 7-0, in the season opener. Mount Miguel (2-1) suffered its initial setback after SuHi countered an early 3-0 deficit by posting all eight of its runs in the third inning.

A trio of Red Devils pitchers combined on a 2-hitter, surviving a composite eight walks and four errors by their defense.

The Matadors tallied three times on just one hit in the first.

Johnathan Trader and Joseph Ortega accepted consecutive lead walks, following by a line double to right field by Thomas Ringer to open the scoring.

A ground ball up the middle by Steve Gulley allowed a second run to score, then Rugen Gomez lifted a sacrifice fly to make it three runs after just five batters.

The only other Mount Miguel hit was a two-out single by Trader in the sixth.

The big Sweetwater inning featured six hits, capped by a two-run double by sophomore infielder Isaac Romero.

Friday: La Jolla Country Day 11, El Capitan 1

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Facing one of the better-hitting small-school programs in the CIF San Diego Section, the struggling pitching staff at El Capitan High still needs to find answers following Friday’s (Mar. 26) disappointing 11-1 setback to host La Jolla Country Day.

The Torreys (2-2 overall) have collected 21 runs in their past two ballgames. Meanwhile, the Vaqueros have yielded an average of 10 runs per outing in three winless starts.

The Vaqueros got on the scoreboard first before yielding 11 unanswered runs.

In the third inning, junior shortstop Cole Winsor knotted a hard ground ball past the LJCDS third baseman for a leadoff double.

Connor Crist also grounded toward third for a single to advance Winsor to third. He came home on a one-out, line single to left field by sophomore Brady Reed.

Otherwise, El Cap collected just two other hits.

The numbers for the struggling pitching staff were not aided by the defense, which committed five errors leading to a series of unearned runs.

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