East County Sports

GHL: Foothillers, Cougars, Scotties win

Helix junior Wyatt Laub. / Dan Barnes

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

 

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

EL CAJON – Grossmont High senior Evan Vasiliou and his Foothillers teammates looked into the mirror and did not like what they saw.

The Hillers were once again ranked No. 1 in this week’s media rankings, yet had lost two of three. Then a look at the Grossmont Hills League standings also found the ballclub absent from both first and second place.

Vasiliou did his share, striking out six and not allowing an earned run to hand Granite Hills its first GHL loss of the season, 6-2, on Wednesday (May 12), gaining a split of the two-game series.

“I felt good out on the mound and the bats came alive,” Vasiliou said. “We hammer fastballs and that’s what we did today. It’s hard to pitch around us cause we are very solid offensively. And the defense played well today, too, and was pretty much lockdown with a diving catch. It’s good to have that when pitching.”

The decision dropped the Eagles into another first-place deadlock with Steele Canyon, which downed Valhalla, 16-4. Grossmont moved within a game of the co-leaders in a three-team race for the GHL flag.

The Hillers received a pair of doubles from GHL batting leader Isaiah Gomez (3-for-4), including a shot in the first when the visitors staked Vasiliou to a 3-0 advantage.

The Eagles took advantage of Grossmont errors in the sixth and seventh to get on the scoreboard.

Austin Smith singled in the first run, then Grant MacArthur stroked a lead double and scored on an error, but Vasiliou kept the damage to a minimum to avoid early elimination from the pennant race.

For Grossmont (18-4 overall, 4-2 GHL), center fielder Max Cadwalader added two hits and an RBI on a ground ball to the right side.

“If we’re going to make a run at winning this league, we will need our seniors to step up and they did that today,” Grossmont head coach Jordan Abruzzo said.

Granite Hills (14-6) saw Smith, the leadoff batter, collect three of the Eagles’ four base hits.

Steele Canyon 16, Valhalla 4

RANCHO SAN DIEGO —- Steele Canyon regained a share of first place in the Grossmont Hills League after scoring seven times in the third inning and again expel Valhalla, 16-4, to sweep a two-=game, home-and-home series on Wednesday (May 12).

The big inning turned a 4-1 ballgame into a double-digit rout.

Cougars leadoff batter Weston Clark ignited the offense with three hits and a walk, scoring all four times, as the hosts totaled 21 hits on the Norsemen. Ten of the hits went for doubles, including two each from Travis Eccher, Jake Entrekin, Taylor Corella, and Will James.

“Will (James) is a great player with tons of potential,” Entrekin said. “He really just scratching the surface with his athleticism.”

Winning pitcher Ray Marrero left after four innings with a 13-1 lead.

“I had all my pitches working,” Marrero said. “I probably threw my changeup a lot more than usual. I had a nice feel for it during warm-ups so I felt confident in throwing it today. It feels great to take two games from our rivals. Our pitching was fantastic in the two games we played them, with the offense putting up double digits. too. It definitely takes some of the pressure off of whoever is pitching, just knowing that we can explode for double-digit runs any given day.”

On the flip side, Valhalla’s Matty Tellous, the brother of recent former Cougars slugger Billy Tellous, needed to go all the way for the Norsemen (5-14 overall, 1-5 GHL).

Steele Canyon is 14-6 overall (5-1 GHL) as the league completed the first half of the season.

“Ray Marrero pitched really well to start the game off,” Entrekin said. “We played solid defense for the most part but Ray was striking out plenty, as well.

Helix 8, West Hills 2

LA MESA —- The decisive fifth inning saw West Hills assume a 2-1 lead only to watch host Helix answer with six runs to grab a 7-2 lead to turn a pitchers’ duel into a one-sided GHL triumph for the Highlanders.

Cameron Tarling doubled to start the big inning, then the next two batters reached on an error, bring home the game-tying and g-ahead runs.

Ben Haar and Jake Perez (2-for-4) also added RBI doubles, then Wyatt Laub lifted a sacrifice fly. All six runs were unearned, but Laub, the starting pitcher, wasn’t complaining after gaining the victory with six solid innings and allowing just one earned run.

“The offense started off a little slow but really came around in that fifth when we were able to execute some good situational hitting,” Laub said. “Pitching with a lead like that is always comforting, and also led to me going to the fastball a majority of the time. When I would locate that pitch both inside and out, I found I was able to get weak contact. The defense made some good plays behind me. We’re just looking to carry some momentum into the next one (at home against Valhalla on Friday).”

Aiden Perez had an RBI single for Helix, while Demarae Woods also doubled home a run.

West Hills broke a 1-1 deadlock when John Leija singled, moved to second base on a balk, then came home on an RBI single from Owen Rodgers.

Rodgers, and his brother Ryan, each had two of the Pack’s six hits.

With the victory, Helix (8-11 overall, 2-4 GHL) moves into fourth place. West Hills (11-9, 1-5 GHL) pitcher Kyle Dobyns took the loss despite yielding just one earned run over 4 1/3 innings.

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