East County Sports

Cougars need nine to beat Highlanders




By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer


RANCHO SAN DIEGO —- Kudos to the remarkable job turned in by Helix High baseball coach Cole Holland. The winner of four consecutive league titles, the long-time Scotties skipper was one crown away from the all-time Grossmont Conference record.

Then the 2020 season was lost to COVID-19, then a ton of top prospects were lost to graduation, leaving the roster full of youngsters who may grow into another title contender.

All Helix can do now as the Grossmont Hills League enters the third and final round of action is to play the role of spoiler and ruin the aspirations of either Granite Hills, Grossmont or Steele Canyon.

On Monday (May 24), it was a desperate Steele Canyon ballclub that needs to sweep the final five contests to gain a shot at the pennant, but it almost slipped away in the first outing in the final five.

However, the Cougars barely survived.

Steele Canyon tied Helix with a run in the sixth, then won it in the bottom of the ninth to take a 5-4 walk-off decision over the Highlanders.

Weston Clark belted a one-out triple, so Will James was intentionally walked, which left Holland with a tough decision: pitch to Jake Entrekin, who is perhaps the hottest player in East County over the last three weeks, for also walk Entrekin to load the bases to face cleanup hitter Sebastian Granados.

Neither choice was ideal; Helix elected to pitch to Entrekin, and the Cougars’ senior catcher lined a game-winning base hit to left field.

“I wasn’t seeing the ball super good today but finally got a pitch I could handle and ended it,” Entrekin said. “I’ve faced the pitcher and caught him many times so I know his stuff and was able to jump on something early.”

In addition to his triple, Clark also doubled.

“The pitch was a little outside and all I was thinking was to find a gap and that is what happened,” Clark said of his ninth-inning hit. “I just ran as fast a s I could and then Jake got that hit and I knew we had won.”

The walk-off knock made a winner of Granados, normally a starting pitcher, but was called upon for three innings of shutout relief. Granados struck out five Scotties batters and yielded just two hits to run his record to 6-3.

It’s not the first time for Granados to be summoned from the bullpen.

Granados was called to pitch in the seventh immediately after Steele Canyon tied the contest on a two-out rally.

The Highlanders thought they were in control when Cougars corner infielder Nate Custeau slammed a double to right field but was nailed at third base in an attempt for a triple.

The relay saw right fielder Demarae Woods fire a strike to second baseman Wyatt Laub, then sent the relay to third baseman Aiden Perez.

However, Steele Canyon took advantage of an ensuing walk to Diego Ceniceros, who tallied the game-tying run moments later on a line double by Clark.

The see-saw battle saw the contest tied or the lead changed four times.

The Helix offense was paced by Perez, who slammed a pair of home runs to run his season total to five. Both were go-ahead shot.

Perez struck a leadoff liner to center in the fourth for a 2-1 lead. He later added a two-run shot to left for a 5-4 lead in the fifth.

In between the long-balls, Helix turned the first of its two double plays, going from shortstop Cameron Tarling, to second baseman Laub to Ben Haar at first. The play prevented Steele Canyon from expanding a lead they gained two batters earlier on.

Perez would’ve had another chance in the ninth, but instead, he was hit by a pitch to load the bases, then Granados escaped the jam on a strikeout.

Steele Canyon (17-8 overall, 8-3 GHL), which received three hits from James, remains two games behind Granite Hills and one game behind Grossmont.

Custeau hit a two-run home run for SC in the fourth.

“We have to get the bats rolling again like usual,” Entrekin said. “Hopefully, today gets it done for us.”

Helix (10-14, 4-7 GHL) needed just two batters to open the scoring. Trevor Young sent a 2-1 pitch to the fence in center for a triple, scoring moments later on Haar’s sacrifice fly.


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