East County Sports

ROUNDUP: East teams register victories



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

EL CAJON – The  Granite Hills Eagles would rather forget about the ballclub’s last appearance in its home ballpark.

Consider it a mild aberration.

Behind a pair of early home runs by Spencer Davis, Granite Hills scored in every inning to punish the Hilltop Lancers, 13-0, in Aztec-Foothiller Tournament action on Wednesday (Apr. 7).

It was an extreme bounce-back from the Eagles’ previous home game when they allowed double-digits. This time, half of their 16 hits went for extra bases as the club’s sleepy bats finally came to life.

Davis and the Eagles didn’t waste any time to regain control in their own ballpark.

In the first, following a lead single by Austin Smith, Davis sent a one-out bomb to right field for a 2-0 lead. In the fourth, it was a near repeat offering as Smith reached via a walk, then Davis again pulled the ball out to right.

For the contest, Davis batted 3-for-5 for a career-best six RBI.

In addition, shortstop Camden Sos went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI and scoring twice.

Cody Macias batted 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and scoring a run. Hudson Beamon went 1-for-1 with a sacrifice fly, a walk and a run scored as Granite Hills received production from throughout its batting order.

Leadoff man Austin Smith scored three runs, reaching on a hit and a pair of base on balls.

“Our bats came alive today and that’s what we needed,” Smith said. “Our pitchers did super-well.

Meanwhile, starting pitcher Chandler Henry struck out seven Lancers batters over fine innings of shutout ball.

“My fastball was on today and I located it fairly well,” Henry said. “My curveball was okay but I had a great defense behind me. This season feels special because last season was cut short.”

Henry yielded just three base hits, with of his other eight outs he registered coming on ground balls.

“Chandler had a great outing and left us with a lot of comfort in the field,” Davis said. “We played well behind him.”

The bullpen for Granite Hills (4-3) was equally solid with Tanner Vielguth and Ryan Dobbs throwing one shutout inning each, yielding just one additional knock in a combined 4-hitter.

Henry placed himself in trouble only once. With two outs, he hit a batter and walked a pair to load the bases, yet escaped by jamming the batter to coax an easy grounder to first baseman Grant Mac Arthur.

For Hilltop (1-6), freshman shortstop Carlos Vazquez went 2-for-3 to collect half of his ballclubs; four hits.

Grossmont 10, Vista 1

LA MESA – Grossmont senior pitcher Jaden Wilcox ran his season record to 3-0, yielding just one unearned run over five stellar innings to help the Foothillers pulverize the Vista Panthers,10-1, in Wednesday’s (Mar. 7) Aztec-Foothiller Tournament snoozer at Gizoni Field.

The triumph advances Grossmont (8-1) to Saturday’s tournament championship contest.

This ballgame was over in the first inning when Wilcox was devouring Vista batter, then the Hillers tallied twice in the home half in the gate-to-wire triumph.

The runs came courtesy of a two-run homer by Justin Brown. Later, the first baseman was walked twice but it was too late because of Wilcox, a ground ball specialist, who registered nine outs on rollers to his infielders.

“A run cushion is always loved when I’m pitching,” Wilcox said. “Sixteen hits is unbelievable. Everyone did what was expected of them for us to come out with a win like this.”

Other stalwarts for Grossmont was leadoff hitter Evan Vasiliou, who collected three RBI to nearly double his season total.

Vasiliou, a senior center fielder, became East County’s first hitter to bat 5-for-5 this season, scoring twice, and rising near the top of the region’s batting average leaders at .464.

“They were leaving them mostly on the zone but I had to make good contact to get the hits,” Vasiliou said. “Our bats were just on fire. We are in sync now and it’s still early. We still have to compete every game because all the teams we are playing are good but we still have to bring that same intensity each time.”

Noah Barnes and Isaiah Gomez also added three hits each, as the Hillers’ 1-2-3 batters went a composite 11-for-14 with six runs scored, followed by Brown and his homer from the cleanup spot.

“We all stuck to our approach at the plate and looked for pitches we could do damage with,” Gomez said. “Jaden pitched great and we put some runs on the board early to give him a lead and he just cruised through some innings.”

Grossmont (8-1) clinched a berth in Saturday’s tournament championship game. Vista sunk to 5-3.

Steele Canyon 15, Mater Dei Catholic 2

CHULA VISTA – Talk about a contest of contrasts.

After scoring three runs without the benefit of a base hit in the opening four innings, Steele Canyon transformed a narrow 3-2 nail-biter into a romp by erupting for 12 runs on 11 hits the rest of the way to powering the Cougars past Mater Dei Catholic, 15-2, in Wednesday’s (Apr. 7) tournament victory,

Senior catcher Jake Entrekin capped a stretch of two runs in the fifth inning, then five runs in both the sixth and seventh with a 2-run homer, making a mess of the Crusaders bullpen.

Cougars pitcher Vencel Kalasho lasted five innings with five strikeouts. Demonstrating early command, after the Crusaders opened with a lead single in the first, but Kalasho promptly picked off the runner, then retired nine of the next ten batters.

“We honestly played terribly for five innings, Steele Canyon head coach Jesse Evans said. “Kalasho gave us another great start and we made him work way too hard. We woke up and took care of business but as a team, we can’t be successful in this fashion.”

Mater Dei Catholic eventually tallied twice in the fourth, but the Steele Canyon bats immediately woke from a drowsy start.

In the fifth, following a walk and a pair of base hits to load the bases, Entrekin’s big day could’ve been better when he slammed a line drive, except the ball found the glove of the left fielder.

Fortunately, right fielder Taylor Corella followed with a single for the RBI for Steele Canyon (5-4).

An inning later, a two-out rally found consecutive singles by Nate Custeau, Will James and Sebastian Granados produce a run. The parade of hits was followed by an RBI double by Weston Clark, an Entrekin base hit, then a two-run double by Corella, a sixth consecutive hit.

“The hitting came along at the end but we need to play much better defense,” Entrekin said. “It would’ve been nice to get the runs early. We need to get our intensity back. We need to have better at-bats.

Mater Dei never had a chance to breathe when Steele Canyon reliever Gabe Diaz retired the hosts in order, then the Cougars bats resumed the demolition of  MDA’s bullpen with five more runs.

The seventh Keys hits featured a one-out double by Tommy Molina to start the rally. Granados later accepted a bases-loaded walk. Clark reached on an outfield error which plated three runs, then Clark came home on Entrekin’s homer to left.

Ryan Magoon also produced a hit for the Cougars, his first varsity safety.

“It felt great to finally get in there and I got my chance to help the team win,” Magoon said. “I’ve been working hard and staying ready. I’m a utility player so I can play anywhere they need me.”

The Crusaders (3-4) saw leadoff hitter Elijah Cook, the center fielder, have a 2-for-3 day, but the next four Crusaders went a composite 2-for-14.

Helix 4, Coronado 3

LA MESA – The Helix Highlanders joined an exclusive consortium of East County schools to join a certain club this season: The Grand Salami Club.

Scottie senior catcher Jake Perez made his only hit on the day count. He clouted a fourth-inning grand slam to center field on Wednesday (Apr. 6), the only hit Helix would need to sink the Coronado Islanders, 4-3, in Aztec-Foothiller Tournament action.

Leading 2-0, Coronado was forced to pitch to Perez after Ben Haar and Aidan Perez registered consecutive line, one-out singles, then James Whitman walked.

Then on an 0-1 pitch, the Helix backstop sent a rocket toward the softball field beyond the center field fence, turning a 2-run deficit into a 2-run advantage.

Helix posted just two other hits all afternoon, but that was fine for Scottie starting pitcher Isaac Cota. who went five innings to collect the victory.

Two frames of 1-hit, shutout relief by Leyton Wirschem closed the triumph.

For Coronado (2-4), center fielder Cole Cline batted 2-for-3.

West Hills 4, Otay Ranch 2

OTAY MESA – After registering 25 runs in their last outing, the West Hills Wolf Pack failed to score in six of their seven innings Wednesday (Apr. 7).

That one inning proved to be enough.

The Pack posted four runs in the fifth inning, topping host Otay Ranch, 4-2, in an Aztec-Foothill Tournament contest.

West Hills scored its runs with a two-out rally when the next six batters reached base.

T.K. Madera started the stretch by taking the first pitch to deep left field for a double. Jacob Villanueva reached on an error, then the 1-0 deficit was erased when Ryan Parker lined a go-ahead, two-run single to center.

Parker would score by stealing second base, then racing home on a Connor Evans base hit.  Ryan Rodgers then reached on another error before the Mustangs could halt the outburst.

But it was too late.

Wolf Pack pitcher Kyle Dobyns lowered his earned-run average to 1.40 with six solid innings.  Evans retired Itay Ranch in order in the seventh for the save.

At the plate, Dobyns and Parker collected two hits each for the Pack (6-3) for their fifth win in sixth starts.

Otay Ranch fell to 4-5 (2-3 vs. GUHSD schools) despite two hits from center fielder Santiago Garcia.

Madison 5, Monte Vista 1

CLAIREMONT MESA – In the first meeting between these schools on the baseball diamond this century, the Madison Warhawks limited Monte Vista to just three hits, sliding past the Monarchs, 5-1, Wednesday (Apr. 7).

Pitcher Victor Arreola, who is headed to Fresno State, fired six innings of two-hit ball by striking out nine batters. The lone run was unearned.

Down 2-0 after the first inning, Monte Vista’s lone chance to get even came in the third.

With two down, Monarchs shortstop Ernie Arambula singled up the middle. then Andy Canedo was hit by a pitch. For some reason, the Madison catcher fired the ball toward second base to catch Arambula straying from the bag, but when the ball sailed into the outfield, the runner scored.

In the seventh and trailing by four,  Monte Vista also a runner on base, but was caught stealing, which allowed Madison reliever Josh Villegas to close out the decision.

For Madison (5-4), Arreola was the only player with two hits while sophomore cleanup hitter Jake Jackson had two RBI to help snap a 3-game losing streak. Monte Vista dropped to 3-5.

Bubba Leask went the distance for the Monarchs.

“I was hitting my locations perfectly early on,” Leask said. “I trusted (catcher) Jake (Savoy) to guide me.”

Leask allowed just a pair of earned runs, allowing no walks.

“Bubba pitched a great six innings,” Monte Vista head coach Craig Neu said. “He threw really well. He was efficient, too, with only 60 pitches. If we made an error, he would make a good pitch to help us get out of it.

“Their pitcher was as good as advertised. A good right-hander with plus velocity. We struck out too much but some is a credit to their pitcher.”

Montgomery 5, Valhalla 0

OTAY MESA – The wind was blowing in from the Pacific Ocean in left field, leaving the Valhalla Norsemen with just four hits in a shutout loss to host Montgomery.

The Aztecs (6-3) delivered a shutout, which was their third of the season. They also blanked West Hills and Francis Parker.

For the Norsemen (2-5), their four singles came off the bats of junior Colin Scribner and David Gordon, senior Matty Tellous, and freshman Brennan Simonet.


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