East County Sports

GMC: Harris, Sultans slam Warhawks; Pats, Monarchs, Cougs win



By Nick Pellegrino

ECS staff report

SANTEE — Santana High first baseman Caleb Harris doubled his season RBI total to eight by drilling a grand slam, leading the Sultans past Madison, 6-3, in Dickens-GMC Tournament action on Monday (Apr. 12).

The triumph avenged a 3-2 setback to the Warhawks during the Lions Tournament.

Harris’ slam capped a 5-run outburst with a liner to straightaway center field in the first inning, giving Santana a 5-1 advantage.

Following a pitching change in the first inning, after the Sultans had already tied the game, Harris got ahead 2-0 on the new pitcher before depositing his slam over the left-center field fence.

“Down one didn’t change our mentality,” Harris said. “We were hungry to win so we put quality at-bats together and tied the game in the first.

“He left me a fastball up and down the middle. At first, I didn’t think it was going out because it was pretty high but it just kept carrying and went out. Without the team putting together great at-bats, the grand slam wouldn’t have happened.”

The lead was enough for winning pitcher Koda Alto, who became the region’s first 4-game winner this season.

“After that homer, it gave Alto that extra confidence pitching with a lead,” Harris said. “Alto had the defense working behind him and making plays. He was lights out.”

Alto escaped trouble all afternoon in scattering nine hits, but the ground ball specialist kept escaping, including an inning-ending double play to shortstop Davin Burroughs in the third.

“My coaches have the most trust in me because thought my career, I have proven to them that I can and will deliver, even through adversity,” Alto said.

“Having coaches that believe in me and a team that can help me out by giving me the opportunities to stay in ball games like these are the best part of being player. No matter what, I know that even though I might not have my best stuff, they’ll give all their effort.”

In addition, Sultans second baseman Elijah Reber batted 3-4 for Santana (6-3).

For Madison (5-5), junior shortstop Maddox Haley batted 2-for-3 with two runs and a pair of RBI.

Monte Vista 9. Mater Dei Catholic 2

CHULA VISTA —- Monte Vista shortstop Ernie Arambula posted a career day at the plate, batting 4-for-5 with two RBI and scoring four times to propel the Monarchs past host Mater Dei Catholic, 9-2, in Dickens GMC Tournament action Monday (Apr. 12).

Arambula, the season-long leader of the Pride, belted a pair of run-scoring doubles to help build a 9-0 advantage before the Crusaders tallied a pair of cosmetic runs in the seventh.

His first 2-base hit in the second drove in two. Tyler Lemen (lead single) and Isaac Anthony (walk) were bunted forward on a sacrifice by David Vega before Arambula sent a drive over the centerfielder.

“I’m being patient at the plate, getting my pitch to drive and hit it hard,” said Arambula. “I know guys are going to throw me junk but I’ve learned to sit off those pitches and let them come to me dialed in with a fastball in my zone, then ripping it.”

Meanwhile, starting pitcher Andy Canedo had it going on both offense and defense. At the plate, he went 3-for-3 with two RBI. On the mound, he tossed a 1-hit shutout for six full innings before the pitch count ended his successful day.

“Ernie has been very hot and he has helped this offense a lot,” Canedo said. “When we have guys hitting and cheering, it gives us momentum to our guys and helps us come out on top.

Canedo struck out 10 MDC batters, falling just one short of his season-high of 11 against Hilltop.

“I was just pounding my fastball but when I needed a pitch to rely on, my changeup was my best friend today,” said the UC Riverside-bound Canedo.

Monte Vista is now 4-5 overall. Mater Dei Catholic fell to 3-6, matching its poorest start since 2016.

Christian 13, SD-Southwest 1 (5 inn.)

NESTOR —- The unbeaten Christian Patriots ran their record to 5-0 after pasting the Southwest Raiders in Monday’s (Apr. 12) tournament wipe-out.

The Patriots had five extra-base hits in the game and eight different batters reached via a base hit.

Freshman Ashton McCurdy led the RBI-parade with three but did it all without registering a base hit. He also scored twice.

Freshman Xavier Farnham had two hits, two RBI, and a pair of runs scored.

Junior Dominic Zepeda had two hits, scored twice, and drove in a run.

“Dom and I were out there just having a fun time and swinging at good pitches to hit,” Farnum said. “We just put up a lot of runs with quality at-bats. We just go for line drive base hits. Put it in play and run.”

Pitcher Vaughn Major, a sophomore, had a five-inning complete game, striking out 10 and walking one.

“Major had a great day on the mound,” Farnum said. “He had a nice sequence and pace to the game. Our team is super good defensively.”

Despite being one of just a handful of undefeated teams left in the county, the Patriots were ranked 14th in the first release of the county media poll this week.

Meanwhile, the computers had the Patriots rated fourth entering the week.

“We are looking forward to playing the (Division) 1 schools that we play next week – Cathedral (Catholic), (St. Augustine) Saints, and Santana,” Farnum said.

Steele Canyon 7, Coronado 6

SILVER STRAND, CORONADO ISLAND — Steele Canyon rallied for three runs in the sixth inning to overcome the Coronado Islanders, 7-6, in Monday’s (Apr. 12)tournament contest held the regulation-size ballpark at Silver Strand Elementary School.

Coronado (2-7)  registered all of its runs in the fourth inning to overcome a 4-0 deficit until the Cougars (6-4) answered back in the sixth.

Weston Clark had the huge hit in the sixth inning.

“Huge hit from Weston,” Steele Canyon head coach Jesse Evans said. “It’s never easy to win on the road and for some reason, Coronado has been a tough place for us to win. We were cruising and before you knew it, with one bad inning, we were chasing. We allowed to many free passes and they capitalized.

“(Junior lefthander Gabe) Diaz did a great job in helping regain control of the game.”

For the Cougars, sophomore Will James, junior Ray Marrero, and senior Issac Vargas each registered multiple base hits. In addition, seniors Sebastian Granados and Jake Entrekin slugged doubles. Entrekin drove in a pair of runs.

“We need to finish these games out,” Entrekin said. “We have a ton of speed in the lineup and we’re going to capitalize on teams that don’t hold runners well. We work on the small ball every practice because we’re going to need it during the tougher games.

“Coronado has a solid lineup but these close games are going to drive coach Jesse nuts.”

The Cougars stole six bases on the day.

“I feel like our starter did great but just had some issues with his arm last in the game and it kind of started slipping away from us with little bloop hits and some errors but at the end of the day, we got the dub,” Granados said. “Jake and Weston have been tearing it up lately.”

Hilltop 3, El Capitan 1

CHULA VISTA — One day following the passing of legendary Hilltop baseball coach John Baumgarten — a three-time CIF-San Diego Section champion (1979, ’83, and ’85) —  the motivated Lancers snapped a 4-game losing streak by overrunning the visiting Vaqueros, 3-1, at Baumgarten Field.

Hilltop senior Chay Esqueda fired a 1-hitter at El Cap. He struck out 13 Vaqueros batters.

Esqueda, a right-hander, survived an unearned run on a walk to Bobo Mendoza, a two-out single by Brody McAuliffe, and an error in the second inning to cap his gem with 5 1/3 frames of no-hit ball.

The Lancers’ first two batters reached base in the first, then Esqueda sent both of them home on a double to center field. He would tally the third run on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Efren Sanchez, Jr.

Both ball clubs are now 2-7 overall.

Scripps Ranch 7, Valhalla 3

RANCHO SAN DIEGO — The Valhalla Norsemen rallied to move even by mid-game at 3-all, but the Scripps Ranch Falcons answered with two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings for Monday’s (Apr. 12) come-from-behind triumph.

The Falcons got even on a wild pitch, then moved in front on a sacrifice fly by senior Rocco Granucci. An inning later, an error and a base hit bT.J. Bibler provided the insurance runs.

The Norsemen got even in the fourth on a two-out, 2-run double by freshman Nate Moulton, scoring both Fernando  Hernandez and Matty Tellous, who both singled.

Hernandez and Colin Scribner had two hits each for Valhalla (3-6).

Eastlake 10, Helix 0

LA MESA — From east to west, the Helix Highlanders are searching for answers.

Following last week’s 11-3 setback to Westview, Monday’s (Apr. 12) Dickens-GMC Tournament opener wasn’t much better in a 10-0 pasting from Eastlake. The ballgame was called by mercy rule after five innings.

Titans pitcher Ethan Lizama fired four innings of one-hit ball but came out to save his innings if needed for later in the week. Lizama struck out 10 Highlanders, then Ben Maldonado hurled an inning to complete the shutout on a combined 2-hitter.

Eastlake (7-3) tallied five times in both the second and third innings to win. The scoring spree was capped by a 3-run homer by senior shortstop Marcelo Mayer to cap a four-RBI outing.

Isaiah Lane knocked in three runs and Nico Vallarelli drove in two, as the top three batters on the Eastlake batting card combined for nine RBI.

Helix (4-5) received base hits from Demarae Woods and Wyatt Laub.


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