East County Sports

HILLS: Foothillers get the message

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

 

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

SANTEE —- The West Hills Wolf Pack struck first with a first-inning run when Kyle Dobyns intentionally directed a slow roller to the right side of the infield to score a runner from first base.

Smart play — but it gained the immediate attention of visiting Grossmont, the top-ranked team in the CIF-San Diego Section.

The Foothillers didn’t want to become the next upset victim in the razor-close Grossmont Hills League pennant race. Thus, the Hillers promptly responded with nine unanswered runs to claim a 9-1 decision Friday (May 28) at Wolf Pack Park.

Instead, it was GHL co-leader Granite Hills that got clipped. The No. 6-rated Eagles fell to No. 11 Steele Canyon, 5-1, returning Grossmont into sole possession of first place in the Hills with two ball games remaining.

The Hills will have (all) eyes on the Foothillers and Eagles meet next Tuesday at Grossmont’s Gizoni Field in the final meeting between the two contenders. The season series is even at 1-all.

The Hillers received run production from two unorthodox sources: No. 8 hitter Joaquin Baez and leadoff batter Evan Vasiliou, who each drove in a pair of runs.

Justin Brown would cap the scoring with a solo home run in the fourth, then the Hillers rode the arm of Jake Romero to shut down the West Hills offense.

Romero dominated by registering 12 strikeouts over his five innings, allowing just two hits and one walk.

“I felt great on the mound today,” Romero said. “I really feel like my fastball carried the load out there but my slider was also effective to get swing and misses. I have to give our offense a ton of credit our putting up a big lead early and just letting me do my thing.”

Romero was followed by one shutout inning by both Ethan Dilgard and Luke Williams while Grossmont players and coaches in the dugout were receiving game reports on Steele Canyon’s pending success.

“We’re definitely looking forward to the next few weeks, keeping the ball rolling,” Romero added. “We were keeping a close eye on (the Steele Canyon) game. The future is in our hands now. We just have to finish strong and earn what we’ve worked for.”

Baez gave Grossmont the lead with a two-run single in the second, driving in Barron Zamora (lead single) and Max Cadwalader (double)., as the first five batters reached.

Noah Barnes followed with a ground out for an RBI, then Isaiah Gomez lifted a sacrifice fly to cap the four-run outburst.

Grossmont would add three more markers in the third, featuring Cadwalader’s run-scoring single, then a two-run triple by Vasiliou, then two additional runs in the fourth, including the homer by Brown.

Grossmont (25-4 overall, 11-2 GHL) continues to lead CIFSDS schools in total victories. The Hillers remain in mathematical reach of equaling the East County single-season record for wins (31), set by El Capitan in 2012.

West Hills (12-15, 2-11 GHL) received a pair of hits from cleanup batter Tyan Rodgers, the third baseman.

Helix 3, Valhalla 0

LA MESA —- The young Valhalla Norsemen pitching staff produced perhaps their best outing of the season, yet were one-upped once again.

Helix pitchers Aiden Perez and Layton Wirschem combined on a 1-hit shutout Friday (May 28), leading the Scotties past Orange Nation, 3-0, in Grossmont Hills League action.

Perez struck out four batters over four innings, yet came away with no-decision as the contest remained scoreless entering the fifth inning because Valhalla pitcher David Gordon was matching Perez zero-for-zero.

Gordon finished with six strikeouts, but as he entered his second-longest sting of the season by tossing a fifth inning, that’s when Helix finally broke through.

Since Perez couldn’t win the game by pitching, he did it with his bat. Moments after Ben Haar was hit by a pitch, Perez lined an RBI double to center to cap the pitchers’ duel.

Two walks would load the bases, then Demarae Woods singled through the left side for a 2-0 advantage.An inning later against the bullpen, Helix left fielder Trevor Young added the insurance run with a solo home run to center.

Thus, the victory went to Wirschem, who fired three no-hit innings. Although a touch wild after coming out of the bullpen with a walk and a hit batter, he closed by retiring seven consecutive batters in a fast-paced contest that needed just 81 minutes to complete.

For Helix (12-14 overall), which clinched fourth place in the GHL at 6-7, saw Perez finish with two hits and a walk at the plate. The Scotties have posted two shutouts this season, both against the Norsemen.

Valhalla (5-21, 1-12 league) received its lone hit fromNo. 9 batter Madigan, a one-out single in the third.

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