GMC: Division IV race gets complicated

Morse's Alex Leyva following the victory over West Hills. / Morse Baseball

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

 

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

EL CAJON —- Both of East County’s CIF Division IV schools lost narrow, one-run decisions, hindering their seeding for the San Diego Section playoffs.

West Hills and Foothills Christian, rated second and third, respectively, among schools with the best records in the division, fell on Tuesday (Apr. 20). The Wolf Pack stopped a 12-11 decision at Morse, while Foothills’ Knights were stopped at the finish by Mar Vista, 4-3.

Morse 12, West Hills 11 (9 inn.)

SKYLINE —- The Morse Tigers tattooed the West Hills pitching staff for 20 hits — 19 singles and a double by freshman Alex Leyva — to outlast the Wolf Pack in nine innings, 12-11, in a Dickens-GMC Tournament pool-play ballgame.

A wild finish saw the Pack move even in the seventh inning with a two-out rally. One strike away from a loss, Ryan Parker boomed a double to left-center field, followed by a game-tying double from Connor Evans.

West Hills later added two runs in the ninth with more clutch hitting. With two down and the score tied at 9-all, Shane Mailloux (walk) would score on another base hit by Parker, who scored on an Evans triple.

However, the Tigers won without registering an out.

After loading the bases (walk-single-walk), freshman catcher Aeron Salvador singled to cut the deficit in half, then Leyva lined an 0-2 pitch to center for the game-winning, 2-run blow.

For the Wolf Pack, Evans batted 4-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored. Evans is now batting .410 this season. Kyle Dobyns added three hits for three RBI.

The Tigers snapped the 5-game winning streak by West Hills (9-4).

Morse (8-5) is off to its best start since opening 9-4 in 2015.

Mar Vista 4, Foothills Christian 3

SPRING VALLEY —- With the race for higher seeding in the CIF-San Diego Section Division IV race in the balance, Foothills Christian first baseman Seth Gilbody delivered a clutch, two-run, single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning. However, the Knights fell one short in falling to Mar Vista, 6-5, in Tuesday’s (Apr. 20) tournament pool-play contest held at Mount Miguel.

Gilbody, the region’s fourth-leading hitter among lower-division schools, finished with three RBI.

The season series between the clubs is not level at 2-each,  with a rare fifth meeting slated for next Tuesday. Foothills Christian holds a 9-4 record after its 3-games win streak was snapped. Mar Vista (8-4) has won seven straight.

The teams hold the third-and-fourth best overall records in the division, so it conceivable more contests could be held between them when the postseason arrives.

In the fifth inning, the Mariners scored three times to take a 3-2 lead, only to watch the Knights draw even in the home-half of the frame when Kip Famolaro doubled, then scored one of his three runs on a two-out base hit by Taylor Casey.

“The pitcher was throwing me only fastballs and I was able to get some hits off of them,” Casey said. “Both teams showed up to play, we just lost because of errors.

Mar Vista senior Ryan Bell smacked a ringing RBI double in the sixth for what proved to be the game-winning RBI, but the Knights battled back in the seventh.

Zach Ortiz accepted a leadoff walk, then Famolaro was hit by a pitch with one out. Colby Johnson, the club’s leading hitter, was walked to load the bases. However, Mariners relief pitcher Devon King sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around Gilbody’s hit to save the game for Dante Pacheco(6 IP, 6 Ks).

Famolaro also registered seven whiffs but fell one out short of a complete game due to pitch count limitations.

“Mar Vista has proven to be a good team,” Famolaro said. “I missed some locations in big situations and they made me pay. My team backed me up with runs against a good pitcher. We had this game won. I won’t be sleeping well tonight to say the least.”

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