East County Sports

ROUNDUP: Monarchs slide by Matadors



ECS staff report

SPRING VALLEY —- Monte Vista again proved to be the season-long, second-best ballclub in the Grossmont Valley League, officially clinching the spot by staving a late rally by Mount Miguel, 9-5 in eight innings, during Friday’s (May 28) lone GVL action.

Moments after Mount Miguel knotted the contest with a run in the seventh inning, the Monarchs took advantage of a tie-breaking error to plate four runs in the extra frame.

The runner-up finish to Santana equals the best finish by Monarchs baseball since 2011 when the program went 22-11 overall — the program’s best record this century. Earlier, Monte Vista’s “glory” period registered 20 or more wins over seven consecutive seasons (1993-99), winning four consecutive league crowns (one short of the Grossmont Conference mark).

The rival ballclubs played some close games in the season series, including a 2-1 heartbreaker last time out.

“The battle of the Valley is always intense,” Monte Vista head coach Craig Neu said. “Throw the records out. It’s always a dog fight.”

In a projection of the CIF Division III field, Monte Vista is currently rated in 11th place according to several computer rankings, including MaxPreps, which means the Monarchs would gain a play-in playoff game on the road.

However, the probability to win is high. One possible opponent is Tri-City Christian, which is battling Foothills Christian for the small-school Pacific League title. Foothills Christian and Mount Miguel are frequent opponents, with the Knights leading the Matadors, 2-1, in head-to-head meetings.

Thus, if Foothills can beat Mount Miguel (like Monte Vista), and Foothills can beat Tri-City (which they have), then the Monarchs should have a reasonable chance in a trip to North County against the Eagles or an opponent with a similar power index.

As for the game with Mount Miguel, the bottom of the lineup card supplied the offense, as Izmael Ocampo and freshman Jacob Schweizer each collected two RBI.

“The importance of winning today’s game was clear,” Schweizer said. “Getting into the box with runners in scoring position and down one run was exhilarating. I was just focused on getting it to the next guy and doing my job. Clutching up gave us the boost we needed to get the job done. A lot of us have played little league or travel ball with guys on the other team, so we know it was going to be competitive.”

Also driving in a pair for the Monarchs was senior Ernie Arambula.

“It was a battle all game,” Arambula said. “I told my teammates to lock in and be ready for your time. We did our job at the plate and on defense. We knew we had to compete and win this game to ensure a good seed in the playoffs.”

Mount Miguel countered on home runs on consecutive home runs by JoJo Castillo and Thomas Ringer to open the second to cut into a 3-0 deficit.

“It was a 2-0 count and he gave me a low fastball and I turned on it,” Castillo said. “Off the bat, I was thinking triple until I was rounding first and the left fielder watched it go over. When I came in, I just told Tommy – ‘first pitch fastball.'”

For Ringer, it was his first career prep home run.

“After not having much offense, JoJo and Ringer going yard were impressive,” Mount Miguel head coach Frank Coit said. “But to commit seven errors, strikeout 12 times, and still compete is equally as impressive. It did cause Ringer to throw about 30 pitches too many.”

After a pair of lead changes, Mount Miguel got even when Johnathan Trader reached on a dropped third strike. Trader was bunted along on a Castillo sacrifice, then came home on a Ringer double to right-center field.

However, Monte Vista countered with a run on the error, then RBI singles by Ocampo and frosh David Rodriguez.

“I told my players at the end of the game, don’t look at the scoreboard, I am really proud of them, they played their hearts out,” Coit said.

For the Monarchs (12-10 overall, 6-3 GVL) received two hits each from Schweizer and Arambula, who also struck out seven over 5 2/3 innings. Andy Canedo pitched the final two frames to garner the victory.

“It’s always a battle and coach wanted to sweep them and that’s what we did,” Canedo said. “Our freshman (Schweizer) making his varsity debut and getting some RBIs is exactly what we needed. He is a good fit for our team moving forward.”

Mount Miguel (8-17, 3-7 GVL) saw Ringer pitcher the first five innings with seven strikeouts but received a no-decision.

“For the first time in a while we fought with passion and wanted to ensure a battle with a cross-town rival,” Ringer said. “Heart, passion, and tons of lost voices are what happened in both dugouts. We fell for a lack of depth.”

Foothills Christian 7, Orange Glen 1

ESCONDIDO —- The 1925 advertising slogan “often a bridesmaid… never a bride” was once true for the Foothills Christian High baseball team.

Following the Knights’ first season, the ballclub finished in second place over seven consecutive campaigns.

In 2021, Foothills Christian’s magic number to secure at least a share of the Pacific League championships fell to one after the Knights downed host Orange Glen, 7-1, on Friday (May 28).

However, that final step will be the most difficult.

Next week, the Knights play a home-and-home series to complete the regular season against Tri-City Christian, which could also land the league crown with a sweep. Foothills Christian needs one win to guarantee at least a tie with second-place Maranatha Christian or a sweep for an outright championship.

To get to this point, pitcher Seth Gilbody fired a 6-hitter to subdue Orange Glen. Gilbody struck out five Patriots batters without issuing a walk

The Knights’ quick start saw Taylor Casey steal home for a 2-0, first-inning lead.

In the fifth, Gilbody made it 3-0 with an RBI double to score Kip Famolaro (lead single), then Gilbody scored when  Zach Ortiz followed with a single.

For Foothills Christian (15-10 overall, 5-1 league), Cameron Nicks led with two hits and four stolen bases.

Orange Glen (6-14, 1-4 league) received two hits each from center fielder Hobrayan Munoz and catcher Andy Gonzalez.

Mountain Empire 12, Guajome Park 2

OCEANSIDE —- Mountain Empire remained in contention for a CIF Division V playoff berth after recording the game’s first 12 runs in leaping over the Frogs of Guajome Park Academy, 12-2, in Friday’s (Nay 28 )n non-league contest held at Guajome Community Park.

RedHawks pitcher Cristian Corona yielded just one earned run and three hits over six innings to gain the triumph.  Corona struck out seven Frogs batters, as Mountain Empire (8-7 overall) moved above the .500 plateau.

On offense, Angel Jimenez batted 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI, while Jacobe Noland went 3-for-5, falling just short of the cycle after collecting a single, double and triple.

Marcus Smith also registered three hits, as the heart of the Mountain Empire batting order went a composite 11-for-18.

Guajome Park fell to 3-14 overall.


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