East County Sports

Highlanders shine versus Vaqueros


By Adam Paul

LA MESA – In what has been quite the rivalry over the past few years as both the Helix Highlanders and El Capitan Vaqueros were on the same side of the conference but with COVID-19 impacting this season some maneuvering was made with teams and the Vaqueros were put in the Grossmont Valley League side while the Highlanders moved into the Grossmont Hills side of the league thus only one meeting this season. On Wednesday night, another piece of the rivalry was written after a year off.

Highlanders ace Sophia Ramuno (3-3, R, 2 RBI) struck out ten and threw a shutout to lead Helix (12-3) to an 8-0 victory on Wednesday (Apr. 28) evening.

“The feeling of a good outing is always good,” Ramuno said. “The defense with solid with our outfield making a lot of plays. Our hitting was alive.”

El Capitan (7-4), unfortunately, had no luck at all despite hitting the ball hard and right at the Helix defenders.

Both teams traded innings to start but in the bottom of the first inning Ramuno would drive in Jolene Giles (2-4, 2 R, 2B) to make it 1-0, Danika Munoz (3-4, 3 RBI, 2B) followed with an RBI double and later with two outs Kori Jonilonis (2-4, RBI) drove in Ramuno.

“It felt good to be able to contribute offensively,” Ramuno said. “I’ve been working hard on improving my swing and it’s finally getting somewhere. I am swinging at the right pitches and not dropping my shoulder. Staying level has been a good change for me.”

Vaqueros would threaten with two outs in the top of the third inning when Hailey Mulligan (1-4) singled and Brooklyn Fukushima (2-3, 2B) roped a double to put runners on second and third. Unfortunately, once again the luck went against the Vaqueros as Ava Gall hit a hard liner that was caught to end the inning.

After getting out of a jam in the top of the inning the Highlanders went to business right away as Bella Bordine (3-3, R, RBI, HR) belted her second home run of the season, this one a leadoff solo shot over the center-field fence to give Helix a 4-0 lead.

“We are a team with good chemistry,” Bordine said. “I was seeing the ball well today and they left one changeup too high and I just made the adjustment and capitalized on it. I have been working in the cage with my coaches. I squeezed in an extra hitting session just before the game today. When I get my reps in and watch the film on my swing, I am more successful and ready in the next game.”

Later in the top of the fifth inning, the Vaqueros would put runners on first and second with two outs thanks to a base hit by Fukushima and a walk by Gall. However, both would be stranded as Ramuno struck out Alex Burrough to end the inning.

Helix would extend their lead even further in the bottom half of the inning thanks to consecutive hits by Nicole Hernandez (2-3, 2 R, RBI) to score Green, Ramuno to score Giles, and Munoz that allowed Hernandez to come home.

Katy Hicks, Brandy Taylor, and Brooke Horn were the only other Vaqueros to have hits on the night.

Dayla McAuliffe took the loss for the Vaqueros as she surrendered eight runs on fifteen hits over her six innings of work while striking out four.



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