East County Sports

Classic Foothillers win GMC in last AB





By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer 

LA MESA —- For the third time this season — and the second time this week — the Grossmont Foothillers offered nothing but heartbreak to the Eastlake Titans after defeating them in walk-off style in Saturday’s (Apr. 24) Classic Division championship of the Bill Dickens-GMC  Tournament.The first two times, the Hillers won on walk-off home runs. This time, with a power hitter at the plate, it was a 2-run single up the middle by Caleb Hommel which allowed the Hillers to hoist the trophy following a 5-4 triumph.The Dickens Awards, as selected by the media, went to Grossmont’s Evan Vasiliou as the most outstanding pitcher, while Eastlake shortstop Marcelo Mayer was the clear front-runner for most outstanding player. Both were their respective team’s leadoff batter.

Vasiliou struck out 16 batters over 16 tournament innings without yielding an earned run to either Cathedral Catholic, Scripps Ranch, and then the Titans.

Editor’s note: Since this story was posted, Grossmont updated its statistics and did charge Vasiliou with one earned run during the tournament.

The two runs that did score were unearned in the first inning by Eastlake, but the Hillers also scored twice in the first trip to the plate before the contest became a pitchers’ duel.

Mayer left his mark by emulating the Grossmont Lumber Company in terms of home runs. Over six tournament contests, Mayer pounded out three long-balls, including a grand slam against Santana for the game’s only runs, and batted .333 with 12 RBI all against Grossmont District schools.

Trailing in the seventh, Grossmont (14-2 overall)  seniors Isaiah Gomez and Justin Brown both took leadoff walks. With Hommel at the plate, both Gomez and pinch-runner Joaquin Baez advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch, leaving an open base for Hommel.

However, instead of issuing a free pass, Eastlake continued to pitch to Hommel, first for a called strike, then a sharp grounder through the pitching mound and into center field.

And the Foothillers were bouncing again for the fourth time overall this season.

“I was just hunting a fastball and got the pitch I was looking to hit and put a good barrel on it,” Hommel said. “It just happened to score both runs.”

Vasiliou came out after four frames, limited to the 10 innings per week rule. But the bullpen failed to contain a 3-2 lead.

In the fifth with one out, a single, double, and walk loaded the bases. Cleanup hitter Ethan Lizama followed with a game-tying RBI base hit, then Ray Cebulski (who doubled) came home on a wild pitch.

But errors and wild pitches were not how Grossmont wanted to bow out of the championship game.

Grossmont’s initial comeback in the first saw the first three batters reach on an error, walk and a single. With the bases loaded, Brown singled into left field for one run, then Hommel singled to right field to draw the Hillers even in starting his three-RBI performance.

Grossmont took its first lead in the second when Noah Barnes started a two-out rally with a double, Gomez walked, then Barnes secured a 3-2 lead on a base hit by Brown (2-for-3, two RBI), the cleanup hitter.

“It’s an amazing feeling getting the three-game sweep over an Open Division team like Eastlake,” Brown said. “We had amazing pitching this week and big hits when they were needed.”

Foothillers relief pitcher Mason Dirkes registered the final two outs in the seventh to collect the victory.

“It was a great job by Mason to keep the game where it was and give us a chance to win it,” Hommel said.

Note: This event has been operating for decades, but it was the 10th anniversary since Bill Dickens’ name was attached for the 2011 tournament.

Year    Bill Dickens GMC (Grossmont-Metro-City) Tournament
2021 A: Grossmont 5, Eastlake 4 (walk-off 2-run single by Caleb Hommel)
B: La Jolla 5, Christian 2
C: La Jolla Country Day 4, Patrick Henry 2
A: Grossmont 8, Cathedral Catholic 2 (at GH)
B: Bonita Vista 15, Christian 1
C: Olympian 7, Mission Bay 2
A: Eastlake 13, Helix 1
B: Christian 10, Valhalla 8 (walk-off grand slam by frosh Trent Nielsen)
C: Monte Vista 4, Mater Dei Catholic 4 (8 inn.)


A: Eastlake 5, Granite Hills 4 (at Madison)
B: Christan 7, Montgomery 3 (at Madison
C: Chula Vista 5, Monte Vista 1
Bill Dickens-City East Classic
2016 A: Grossmont 2, Cathedral Catholic 1 (at GH)
B: Santana vs. Mira Mesa, ccd.
Bill Dickens Grossmont Conference Tournament
Championship Results (since 2001)
Grossmont 7, at Steele Canyon 2
Valhalla 6, at Helix 4
at Valhalla 6, Grossmont 5 (8 inn.)
El Capitan 11, at Grossmont 6 (11 inn.)
Helix 4, at El Capitan 22
at Valhalla 8, Santana 7
Helix 5, at Santana 1
El Capitan 7, at Granite Hills 2
Valhalla 5, at West Hills 4
Santana 6, at Valhalla 5
Granite Hills 11, at El Capitan 3
Grossmont 12, at Granite Hills 12, tie (7 inn., darkness)
El Capitan 9, at Mount Miguel 7
El Capitan 4, at Helix 2
at El Capitan 9, Valhalla 4
Prior to 2011, event went by either Grossmont Conference Tournament or Grossmont North/South Tournament.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *