East County Sports

GMC: Cougars, Highlanders win

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff report
RANCHO SAN DIEGO —- Steele Canyon is starting to play its best baseball of the season just in time — Grossmont Hills League play commences next week — winning for the seventh time in ten starts after posting its most one-sided triumph of the season, 19-6, over visiting University City in Monday’s (Apr 19) Bill-Dickens-GMC Tournament ballgame.

Cougar third baseman Sebastian Granados, the club’s top hitter, batted 2-for-4 with a double.

The Cougars leaped to a 5-0 lead, but when the Centurions posted three times in the third, Steele Canyon responded with right markers in the third to put this one away early.

The big inning featured a 2-run single by Weston Clark, (3-for-5, three runs, three RBI) and a 3-run double by Tommy Molina.

“All of us were seeing the ball out of the pitcher’s hand very well,” Molina said. “We discuss with each other what the pitcher throws and how hard he might throw. We always help each other as much as we can so our team can get this as we did in that third inning.”

Steele Canyon (7-4) saw Jake Entrekin (3-for-4, four RBI) capped the scoring with a solo home run, moving into a tie for third place among East County long-ball leaders.

“It was a hanging curveball,” said Entrekin, a Point Loma Nazarene commit. “It was a decent sho to left, nothing crazy. It felt good. We were putting up runs the whole game but we ended it there in that inning.”

The first baseman also caught the ball on game-ending double play, turned from third baseman Travis Eccher to Clark at shortstop to Entrekin.

“We had a couple of errors but it really didn’t matter in the scheme since we hit well,” Entrikin said.

The Cougars used a committee approach on the hill which is a lot more palatable for a coach when the offense puts up 19 runs.

Brandon Jackel, a sophomore, got things started with one inning of work, allowing just a walk.

Cannon Restine also pitched a shut-out frame, as did Ray Ferrero and Matt Bucaro.

“Jackel had a great start especially for it to be his first game back from injury,” Ferrero said. “University City got a couple of runs and we knew that we had to get the bats going and ice the game. “After the third inning, everyone was fired up and we had the mentality of ‘all gas, no breaks.’ Once the team all got going no one was going to slow us down.

The Cents (5-7) received two hits each from Gavin Scurr, Curran Bledsoe, and Nico Villalobos.

Helix 5, Madison 3

CLAIREMONT MESA —- Twenty years ago, California community college coaches agreed to form “super leagues,” with the best teams always facing other strong programs.

Problem: despite the coaches’ egos, half the teams had to lose which led to hard feelings from the sides on the short side of the scoreboard.

No one is saying Helix or Madison are complaining about playing almost exclusively against other CIF Division I competition. However, Monday’s (Apr. 19) matchup could prove to be a confidence boost with the league play commencing next week.

The “feel good” victory went to the Highlanders, which received offensive production from all segments of their batting order for the first time this season– in fact, all nine started registered base hits —  in a 5-3 win in the Bill Dickens-GMC Tournament .

Jake Perez batted 2-for-3 with an RBI double to take over the lead in team batting. Meanwhile, Anthony Matthiesen, the leadoff batter for most of the season, also added two hits from the No. 7 slot.

“We played a lot better today with great aggressive approaches at the plate,” Perez said. “Our great pitchers set the tone for us.”

The change allowed both halves of the lineup to relax and ignite for three runs in the first inning in the gate-to-wire triumph.

James Whitman stroked a run-scoring double to open the scoring, bring home Aidan Perez (lead single). Matthiesen followed with a single for only his second RBI this season, then a third run came home on a passed ball.

“I’ve been working on being more aggressive in the count and I saw a fastball middle-middle and I knew I could handle it,” Whitman said.

For Helix (4-7), starting pitcher Ben Haar overcame a slow start to close with 4 1/3 frames of shutout ball over his five frames. Closer Wyatt Laub retired all five Warhawks batters he faced for the save.

“We improved greatly as a team today not just with our physical performance but with the energy and mentality that we had coming into the game,” Laub said. It was a great feeling to know that they turned to me to shut them down in the last couple of innings, especially with it being only my second pitching appearance of the season. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy but my goal was to come in and throw strikes, get weak contact and let my defense do the work and we ended up getting the job done.”

Madison (5-7) was limited to just three hits, including doubles by Maddox Haley and Lawson Minshew.

Eastlake 13, Valhalla 4

CHULA VISTA —- The Eastlake Titans pitching staff mounted 16 strikeouts Monday *(Apr. 19), posting their fourth consecutive triumph — all against Grossmont District schools — by roughing up Valhalla, 13-4, in Dickens-GMC pool play action.

Titans starting pitcher Ethan Lizama fanned seven over his three innings, but came out to save his innings for a potential championship game appearance this weekend. Thus, reliever Isaiah Martinez was assigned the victory by striking out the side in his one frame from out f the bullpen.

Eastlake (10-3) held a 3-2 lead through t three innings but tallied 10 times over the following three innings to pull away.

The first three batters on the Titans lineup card — Isaiah Lane, shortstop Marcelo Mayer, and Nico Vallarelli — each posted three RBI. Included was a 2-run homer by Mayer,

Eastlake has now played five straight GUHSD opponents, losing to Grossmont before starting its win streak. During the stretch, Mayer left his mark by batting 6-for-12 (.500), with five homers (a grand slam) and 16 RBI — four in three straight contests).

For Valhalla (4-8), right fielder Colin Scribner batted 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Calvin Christian 16, Mountain Empire 9

CAMPO —- Mountain Empire senior Jacobe Noland added to his East County lead with two RBI on Monday (Apr. 19), but nine RedHawks errors allowed an assortment of unearned runs in falling to Calvin Christian, 16-9,  Both ballclubs entered with identical 3-3 overall records.

Noland, who has knocked in 23 runs this season, stroked a run-scoring double in the first inning for a 2-1 lead. The margin went to 5-3, but the Crusaders took the lead with three runs in the fourth, then six additional runs (five unearned( in the fifth.

The catcher was also involved in a controversial play that went the RedHawks’ way.

With Calvin Christian leading 12-6 in the fifth, they tried to steal home plate. However, relief pitcher Frank Hatmaker noticed the runner breaking, stepped off the rubber,then fired the ball to Noland for the out to prevent the Crusaders from running up the score.

Along with Noland, first baseman Alexander Schachner recorded two RBI in just his second varsity appearance for Mountain Empire (3-4).


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