East County Sports

Highlanders sweep, ready for ‘Prime Time’

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP SOFTBALL


By Tyler Gribble

Special to East County Sports

LA MESA – In a busy weekend for the hosts, the Helix Highlanders won a pair of ballgames on Saturday (Apr. 17) — one in two different tournaments — giving the Scotties four victories in just over a 48-hour period to extend their impressive winning streak.

In the morning contest, Helix pitcher SOPHIA RAMUNO worked through a late, would-be rally en route to her fourth complete-game victory, securing Helix’s spot in the Slugger Madness Tournament championship game after downing Valhalla, 3-1, in one semifinal.

Then in a rare 6 p.m. start, Helix out-slugged Poway, 9-6, in Falcon Fiesta action.

Game One

Ramuno allowed only five hits and one run, unearned, and struck out 10 Norsemen batters through seven innings.

First baseman AMBER YOUNG contributed a pair of hits in the win: a run-scoring single in the first, and a double to the left-center wall in the third. Catcher ISABELLA BORDINE drove her in with a single, for Helix’s third and final run of the game.

After downing one of their league rivals, Helix advances to the title contest against another Grossmont District rival, the Santana Sultans, set April 24th.

Game Two

Following a long layover, the Highlanders returned to the diamond for a Falcon Fiesta pool match-up against the Poway Titans.

Catcher ISABELLA BORDINE (HR, 1B, 3 RBI) launched her first home run of the season in the first inning, driving in a pair of runs to put Helix on the board.

The Scotties added another run in the third when shortstop AUDREY KULL (2 1B, 2 R, SB) singled and later scored thanks to a sacrifice bunt by first baseman AMBER YOUNG (2B, 1B, 2 RBI, R).

Helix pitcher JIOVANA NUANEZ (4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 6 K) got the start in the circle, where she kept the Titans in check until running into trouble in the fourth inning. The leadoff batter reached thanks to a defensive miscommunication, and the right fielder followed with a double, putting the Titans on the board. Poway would add another run via a sacrifice fly, narrowing the score to 3-2, Helix.

Highlander reliever LILLY WHITE entered the game to start the fifth, but the heart of the Poway order and some defensive miscues by Helix compounded as the Titans scored four runs to take the lead, 6-3. SOPHIA RAMUNO returned to the pitching circle to stop the bleeding and did so, neutralizing the final batter of the inning with a ground ball to short.

In the bottom of the fifth, facing their first deficit since Thursday, the Helix offense struck hard. Kull led off with a single and third baseman NICOLE HERNANDEZ (R) ripped a hard grounder through her Titan counterpart’s legs, placing runners on the corners for AMBER YOUNG.

Young did not disappoint, matching Hernandez with another hard grounder down the third baseline, scoring Kull.

After a pitching change, Bordin pulled a single through the 5-6 hole, scoring Hernandez. Center fielder KORI JONILONIS (RBI, R) followed with a ground ball to short, scoring Young and evening the score at 6-all.

Later, with two outs, Ramuno (1B) dropped a fly ball into no-man’s-land between shortstop and the outfielders, advancing Jonilonis to third. Next up was ASHTON ISBELL (2 1B, BB), who walked. Ball four dribbled past the catcher and Jonilonis came home, scoring the go-ahead run.

With two outs and runners on second and third, left fielder DANIKA MUNOZ (1B, 2 RBI) dug in with a second chance to do some damage after a disappointing double play in the previous inning. Munoz indeed broke through, lining the 1-0 pitch into right-center and driving in both runners, before being tagged for the third out while celebrating the big hit.

Ramuno (2.1 IP, 4 K) closed out the game with little drama, allowing one baserunner and striking out four over the final two innings.

With the victory, Helix (9-1 overall) extends its win streak to eight games. The Highlanders’ next game is scheduled for Wednesday when they will visit the University City Centurions in another Falcon Fiesta affair.

More Prime Time

On Thursday, the Scotties will host another ballgame under the lights with a 6 p.m.tilt against Torrey Pines, which featured former Helix standout Julie (Bohe) Neubauer, a two-time East County softball coach of the year for Steele Canyon in 2006 and ’07, as a Falcons assistant coach.

The late start will feature a barbecue as a fund-raiser, so those who normally can’t attend an afternoon start should be more able to arrive after work.

Helix will also play a prime-time clash with Santana on Monday, Apr. 26.

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