East County Sports

No surprise when Sultans beat Dons

DEAN LANDERS of Santana / photo by Ken Todd





CARMEL HIGHLANDS – Good night, Santana. Your day is done.


After yielding five first-inning runs to powerful Cathedral Catholic, the Sultans stormed back with nine unanswered runs, thumping the host Dons, 9-5, in Tuesday’s (Apr. 5) action at Manchester Field.

The triumph may not be the greatest turnaround in Sultans baseball history, but it certainly could rate among the most significant against one of the powers in the CIF San Diego Section.

Santana (5-2 overall) moved to 3-1 in its pool, needing a win over Poway (2-5) on Thursday, plus a little help, to advance to Saturday’s championship round.

Meanwhile, Cathedral Catholic (2-5) is off to its poorest start since the school relocated from Linda Vista in 2005. The Dons were the former University of San Diego High School, one of five Catholic high schools in the San Diego Section.

Santana’s rally started immediately after the Dons assumed a 5-0 lead. The Sultans scored once in the second, then three times in both the third and fourth to assume control.

The top two Santana hitters in the batting order — Tyler Glowacki and Elijah Reber — each reached base twice on a base hit and a walk. Then six of the next seven starters all registered an RBI, including two each by Dean Landers and Caleb Harris.

In the third, Landers troked a bases-loaded base hit for a run, then a ground ball to the right side by Caleb Harris saw two runs score to trim the deficit to 5-4.

” Getting the chance to play against a successful program as Cathedral Catholic gives us the opportunity to showcase our program’s ability to compete at the highest level,” Landers said. “We always look forward to competing against the best.”

An inning later, consecutive run-scoring singles by Cole Contreras and Gonzalez gave Santana the lead. Then Landers lifted a sacrifice fly. Contreras batted 3-for-5 on the afternoon.

“Today’s win was driven by our team’s competitive nature and team chemistry,” Landers said. “It was a great come-from-behind win. It’s an honor to be part of this team.

Meanwhile, Santana pitcher Koda Alto rebounded from an awkward start with 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Landers followed in relief with three shutout innings for the save, yielding just three hits.

After Santana took a 7-5 advantage, Alto ran into deep trouble in the fourth. He hit three Dons batters to load the bases, but second baseman Jason Gonzalez fielded a sharp grounder, starting an inning-ending double play.

For Landers, his success has brought some memories back for his family, as well.

Landers’ dad, Mark, was a top player for a Grossmont High team full of stars that won a CIF Division 2A championship in 1990, as well as, some big Grossmont Conference games against the Sultans that year. That Foothiller team, coached by Jeff Meredith, featured stars Todd Cady, Mike Spears, and John Tatum.

“(Bill Dickens) quoted by dad 30 years ago when he played for Grossmont after beating my Sultans at home in the 1990 season,” Dean Landers said. “Now that’s pretty cool.”

Foothills Christian 8, Escondido 0

EL CAJON – In an import measuring stick for Foothills Christian, pitchers Taylor Casey and Kip Famolaro combined on a 2-hit shutout, backing the Knights past visiting Escondido in Tuesday’s (Apr. 6) action.

Escondido was coming off a 7-2 triumph over Orange Glen, one of Foothills Christian’s main rivals in the Pacific League, along with Escondido Charter and Maranatha Christian. With the victory, the Knights’ fight to claim a league title may be a touch easier.

Casey struck out 11 Cougars batters over 5 2/3 inning, but the pitch count caught up to him. So Famolaro came on in relief, retiring four of the five batters he faced from Escondido (2-5).

“We played outstanding defense,” Foothills Christian head coach Dave Lewis said. “And it was another dominant performance by Casey.”

On offense, Foothills Christian (5-2) was led by starting catcher Colby Johnson, who smacked a pair of doubles for three RBI.

Famolaro also pinched a double among his two hits.

“We were able to string some hits together and knock in some runs,” Johnson said. “Our main guy, Kip, ripped the ball and was fun to watch on the mound, too.

“Our team had some great at-bats and is heating up.”

First baseman Seth Gilbody also collected a pair of RBI for the Knights on a two-strike hit.

“Casey pitched amazing today,” Gilbody said. “He was able to lock the other team down for the whole game. Our sticks were hot and we just had the mentality to win today.

“I was just hoping to get the ball in play. I swung at a curveball and was lucky enough to get it through a gap.”

La Costa Canyon 3, Granite Hills 1

CARLSBAD – La Costa Canyon completed a four-game sweep of members of the 2020 Grossmont Hills League schools — in order, Santana, Helix, Grossmont, and now, Granite Hills — after downing the Eagles, 3-2, in Tuesday’s (Apr. 6) Aztec-Foothiller Tournament action.

The starting pitcher for the Mavericks last just one inning, when Granite Hills tallied its lone run. However, relief pitcher Landon Elliot entered to fire six innings of shutout ball to gain the victory. Elliot, a junior right-hander, allowed just four hits and struck out five Eagles batters in his emergency call from the bullpen.

Granite Hills (3-3 overall, 1-3 vs. North County schools) needed just four batters to reach the scoreboard with an unearned run.

With two down, junior Spencer Davis lined a single to right, then Grant Mac Arthur also went the other way for an RBI double. Afterward, the Eagles collected just four additional hits.

LCC secured the lead with a pair of runs in the third on an RBI single by Christian Keillor, then the go-ahead run on an error.

The only player for either side with multiple hits was Mac Arther, the third baseman, who went 2-for-3.

“We’re just not piecing the hits together, Granite Hills head coach James Davis said. “I think we will hit eventually, it just hasn’t happened yet.

“(Granite Hills starter Noa) Ponciano battled, he just didn’t have hit best stuff.”

Poniano went five innings, allowing a pair of hits with five strikeouts.

“We were going up against some tough pitches from some pretty good arms,” Ponciano said. “Spence is hot right now and needs to stay that way for the rest of our offense to spark.”

Mar Vista 10, Mount Miguel 3

SPRING VALLEY – A meeting of teams each seeking to snap 4-game losing streaks, the Mar Vista Mariners snapped a 2-2 deadlock by scoring four times in both sixth and seventh innings to topple Mount Miguel, 10-3, in Monday’s (Apr. 5) ballgame.

With two outs in the sixth, a potential, inning-ending line drive was dropped, opening the flood gates for four unearned runs. An inning later, Mariners leadoff batter Devon Kingclubced a two-run triple, with another error leading to two additional freebies.

Matadors’ first baseman Eric Sandoval, in his first action of the season, batted 2-for-3 with an RBI. But the balance of the batting order managed just four singles.

Matadors third baseman Steve Gulley Jr. also drove in a run for Mount Miguel (2-5). Mar Vista moved to 2-4.

Torrey Pines 16, El Capitan 0

CARMEL HIGHLANDS – El Capitan right fielder Clayton Brown registered a two-out single in the second inning for the only hit by the Vaqueros, as Torrey Pines sent four pitchers to the mound in thrash the Vaq Pack, 16-0, Tuesday (Apr. 67).

Falcons starting pitcher Zach Isaacman, a right-handed junior, dominated for 6 2/3 innings, striking out right El Cap batters. A trio of relievers followed to no-hit the visitors.

Meanwhile, the Vaqs pitching slowly crumbled following two scoreless frames, allowing 3-2-6-5 runs over the next four frames.

For Torrey Pines (4-3), the 2-3-4-5 batters — Carson Williams, Bryce Martin-Grudzielanek, Cole Wilson, and Luke  Stevenson — combined to bat a composite 10-for-16, with 8 runs and 11 RBI.

The chart-topper was a six-RBI performance by Williams, a senior shortstop, thanks to a pair of home runs and a triple for 11 total bases.

Hoover 12, ECVHS 4

EL CAJON – The visiting Hoover Cardinals from “Roller Coaster Road” — as El Cajon Avenue (now Boulevard) was nicknamed in the 1930s — completed a two-game, season-series sweep by downing El Cajon Valley, 12-4, in Tuesday’s (Apr. 6) non-league contest.

Hoover pitcher Carlos Dupont yielded just one hit over four innings to collect the win. Out of the bullpen, Jimmy Roman struck out seven Braves batters over three frames to earn the save.

The only ECVHS hit was a two-out, ground single to the left side by Rikki Ortiz in the second. But by then, Hoover (3-5) already mustered a 4-0 advantage.  Ortiz’s hit was followed by a pair of walks, then Diego Robles was hit by a pitch for the RBI to tie the ballgame.

In the fifth, the Braves (0-5) scored three times. The first two came when Cards pitchers opened the frame issuing five straight walks, Then with one out, Eduardo “Eddie” Cazarez also was plunked by a pitch to force in another run.

Hoover, still holding an 8-4 lead but with the potential game-tying run at the plate, escaped the jam by turning a double play on a hard grounder to third baseman Tyrone McCoy.


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