East County Sports

GMC: Hillers’ Vasiliou stating his case

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

SCRIPPS RANCH —- Grossmont senior Evan Vasiliou is making his bid for East County pitcher of the year.

The left-hander was an integral part of the Foothillers’ third shutout of the season, blanking host Scripps Ranch on five hits in an 8-0 whitewash in the Bill Dickens-GMC Classic tournament ballgame.

“Evan is one of the best players in the county and he’s proving it,” Grossmont head coach Jordan Abruzzo said. “We are really playing well.”

Vasiliou, who went six innings in a pair of shutouts of Cathedral Catholic earlier this season, again went six frames on Monday (Apr. 19), striking out seven Falcons batters. He came out in case he’s needed for a potential start should the Hillers advance to Saturday’s championship ballgame.

“The most effective pitch was probably my changeup and I had a good feel of my curveball and slider,” Vasiliou said.

Vasiliou lowered his earned-run average to 1.04, the top figure among East County pitchers. He was supported by two quick runs in the first inning, then six more in the fifth.

Vasiliou opened the contest with a double, scoring moments later on Noah Barnes base hit. He scored after an error and a Caleb Hommel single.

In the fifth, immediately after Vasiliou escaped a bases-loaded situation,  seven straight Hillers reached base, including a 2-run triple by Barnes and an RBI double from Isaiah Gomez, who entered the day as the batting average leader (.548) among Grossmont District schools.

Barnes, the center fielder, went 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs, and three RBI for Grossmont (12-2).

“Our team has undoubtedly put in the work to get to where we are this season,” Barnes said. “We have talent with our bats and our pitching, which is all coming together right now and it is showing in every game. If we keep putting the work in and doing our jobs offensively and defensively, we are going to continue to be a solid team and tough to beat.”

Scripps Ranch, which booted the ball five times, fell to 7-5.

Santana 4, Point Loma 1

POINT LOMA —- East County Baseball’s history with Point Loma dates back decades, many times in revenge situations. One such example came in 1960, when Helix right-hander John Lippert fired a season-opening no-hitter to make up for a Grossmont District setback one year prior.

On Monday (Apr. 19), one game removed from a 27-1 demolition of Valhalla, Santana had the back of g the Norsemen by shutting down the host Pointers, 4-1, in Dickens-GMC Tournament action.

Paced in a pressure situation, the Pointers committed a key, sixth-inning error, allowing two unearned runs to score an important insurance run to snap a 1-1 deadlock to the victory to the Sultans.

However, Santana earned the go-ahead run with clutch hitting.

Cole Contreras, who entered the afternoon with a level .400 batting average, dropped a one-out single to the left side, moving to thrid base on a double by cleanup hitter Ethan Wright.

Tyler Begg followed with a deep sacrifice fly to left, allowing Contreras to register the go-ahead run. And when an error for a run and an RBI double by Jason Gonzalez followed, that was all needed by Sultans pitcher Dean Landers.

“Begg has been swinging the bat well over the past couple of games,” Gonzalez said. “I felt really comfortable at the plate and was seeing the ball well, I felt like we did a really good job defensively. Landers had a great game on the mound and our defense had his back.

Landers, a senior, struck out seven Pointers in his complete-game effort. in just his second start of the season. The only hit allowed was a solo homer by third baseman Deuce Gourson in the third.

“It was a tight game,” Landers said. “Our defense and timely hitting helped us secure another win. Gonzo and Beggs continue to contribute to our success both offensively and defensively.. I had a great defense behind me, making my job easy. We feel like we can compete with anybody.”

Santana (8-4) has won three of four. Point Loma dropped to 8-5 overall.

Monte Vista 9, Montgomery 4

SPRING VALLEY —- The rising Monte Vista Monarchs posted their biggest inning against a quality opponent all season.

On Monday (Apr. 19), the Monarchs snapped a 2-2 deadlock with six runs in the fifth inning to upset visiting Montgomery, 9-4, in tournament pool-play action.

Andy Canedo led the offense with a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, with two runs and a pair of RBI. Meanwhile, Ernie Arambula, who entered the week with the top batting average among Grossmont Valley League schools, drove in the go-ahead run with a double in the fifth.

The bow was enough to give Canedo the pitching win. He allowed just four hits and one earned run over his six innings to win for the third time in his last four starts.

“It was a great game all around,” Canedo said. “I had my team backing me up on defense and the sticks were solid today for us to secure a big win.”

David Vegas opened the decisive inning with a lead single to left field, then took three bases to score when Arambula sent a drive over the right fielder. He scored and Canedo followed with an RBI single.

“I did my job to bring in some runs,” Arambula said. “I was very relaxed and had an (opposite field) approach.”

Other key hits included a run-scoring single by Justyn Stone, then three runs scored on a single by pinch-hitter Chris Lybarger.

“I came up with the bases loaded and was looking for a pitch to hit and I just drove one to left-center,” Lybarger said.

The Monarchs (6-6) level their record after winning for the third time in four outings.

“It was easily our best game of the year,” Monte Vista head coach Craig Neu said. “Andy pitched a great game and the defense was great. Lybarger coming off the bench for a bases-clearing double was a huge play in the game.”

For the Aztecs, shortstop Benji SolanoC knocked in three runs.  Montgomery (8-4-1) had won four of five.

La Jolla Country Day 4, Patrick Henry 2

GOLDEN TRIANGLE —- Patrick Henry pitcher Ryan Ellis fired a 2-hitter Monday (Apr. 19), but an error on a sacrifice bunt led to an unearned run, the difference allowing La Jolla Country Day to edge the Patriots, 4-2.

The second-inning sacrifice gave the Torreys a 2-0, with Patrick Henry unable to completely close the deficit.

Ellis struck out eight LJCDS batters over five innings,

Both ball clubs scored in the fifth. The Patriots loaded the bases, then scored on a double-play grounder. However, the Torreys’ all-around standout Ben Pajak countered with a 2-run homer for a 4-1 lead.

Pajak, the starting pitcher, tossed five solid innings to collect the victory. He was followed on the mound by Payton Wallace (hold) and Chris Esquivel (save).

Patrick Henry (8-4) saw its 7-game win streak eclipsed. LJCDS is now 8-4, winners in four straight following an extra-inning setback.

Cathedral Catholic 5, Granite Hills 4

CARMEL HIGHLANDS —- Light might finally be at the end of the metaphoric tunnel for the Cathedral Catholic Dons. And the victim was Granite Hills.

The Dons saw the first bright spot to their season by scoring twice in the bottom of the seventh to walk off the Eagles, 5-4, eliminating the guests from championship consideration in the Bill Dickens-GMC Classic tournament on Monday (Apr. 19).

Senior first baseman Gavin Nalu lined a clutch, two-run single, scoring both sophomore Cody Nitowitz senior Luke Downing with the deciding runs.

“(Nalu) hit it to the right-center field gap,” said Granite Hills’ Austin Smith. “We didn’t finish out the game. We got quiet and lazy and stopped putting up runs.”

Cathedral Catholic (5-7 overall) won its second straight ballgame for the first time all season. Otherwise, it’s the school’s poorest start since relocated from Linda Vista nearly 20 years ago.

Granite Hills (8-5) held leads of 1-0 and 4-1 despite producing just four hits off Dons starter Matt Allen, The victory went to Maverick Helfert with two frames of no-hit relief.

Nitowitz  and Shea Linnehan had two hits each for Cathedral.

The Eagles received RBI hits from Smith, Ethan McNish-Heider, and Hudson Beamon.

Noa Ponciano went the distance but scattered nine hits while allowing a walk and striking out five.

“I missed locations with all pitches and that was a big part of the loss,” Ponciano said. “Everyone on the team is working at the plate to do a job. We need to gear up for the next game and recover from these tough losses.”

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