East County Sports

LIONS: Patriots are only East champion





EastCountySports.com staff report


EL CAJON – The Christian Patriots were the only East County team to capture a Lions Tournament division championship on Thursday as the long-standing event concluded its abbreviated format on Thursday.

Christian High defeated Otay Ranch, 6-2, to win one half of 6A/5A Division bracket.

Josh Meekins pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run while striking out five and walking one for the Patriots, earning the victory.

“I came with a large amount of energy and focus,” Meekins said. “Throwing each pitch with intent, having good control of my curve, and knowing my teammates had my back really helped me put a solid performance together.

“We are going to enjoy the Lions (championship) but the expectations we are holding ourselves to, we are going to keep working for bigger and better things. We plan on keeping it rolling. We have a real, solid amount of young talent on this team that we all trust.”

The Patriots had a terrific week of games out at their ballfield, scoring runs aplenty en route to a Lions title.

Christian High’s Braeden Ross and Vaughn Major were so good, they were named co-MVPs of the division.

“I’m glad I could contribute with my man Vaughn,” Ross said. “This is definitely one of the cooler things that I have accomplished in my high school career. The Lions Tournament is always super hard and to go undefeated and win is a super feeling.”

Ross had three hits and drove in three runs in Thursday’s finale.

“We play at a really high level,” Ross said. “This can be a special team and we have the talent and chemsity to perform at the highest level. Coach (Mike) Mitchell likes to compare our team to a “full-court press” in basketball.”

And that they have done. The Patriots started the event by scoring in the first 15 innings of their games, spanning two full games and another two innings in their third contest.

Leadoff man Vaughn Major had a pair of hits and scored a run in the title game.

Christian scored one in the first but added four more in the second, including a two-run hit by Ross.


Classic Division

La Costa Canyon 7, Grossmont 2

LA MESA – La Costa Canyon pitcher Gabe Camacho followed the season-long blueprint of the Grossmont Foothillers.

Camacho, a right-handed sophomore, kept the Hillers in the ballpark while also hitting his own home run, lifting the Mavericks to the Classic Division championship of the Lions Tournament with Thursday’s (Apr. 1) road victory at Grossmont, 7-2.

The Mavs (6-1) mounted a 7-0 lead before Camacho started to wither in the sixth inning. However, reliever Jake Woltman slammed the door to end the season-long, 6-game winning streak by the Foothillers (6-1). The streak was the Hillers’ longest since 2008 (9-0 start).

Camacho’s solo home came with two outs in the fourth, pushing the lead to 5-0. An inning earlier, Braden Mazone stroked a 2-run double to open the scoring in a 3-run rally to break open the ballgame.

Mazone, a senior catcher, batted 3-for-4, while the Mavs’ 3-4-5 hitters –Mark Prince, Woltman, and Camacho — all posted two hits each.

Grossmont saw left fielder Evan Vasiliou go 2-for-3, but the balance of the lineup managed just five singles. Leadoff batter Max Cadwalader extended his hitting streak to seven contests.

“We played well this week but ran out of gas today,” Grossmont head coach Jordan Abruzzo said. “But we learned a ton about our guys. I love this group this year. We play the game the right way.

Premier Division
Point Loma 8, Steele Canyon 6

RANCHO SAN DIEGO – The Point Loma Pointers, the only team among Lions Tournament finalists to advance without going unbeaten in pool play, proved championship-worthy after stopping Steele Canyon, 8-6, in Thursday’s (Apr. 1) Premier Division finale.

Point Loma (5-2), which needed a tie-breaker to advance out of pool-play competition, tallied five times in its initial at-bat to ride a wire-to-wire triumph, ending the three-game winning streak of the Cougars (4-3).

Steele Canyon rallied to trim the deficit to 6-5, but the Pointers tagged on two runs in the seventh on a 2-run homer from center fielder Ayden Rygielto claim the trophy.

Rygielto and right fielder Lorenzo Sardo each recorded the RBI. Sardo’s came on a two-out, bases-loaded triple to cap the outburst in the first.

Cougars catcher ake Entrekin continues to swing a hot bat. He went 2-fort-4 with a double, by what happened on his extra-base hit might have decided the outcome.

Entrekin’s two-out, bases-loaded line drive to left-center field scored two runs to trim the deficit to 6-5 in the fourth. The relay from left fielder Jordan Otjen to catcher Liam Watters late, but when the backstop quickly fired the ball to third baseman Bubba Nunez. it resulted in an inning-ending third out to shut down the rally.

Blake Ledbetter, the second of five Pointers pitchers, gained the victory.

For Steele Canyon, designated hitter Issac Vargas drove in two runs.

“We fought hard every game,” Vargas said. “We thought if we went at least 3-1 against this kind of competition would be a strong showing for us. Sadly, we couldn’t come through in this last one, but I think this will help us be ready for each and every one of them.”

Cougar shortstop Sebastian Granados posted a pair of base hits.

“We have an awesome schedule loaded with great teams,” Steele Canyon head coach Jesse Evans said. “We will be battle-tested come league play. Multiple guys are stepping up in big ways.”

Division 3A
Mission Bay 6, West Hills 4

PACIFIC BEACH – This season’s Lions Tournament was dedicated to four former coaches who passed away in recent months. Two of them — Mickey Deutschman of West Hills and Dennis Pugh of Mission Bay — were represented in this Division 3A championship game. But only one school could win.

The decision went to the home-standing Buccaneers after scoring three times in the first inning in a wire-ti-wire, 6-1 verdict over the Wolf Pack.

One of the Beach Boys, Caleb Dickinson, started the early rally with a two-run single, then he scored on an ensuing double by Miguel Navarro.

The rally was enough for starting pitcher Steve Chavez, who allowed just four hits over five innings, striking out six. In relief, Dickinson yielded just one hit in his two frames to close out the division title.

West Hills (4-3) answered in the second, as Shane Mailloux accepted a lead walk, then Conner Tanga was hit by a pitch.

Chavez answered back with a pair of strikeouts, but Ryan Parker walked to load the bases, following by a clutch, two-out single from Kyle Dobyns.

However, the play ended on a momentum swing to Mission Bay after left fielder Noah Lafrantz fired a strike to Bucs catcher Miguel Navarro when the Pack attempted to plate a second base-runner.

For Mission Bay (6-1), Dickinson and D.J. Monahan registered two hits each to fuel the Buccaneers to a sixth straight victory after dropping their opener to St. Augustine.

West Hills saw Parker bat 2-for-3, while Jacob Villanueva collected a double.


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