East County Sports

VALLEY: Sultans finish undefeated season

Santana on Senior Day. / photo by Dave Dickens

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

ECS staff report

SANTEE —- The pitching staff of the Santana Sultans equaled the Grossmont Valley League mark by postings its fifth shutout of the league season, blanking visiting Monte Vista, 6-0, to become a rare undefeated league champion in the history of the Grossmont Conference.

In addition, Santana became one of just seven Division I ballclubs to earn a 20th victory this season, virtually assuring the Sultans of a home game to open the CIF-San Diego Section playoffs.

Winning pitcher Dean Landers, the East County leader in earned-run average, ran his record to 7-1 after allowing just four singles over six innings of work.

Landers, who lowered his ERA to 0.89, posted four strikeouts, then reliever Caleb Harris placed the finishing touches on the shutout record by striking out the side in the seventh.

“Tonight was an amazing night,” Landers said. “So thankful to have spent four years of my high school career playing with some amazing guys, This season has been one to remember. We come to the field every day ready to play. We’re a bunch of grinders and we know that no one is going to out-work us. We train every day with a championship mentality.”

One question that did remain following the game is which division the Sultans would end up in the postseason, but barring a final adjustment with one day left in the San Diego Section’s regular season, it appeared the Sultans were clearly headed for the top-flight Open Division, along with Grossmont and Granite Hills.

“We know that going into the playoffs is going to be a tough fight but we are up for any challenge,” Landers said. “We hope to surprise some people in the playoffs and come away with a CIF championship.

Santana (20-4 overall, 9-0 GVL) saw shortstop Davin Burroughs registered two hits.

“We had some clutch hits by Nick (Seabrook) and Davin, which led to our big innings,” Landers said. “We came in with a plan to shut their offense down and put some runs on the board. I have so much belief in my guys behind me to make a play on any ball hit their way, it makes my job so much easier. Proud of my guys today, they played their hearts out.”

For Monte Vista (13-11, 7-4 GVL), pitching pitch Chris Leask pitched a complete game, allowing just six hits. Outfielder Isaiah Hilke was perfect at the plate, going 2-for-2 plus a walk and a pair of stolen bases.

The Monarchs are headed to the postseason in Division III where Christian High will be the favored top-seed.

El Capitan 8, Mount Miguel 3

LAKESIDE —- A nice pitchers’ duel at Hostetler Field was ruined when El Capitan High was gifted six unearned runs, including five in the fourth inning, allowing the Vaqueros to claim an 8-3 decision to conclude both squads’ Grossmont Valley League campaigns.

Both starting pitchers — El Cap’s Connor Crist and Mount Miguel’s Eddie Delgado — exited early from the contest, but the bullpens proved equally capable until the gloves of the Matadors failed them to the tune of six errors.

The best of the relievers was Thomas Ringer of the Matadors, who struck out seven Vaqueros batters over 4 2/3 innings. However, the six runs allowed were all unearned in the battle to determine third place in the GVL.

“Tommy pitched his tail off,” Mount Miguel head coach Frank Coit said. “But when you make five errors in one inning one after the other, and your offense is limited, it’s hard to overcome adversity. All I wanted was to get these kids, especially Thomas Ringer, into the playoffs to end Tommy’s senior year on a great note.”

After Crist came out after two frames, Zach Mayhew allowed just two hits in the ensuing 4 2/3 frames to garner the victory.

For El Capitan (9-17 overall, 4-7 GHL), Crist recorded two of the seven hits by the Vaqueros, who close the regular season winning 3-of-5 contests. However, the best the computer polls place them in 14th, with only 12 teams filling the postseason bracket.

Mount Miguel (9-19, 3-9 GHL) is currently listed as the No. 13 team in the Division IV field, meaning they would barely miss the CIF playoffs.

“Playing under coach Coit was an experience and then some, to say the least,” said Ringer, a senior. “From where I started to where I’ve am now, there could not have been a better, coach, mentor, role model, and friend for me during my time at Mount Miguel.

“From getting to the CIF finals for the first time ever and making great relationships and teammates along with way. I’m extremely lucky and blessed for the success I have achieved this season. I’ve worked a lot on try to be a better competitor. I’m blessed it all came together.”

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