East County Sports

East teams ousted in lower divisions

Monte Vista before Tuesday's contest. / MonarchSports1
2021 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

ECS staff report

 

SPRING VALLEY —- Once trailing by a half-dozen runs, Foothills Christian battled back to bring the potential game-tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning. However, the Morse Tigers barely held on to a wild 15-13 decision in Tuesday’s (June 8)  play-in contest to the CIF-San Diego Section Division IV tournament held at Mount Miguel.

The Tigers (19-6 overall), champions of the Central League, move on to meet top-seeded West Hills in Wednesday’s opener of the double-elimination phase of the event.

Foothills Christian, titlists in the Pacific League, close its campaign with a 15-11 mark.

The contest was the Knights’ first action of any kind — games or practice — in 10 days after at least two members of the roster were tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Thus, two league contests were canceled left the squad rusty — and it showed after Morse mounted an 11-6 cushion.

An inning later, it was 12-7 when the Knights started their long haul up the mountain, tallying four times in the fifth inning. Loading the bases with two out, Kip Famolaro delivered a run-scoring single, then Taylor Casey delivered a three-run double to trim the deficit to 12-11.

Morse answered with three markers in the seventh, but it almost proved to not be enough as FCHS again tallied all of its runs after two were down.

Cameron Nicks was hit by a pitch, Casey singled, then Zach Ortiz reached on an error to score Nicks. then Elijah Morr collected two of his three RBI with a basehit.

Morr took second base on yet another Morse error, but Tigers reliever Rich Encinas registered the final out for the save. Encinas went the final 2 1/3 frames to preserve the victory for starter Alex Leyva.

“Tonight was Senior Night as we had some kids down for a bit,” Foothills Christian head coach Dave Lewis said. “Losing Colby Johnson killed us. We had to rotate Kip and Billy Temple behind the dish, which took Billy out of the infield. We had one practice in the last two weeks yesterday, so we had to battle with what we had.

Casey, a junior, finished the day batting 3-for-5 with four RBI and scoring once.

“It was a rough game but we put up a good fight,” Casey said. “Both teams today came out to play and one had to come out on top. I think that if we had Colby it would have made a significant difference. His bat and knowledge on the field would have helped a ton. Playing for Coach Dave (Lewis) has been one of the best experiences of my baseball career. I’ve been playing with him since I was in sixth grade and I can tell you that he hates losing more than anybody else. Next year will be an interesting one. We have lots of moving parts, but hopefully, we can gain a few new players.”

Famolaro and Mathew Jones posted two RBI each.

“Kip Famolaro is the best player I’ve ever coached and I love that kid,” Lewis said.

Famolaro paced the Knights with a .436 batting average, followed by Colby Johnson (377), who was the club’s RBI leader. Famolaro also led in doubles, homers, and total hits.

“It’s is games like tonight’s that make me love baseball,” Famolaro said. “I am not disappointed the way my brothers and I ended our season. It has been a phenomenal four years. I am going to miss so many things about high school baseball. I am grateful for the memories I have made playing the game I love. I am going to miss playing for Coach Dave. I wouldn’t be the ball player or man I am today without his coaching on and off the field. My teammates are going to keep Foothills is in good hands next year. It has been one hell of a ride, I am a Knight for life.

Famolaro’s younger brother, Joe, will be a Knights freshman next season. He will have some big – and familiar – shoes to fill in the Famolaro legacy at Foothills Christian, as Kip will go down as one of the program’s best-ever players.

“I think he will be starting in the middle infield and pitching a little bit next year, ” said the senior. “By the time he is a senior, he is going to be a lights-out pitcher.”

Division III

Mt. Carmel 1, Monte Vista 0

SPRING VALLEY —- Experience counts, especially in the playoffs.

Thus, it came as no surprise to Mt. Carmel that it was senior Justin Davis who drove in the game’s only run, allowing the visiting Sundevils to eliminate Monte Vista, 1-0, in Tuesday’s (June 8) Division III play-in game to the CIF-San Diego Section playoffs.

Davis, a four-year starter for Mt. Carmel at second base, delivered a two-out single on a hard grounder to right field in the fourth inning, allowing Jacob Gniady (one-out double) to score. Davis also pitched the final two innings, not yielding a hit to garner the save.

Meanwhile, Gniady fired five innings of four-hit ball without issuing a walk to gain the victory.

Davis took over on the mound in the sixth, retiring six of the seven batters he faced, surviving a two-out error in the seventh that open the door just a little for Monte Vista before Davis slammed it shut on an easy grounder.

Monte Vista pitcher Ernie Arambula, who announced his intention to attend Chico State this fall, was the hard-luck loser. Arambula struck out seven Sundevils batters in his complete-game effort. He allowed just five hits.

“It’s tough to lose but we battled to the end and unfortunately we didn’t convert on the offensive side,” Arambula said. “It was a great season with my teammates, they played hard each day and were ready for any opponent we faced. we lost a tough game that we could’ve approached better.”

Mt. Carmel (19-11) will return to East County on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. to face top-seeded Christian in the start of the double-elimination portion of the tournament. The Patriots (22-4) are the champions of the City League.

Monte Vista (13-12), which received hits from David Vega, Jacob Savoy, Albert Rodriguez, and Justyn Stone, still clinched its fourth consecutive winning record. The scheduled 3:30 p.m. start saw the first pitch moved to 2 p.m. to avoid conflict with the school’s 6 p.m. graduation ceremony.

“It was a great game and the kids played hard,” Monte Vista head coach Craig Neu said. “Ernie pitched his heart out. We just couldn’t get the big hit. We had our chances. Give Mt. Carmel all the credit. They got the big hit with two outs to drive in the run. Tough way to end a fantastic season.

“I am proud of all my players, especially my seniors for their leadership and effort for four years. They have left the program in a better place than they found it. I am forever grateful for their dedication and belief in me and our team’s principles. I will never forget this class. They helped make Monte Vista baseball relevant again.”


Montgomery 1, El Capitan 0
 

OTAY MESA —- The solid pitching performance by El Capitan senior left-hander Zach Mayhew was dinged on an unearned run, the lone blemish that allowed host Montgomery to slide past the Vaqueros, 1-0, to open the CIF-San Diego Section Division III tournament.

The sixth-seeded Aztecs (16-9-1 overall) will stay close to home, traveling to nearly Olympian to meet the No. 3-seeded Eagles in Wednesday’s first game of the main draw. A difficult season for the Vaqueros concludes with a 9-17 mark.

The only run was scored by Aztec co-captain Manny Huerta, who reached base when his soft liner was dropped. Danny Alcala bunt him along, but Huerta caught the Vaqueros napping and took two bases, and was safe at third base.

With the infield in, Benji Solano slapped a soft ground ball, but Huerta beat the throw home for the run on the fielder’s choice.

The marker was the only one needed for Montgomery pitcher Fidel Lopez, who struck out eight Vaqueros batters in tossing a 4-hit shutout.

For El Capitan, leadoff batter Connor Crist and Bobo Mendoza each had two hits for all of the offense by the Vaq Pack.

Crist opened the contest was a lead double but was stranded at second. In the second, Mendoza singled, but the Aztecs completed an inning-ending double play. Meanwhile, Mayhew carried a perfect game into the fourth before the decisive lead error became the deciding factor.

For the Vaqueros, Bradley Larsen barely won the team batting title by nipping Jake Bergherm (.352 to .351). Cole Winsor led in doubles while also edging Bergherm in RBI (20 to 19).

Division II

Vista 2, Patrick Henry 1 (9 inn.)

DEL CERRO —- An error allowed the tie-breaking run to score in the top of the ninth inning, allowing the Vista Panthers to nip Patrick Henry in Tuesday’s (June 8) CIF-San Diego Section Division II play-in contest.

The two-out rally saw Hayden  Pena smack a line double to left-center field, moving to third base on a single Tyler Davis. The ensuing batter, senior Ryan  Daniels, hit a ground ball, but when it was kicked, Pena scored.

Daniels then came out to pitch the bottom of the ninth but ran out of pitches. So Anthony Scalzo came in to record the final out in a 1-2-3 frame to advance to the main stage of the postseason tournament,

Daniels struck out four and allowed just three hits over 8 2/3 innings. He carried a no-hitter into the fifth, but Patriots shortstop Max Shabestari, a senior, drilled an 0-1 pitch out to left field for a leadoff home run to knot the contest at 1-all.

Vista’s first run came on a two-out single by senior Aidan Harris in the second, the third of three Panthers base hits in the frame.

Vista (15-14 overall) saw Pena and Harris each registered two of the team’s 10 hits. The Panthers return to East County on Wednesday, meeting host Steele Canyon (19-10) in the first game of the main draw.

The other hits for Patrick Henry (20-10) were by freshman Eddie Homez and junior Nolan Kluge.

For the season, senior Andrew Guana led the Patriots in batting (.369), followed by Ryan Ellis (.357) and Brady Hull (.341). Ellis led in RBI, Shabestari was top in homers, doubles, and runs scored.

 

Division V

Escondido Charter 10, Mountain Empire 2

ESCONDIDO —- The Mountain Empire RedHawks looked like a ballclub that hadn’t played in two weeks, quickly falling behind 10-0 before knocking off the rust — but it was too late.

Escondido Charter scored three times in the first, then six more in the third — only the single run in the second was earned — to mount a double-digit lead, eliminating the RedHawks in Tuesday’s (June 8) play-in contest to the CIF-San Diego Section Division V playoffs, held at Hidden Valley Middle School.

White Tigers freshman Jackson Noaker was the batting standout, driving in four runs, including three on a bases-clearing triple in the third.

Mountain Empire couldn’t play over the final stretches of the season due to either COVID-19 protocols by opponents or schools vacated their schedules for a variety of reasons.

Thus, RedHawks starting pitcher Cristian Corona was pulled after just 2 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs, but just one earned.

Mountain Empire, the No. 9 seeds, avoided the shutout with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings.

After a single, Dakota Daniels took three bases on one grand blunder by Escondido Charter. Daniels moved to second on a wild pitch, to third on a catcher’s throwing error, and then home when the left-fielder did something hideous with the baseball for yet another error.

The RedHawks followed by turning sour defense into a sharp unit by turning a double play. Left-fielder Angel Jimenez caught a fly ball, but the White Tigers challenged the defender by turning loose the runner at second base and attempt to take third right he front of him. However, Jimenez fired a strike to third baseman Dakota Hatmaker for the tag.

The momentum swing set the stage for the other MEHS run as Hatmaker (two-out single) would eventually score on a basehit by Jacobe Noland.

Escondido Charter (8-12 overall), the No. 8 seed, advances into the main draw and will play city rival Calvin Christian on Wednesday. The Crusaders are the top seed.

Mountain Empire (8-8) saw six players registered hits.

Noland finishes the season as the club’s top hitter (.519 batting average), also leading in doubles, triples, home runs, RBI (25), and walks, while second in runs behind Hatmaker

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