East County Sports

East powers get by strong opponents



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff report


EL CAJON —- The status quo remained in Grossmont Conference baseball on Wednesday (May 19), with ballclubs rated higher in the standings all expanding their leads over second-division opponents.

Among individual players, names you will read as members of the All-East County team at the conclusion of the season were again prominent. The better news: players which will not normally qualify for postseason honors did not roll over, with some of their teams giving the big boys a push.

Santana 15, Monte Vista 4

SANTEE —- The shutout streak by the Santana Sultans pitching staff came to an end following 23 1/3 innings, but when Monte Vista snapped the streak with a big, four-run outburst, the bats of Santana were more than willing to make up the slack in a 15-4 decision in Wednesday’s lone Grossmont Valley League contest.

With the hosts holding a 5-0 advantage, a leadoff error opened the floodgates for the Monarchs, hammering four hits in the third inning. Included was an RBI double by Ernie Arambula and a 2-run single by Jacob Savoy.

However, Monte Vista would move no closer as Santana pitcher KodaAlto maintained by picking off a baserunner for the third out. Then his teammates quickly responded with three runs in the home half of the frame, then seven additional runs in the fourth.

Alto then put a “stop” t to the Monarchs by starting a new shutout streak, finishing with seven strikeouts without issuing a walk over six innings. Alto ran his record to 8-0, maintaining his East County lead with Grossmont’s Evan Vasiliou, who also won earlier in the afternoon.

The triumph snapped the virtual tie for first place between the ball clubs. Both sides were even in the Games Behind column after a pair of Santana contests were canceled when El Cajon Valley vacated the balanced of its schedule.

The Sultans (16-4 overall, 5-0 GVL) are expected to announce a par of makeup ballgames with Monte Vista (11-9, 5-2 GVL), expanding the season series to five outings.

For Santana, leadoff batter and second baseman Elijah Reber again set the table, scoring three times by batting 2-for-4 and reaching on an error. Meanwhile, catcher Ethan Wright drove in two runs to start the scoring in the first, followed by a sacrifice fly from Tyler Begg.

“We just went into the game with one approach and stuck to that approach all game,” Wright said. “Our whole team had an outstanding game and it’s not over yet. We are coming out every game better and better.”

Cole Contreras posted a game-best three RBI, while Jason Gonzalez had the only extra-base hit among 12 knocks by the Sultans, as his two-run double highlighted the 7-run outburst in the fourth.

“I felt really good at the plate today,” Gonzalez said. “Our team came out swinging and we all contributed to getting the win.”

Monte Vista received two hits from Savoy, while the Monarchs defense turned a double play on a tap-and-throw by Arambula, the shortstop, to cap the first inning. BOXSCORE

Grossmont 8, Helix 2

LA MESA —- Grossmont pitcher Evan Vasiliou ran his record to 8-0 to keep pace with Santana’s Koda Alto for the best record among East County pitchers, going six strong innings to power the Foothillers past historic rival Helix, 8-2.

Vasiliou registered eight strikeouts against just a single walk, Only one run was earned, raising his earned-run average by a minuscule 0.10 to 1.15 — second behind only Noa Ponciano of Granite Hills (0.98).

Meanwhile, the “Lumber Company” came back into prominence with three more home runs, including a pair from Caleb Hommel.

Isaiah Gomez opened the scoring with a solo homer in the first inning, coming moments after Helix turned a double play. The shot was Gomez’ ninth of the season, moving into third place in CIF San Diego Section HR standings.

An inning later, Vasiliou collected an RBI double, then Hommel started his impressive outing at the plate which saw the third baseman garner five RBI.

After Vasiliou made it 2-0, Hommel capped a 5-run outburst in the second with a grand slam, bringing home Vasiliou, Noah Barnes (walk), and Gomez (single). Hommel later added a solo home run in the fourth for a 7-0 cushion in his 3-for-3 outing.

“We have a great team and we just have to take it one game at a time and one pitch at a time and good things are going to happen,” Hommel said.

The Scotties’ James Whitman accounted for both Helix runs with a two-run homer to center field in the fourth. Also, scoring was Aidan Perez, who reached second base on an error, then third on a wild pitch.

The Hillers (21-4 overall, 7-2 GHL) remain one full game behind front-running Granite Hills. The ballclubs have one head-to-head meeting left, coming on Tue., June 1 — the next-to-last day of the regular season — to be contested at Grossmont’s Gizoni Field.

The only other hit for Helix (10-12, 4-5 GHL) was a Trevor Young single.

Granite Hills 8, Valhalla 4

RANCHO SAN DIEGO —- Granite Hills pitcher Ryan Krushensky literally “crushed” the dreams of an upset bid by host Valhalla, gaining the save in Grossmont Hills League action on Wednesday.

After the Norsemen tallied three times to move within 4-3 n the fifth inning, Krushensky constructed a friendly conclusion to the inning. The senior coaxed a pair of fly balls for outs, then tacked on two additional innings of shutout ball to save the victory for Eagles starter Chandler Henry.

“Can’t thank Ryan enough for coming in and closing it out without allowing another run,” Henry said. “It was a little rough in that inning.”

The decision allows Granite Hills to preserve its 1-game GHL lead over second-place Grossmont.

Following Krushensky’s escape in the fifth, the Eagles responded with three runs in the fifth to reestablish their four-run cushion.

Valhalla heavily contributed with runners reaching on a dropped third strike and a traditional error to a run. A walk and two outs later, Ethan McNish-Heider hammered a two-run double to center field to make it an 8-4 ballgame.

“Our coach (James Davis) just said sit on only your pitch and attack,” McNish-Heider said. “We needed more than an insurance run, so we discussed getting those runs back.”

McNish-Heider, Grant MacArthur, and Camden Sos contributed two hits each for Granite Hills (17-6 overall, 8-1 GHL).

“We all knew what we had to do and that’s what we did,” Sos said.

MacArthur raised his batting average to .418, moving among the top ten on the East County leaderboard.

For Valhalla (5-17, 1-8 GHL) received two hits from leadoff batter Nick Medrano and Trey Henige.  Madrano and teammates Colin Scribner, Matty Tellous, and Riley Hughes each slugged doubles.

Steele Canyon 5, West Hills 2

RANCHO SAN DIEGO —- Steele Canyon pitcher Ray Marrero fired five innings of 2-hit shutout, leading the Cougars to a whipping of West Hills in GHL action on Wednesday.

Marrero, who doesn’t qualify for the East County pitcher leading because of a lack of innings, will move into the rankings next week. He earned his second start of the season by limiting Valhalla to just one earned run last week, then continued his late-season dominance to run his record to a perfect 4-0.

Should Marrero continue to pitch well and post at least one additional quality start, the third-place Cougars will stay in the running to catch Granite Hills and Grossmont in contention for the GHL pennant.

Steele Canyon staked Marrero to a 5-0 advantage, scoring twice in the second, then three additional markers in the fifth.

In the second, Alfredo Flores doubled home Tommy Molina (lead single). Flores  then came home on a Spencer Campillo basehit.

The fifth saw  Will James single in Taylor Corella (lead double). Moments later, catcher Jake Entrekin pumped a two-run homer to left field.

For Entrekin, the blast was his sixth homer of the season, giving him 19 extra-base hits on the season. That total is more than half of his season ledger of 36, raising his batting average to .461 to move back into contention for the East County batting title.

For Steele Canyon (15-8, 6-3 GHL), James Entrekin and Taylor Corella recorded two hits each.

West Hills (11-12, 1-8 GHL) received singles from Ryan Rodgers, Ezekiel Sadler, and Eron Drake.


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