East County Sports

Foothillers get Open win over Sultans

A Santana runner slides on Friday. / Ken Todd

Santana’s Ethan Wright (3) on Friday. / Ken Todd

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

SAN DIEGO CIF OPEN DIVISION PLAYOFFS

GROSSMONT 4, SANTANA 2

 

ECS staff report

EL CAJON —- Grossmont High senior pitcher Evan Vasiliou moved the Foothillers to within two victories of another CIF championship, slipping past Santana, 4-2, in Friday’s (June 11) long-awaited showdown to determine the best baseball team in East County — and, perhaps, the entire CIF San Diego Section — this season.

The UC Irvine-bound Vasiliou ran his pitching record to 10-0 after striking out six Sultans in the Open Division winners bracket showdown. He allowed seven hits and only one run was earned.

“It was a really fun game,” Vasiliou said. “(Santana is) a very solid team all the way around. They are very well-coached. It really good to beat them after they had just beat (second-seeded Rancho Bernardo).

Santana must now defeat La Costa Canyon — also a 4-2 victor after stopping Rancho Bernardo — on Saturday in an 11 a.m. road contest to gain a second shot at Grossmont.

The Sultans opened the scoring on an unconventional “two-out play” (not a double play).

Tyler Begg stroked a lead single, moving to third base on an error. Davin Burroughs followed with a sacrifice fly, as Begg barely beat the throw to the plate despite a strong throw by center fielder Max Cadwalader.

A Santana player throws to first base on Friday. / Ken Todd

However, Hillers catcher Isaiah Gomez saw the runner at second wondering too far from the bag, firing a strike to behind the runner for the second out to end the inning. On the play-scoring, Burroughs still gained an RBI.

Grossmont fought back with two runs in both the third and fifth innings t garner the lead for keeps, as the team’s power hitters again came through.

In the third, Noah Barnes sacked a double, scoring on a basehit from Gomez to move even. Gomez later came home on a double by Barron Zamora.

Two innings later, Gomez was again at the center of the offense. He opened with a basehit, scoring moments later when Caleb Hommel took an 0-1 pitch out to right field for a two-run homer and a 4-1 lead.

Santana would turn a double play to limit the damage, with the defense again igniting the offense.

Sultans cleanup hitter Ethan Wright drew a one-out walk, coming around on a single by Begg, then an RBI double to right field by Dean Landers.

However, with two runners in scoring position and one out, Vasiliou escaped. The ground ball to third base saw Hommel check the runner next to him, then fire to first base for the second out. The Vasiliou coached an infield pop out to shortstop Reggie Williams.

Grossmont’s Evan Vasiliou delivers on Friday. / Ken Todd

Gomez also provided a key defensive stop in the seventh.

With a Sultans runner at third, he attempted to take home on a pitch to the backstop. However, Gomez was able to collect the ball and apply the tag for the second out on a potential run that meant nothing at the time.

Gomez finished with two hits. Barnes and Hommel also registered a pair of hits and one stolen base.

For Santana, Begg and Lancers recorded two hits each. Landers also pitched complete-game, striking out five Hillers batters. Entering as the East County ERA leader, Landers’ record fell to 5-2.

“Santana is a tough team to beat,” Grossmont head coach Jordan Abruzzo said. “They are well-coached and do everything right. Couldn’t be more proud of our kids and the way we finally played some defense today.”

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