East County Sports

Patriots undefeated in division playoffs





EastCountySports.com staff report


EL CAJON – The Christian Patriots extended their winning streak to 15 games and remained undefeated in the San Diego CIF Division Division III playoffs on Friday with a 7-3 victory over the visiting Southwest Eagles, advancing to the championship round.

Christian scored five runs in the third inning to break a 1-all tie.

Josh McCurty got the merry-go-round started in the bottom of the third, then singles by Shane Bailey, Braeden Ross, Vaughn Major, Erik Markowicz, Josh Meekins, and Hunter Kaul made it 6-1.

“McCurty breaking out a huge double was really big for him and for all of us,” Ross said. “That was a veteran at-bat from a freshman.”

Vaughn Major pitched a complete game, striking out 14 Southwest batters while allowing four hits and no walks.

“I felt really good in the box and on the mound,” Major said. “We are as hot as ever and we are all ready to dominate whatever teams we play next. Our bats will always carry us to win but big plays on defense always get us out of jams. I really think we need to play perfect defense and swing the bat early in the game to win these next couple. We’ve had struggles in the field that we need to correct before we can be playing to the best of our ability.”

Ross hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning, although the Eagles knotted the game at 1-all in the top of the second. The homer was Ross’ 11th of the season.

“I felt great today,” Ross said. “I feel like I’m seeing the ball really well and getting myself into good hitters’ counts and capitalizing on mistakes.

Ross had three RBI on the day while collecting three hits, as he added a run-scoring single in the bottom of the sixth.

“The difference between today and our game on Wednesday (a 1-0 win over Mt. Carmel) was definitely our team being more relaxed, Ross said. “We came into today wanting to have fun, and we did a good job of staying loose the whole time.

“On Wednesday, we were tense as a whole and the intensity is high which led to us pressing a little bit. Vaughn did a really good job today of staying composed. Big-time game out of him.”

Eric Markowicz drove in a pair of the Christian, which improved to a lofty 24-4.

In the top of the sixth, Christian’s Hunter Kaul made a running catch in deep right-center, as the Patriots doubled up the baserunner.

“That catch by Hunter was incredible and it really gave us the momentum that led to the win,” Major said.

The Patriots advance to the championship round of the Division III playoffs, needing one win from two possible games for the title.

Christian High will meet either Mt. Carmel or the Eagles out of the challenger’s bracket on Tuesday. The teams were scheduled to meet on Saturday evening in an elimination game.

“Tuesday should be a fun game for us,” Ross said.


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