East County Sports

Patriots win series opener over Vikings




EastCountySports.com staff report


EL CAJON – Unquestionably, the Christian High Patriots have had a successful season thus far. But their losses to formidable opponents made the Pats hungry for a win they could hang their hat on.

The 13th-ranked Patriots got that and more in an Eastern League series-opening win over 10th-ranked La Jolla, 11-3, on Monday.

With the win, Christian moved to 4-0 in league play, ahead of their championship rivals this season, the Vikings, and 3-0 Mission Bay. The two foes from Monday play two more games this week on Wednesday and Thursday.

With in-season losses so far to St. Augustine, Santana, Montgomery, and these same Vikings, the Patriots hadn’t necessarily defeated a team of at least equal ilk this season.

Until Monday.

Christian scored five runs in the fourth inning, as Ashton McCurty doubled to drive in a run, then Hunter Kaul doubled home a run, and Xavier Farnum singled for two more RBI.

“We knew (the La Jolla starting pitcher Gavin Graf) threw a lot of curveballs,” Farnum said. “It was our third time through, so we just had to sit back and hit one through the middle or poke one out to right and keep the inning moving.”

Christian picked up five more runs in the sixth as McCurty, Josh Meekins, and Nate Cena (ground-rule double) all drove in runs.

“The fourth inning was the turning point,” McCurty said. “It was just hit after hit and everyone was keeping the energy up so much that we continued to bat through the lineup.”

Vaughn Major allowed five hits and three runs over 6 1/3 innings, striking out eight and walking one for the victory.

“Vaughn threw a gem to keep us in the game,” Kaul said. “We wanted to ‘elevate and celebrate’ and that’s what we did. Talking up teammates is the norm in baseball but I feel like our dugout does it differently. We are all-in for each other. Our freshmen Xavier and Ashton came up clutch.”

Christian thought it had a home run early when Braeden Ross, who was named a Cal-Hi Sports stat star of the week earlier in the day for his efforts last week, appeared to clear the fence with one of his long shots, but the play was ruled a catch, as the fielder was ruled to have caught the ball for a spectacular out.

La Jolla scored a couple of runs in the third inning but Shane Bailey continued his torrid hitting run with a base hit in the bottom half during a rally in which Xavier Farnum hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1.

“I said we were going to show La Jolla who we really were and we did that,” Bailey said. “We’re going to show them again later this week.”

Bailey, who went 3-for-4 has 12 hits in his last 13 at-bats. Seriously.

“I have been focusing on staying simple and not do too much,” Bailey said. “This helps my approach and allows me to hit line drives and stay up the middle.”

The middle game is set for Wednesday, while the finale on Thursday is back here at Christian High.


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