East County Sports





By Adam Paul

EL CAJON (6-22-21) – In what has been quite the year in sports due to the coronavirus pandemic causing chaos as to whether or not there was even going to be a season the Spring season has finally come to a close and it was definitely one to remember and will be for a very long time.

Both sides of the Grossmont league were pretty competitive but in the end, the Grossmont Hills League would be won by the Helix Highlanders who finished a perfect season of 10-0 in league and join only Granite Hills in 2019 who also went 10-0 and West Hills in 2014 finished 9-0. On the other side of the Grossmont Conference in the Valley League, you had Co-Champions as both Santana and El Capitan tied for the league lead.

Playoff wise out of the thirteen teams in our coverage area eleven teams made the playoffs which included a Division II Championship appearance and runner-up finish by the Helix Highlanders. The Patrick Henry Patriots in the Open Division made a semi-finals appearance before being eliminated by eventual runner-up Rancho Buena Vista. The other deep run was made by the Valhalla Norsemen who reached the semi-finals in Division III before falling to eventual champion El Camino.

Turning things over to the coaching side all the coaches did a fantastic job this season getting their teams prepared and navigating what was a weird season. However, one did really stand out and that is why he was tabbed East County Sports Coach of the Year.

Third-year coach at Helix High, Darren Emery guided the Highlanders to a tournament victory in the Falcon Fiesta for their bracket and also earned the top seed in the Division II playoffs to which they made it all the way to the championship game for the first time since 1976 where they ended as runners-up to Otay Ranch. However, that didn’t take away the amazing season as the Highlanders set a new school record in wins as they finished the season 26-6 and also won the Hills League outright finishing a perfect 10-0. Coach Emery and his staff did an excellent job in preparing the team for what they saw on the field.

Moving to the player awards and it was a tough choice to pick for Player of the Year but in the end, the choice went to a player who not only left her mark in the East County but also San Diego County and that is Olivia Gigante of Patrick Henry.

Only a junior, Gigante came back and really on the offensive side helped led one of the more high-powered offenses in all of San Diego as the Patriots hit 43 homers and batted close to .400 as a team. On the season, Gigante hit .523 while driving in 58 RBIs and had 46 hits. She also hit 16 home runs which were second in all of San Diego on the season and also all-time in both East County and San Diego CIF section history. She also pitched when called upon and in her almost 80 innings struck out 73 batters.

For Offensive Player of the Year, the award goes to Dezianna Patmon of Patrick Henry. The Patriots senior was another bat to be reckoned with in their potent lineup as she finished with a .571 average while hitting 9 homers and driving in 33 runs. She also scored 31 runs and hit 10 doubles.

There was quite a bit of pitching talent this season in the East County but this young lady really stood out as she helped play a big role in her team’s record-breaking success. It is because of this she is named East County Sports Pitcher of the Year.

Sophia Ramuno (Helix) a junior helped the Highlanders and showed why she will be a potentially dominant pitcher in her senior year. On the year she finished with a record of 13-1 and a ridiculous era of 1.00 in 139 2/3 innings of work. She also led the entire East County and was one of the leaders in San Diego with 203 strikeouts. One of the big highlights was when Ramuno was able to come back and defeat the Del Norte Nighthawks in the elimination game of the semi-finals to reach the Championship game.

This year there was one freshman who really stood out and was able to accomplish quite a bit and this is why was selected as East County Sports Freshman of the Year.

Sophia Mujica (Granite Hills) really burst onto the softball scene as she overcame a slow early part of the season to really get into a groove as she hit 17 home runs on the season. Her 17 home runs not only set a brand new East County record but also tied the all-time San Diego CIF Section record. Mujica also finished second in the Grossmont Conference in batting with a .512 average and in hits with 42 while finishing third with 8 doubles. Over the course of the year she finished in third with 30 runs batted in. Mujica as a freshman really came into her own and made a mark not only in East County but in all of San Diego.

Softball like baseball isn’t all just about the offense but the defense as well which helps wins games and can change the momentum at any given time. These two players really stood out this season in the East County and that is why they were both chosen as Co-East County Sports Defensive Players of the Year.

Katy Hicks (El Capitan) – Her play at third base or what is known as the hot corner really helped propel the Vaqueros to their success on the season. On the season she only committed three errors in over fifty chances and at one point had made only one error in over 100 innings as the lone error came in the first contest of the regular season. Defensively she was the best in the conference with defensive prowess in being able to scoop up everything that came her way and prevent numerous runs from being scored.

Tayler Thomas (Steele Canyon) – Her play in center field showed why she was the best center fielder in the conference as she was a ball hawk out there getting to everything that was hit her way. On the season she only committed one error in close to thirty chances and went about 90 innings without committing an error. Thomas was a big part of the success Steele Canyon had on the season.


(As selected by East County Sports staff)

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Olivia Gigante, Patrick Henry.
Pitcher  of the Year: Sophia Ramuno, Helix
Offensive Player of the Year: Dezianna Patmonm Patrick Henry.
Defense Players of the Year: Katy Hicks, El Capitan (infield);
Tayler Thomas, Steele Canyon (outfield)
Freshman of the Year: Sofia Mujica, Granite Hills
Coach of the Year: Darren Emery, Helix

Name                  School             Yr.
Sofia Mujica          Granite Hills       9
Olivia Gigante        Patrick Henry      11
Jade Daley            Grossmont          10
Maryn Jordan          Valhalla           11
Sophia Ramuno         Helix              11

Dezianna Patmon       Patrick Henry      12
Katy Hicks            El Capitan         12
Joey Barkhimer        Santana            12
Kaiah Altmeyer        Patrick Henry      11
Ava Gall              El Capitan         10

Jessica DeWitt        Patrick Henry      12
Tayler Thomas         Steele Canyon      12
Jazmin Williams       Steele Canyon      10
Sammi Sullivan        Santana            11
Hailey Mulligan       El Capitan         11

Isabella Bordine      Helix              12
Jolene Giles          Helix              12
McKenna Gieger        Patrick Henry       9
Maddie Taylor         El Capitan         11
Natalie Sims          Santana            12

Brooklyn Fukushima    El Capitan         12
Emma Shellstrom       Steele Canyon      10
McKayla Fish          Valhalla           10
Sydney Newton         Patrick Henry      12
Natalie Emery         Grossmont          11
Name                  School             Yr.
Taylin Warren         Santana            10
Paige Baird           Granite Hills      12
Allyson Moody         Christian          10
Janea Wilson          Steele Canyon      10
Chloe Knepp           Granite Hills      11

Kate Manes            Christian          11
Cadyn Ruffer          Valhalla           10
Audrey Kull           Helix              12
Isabella Cyman        Santana            12
Dayla McAuliff        El Capitan         12

Alyssa Bolden         Grossmont          12
Rachel Stephens       Christian          11
Naomi Kai             West Hills         11
Brooke Horn           El Capitan         11
Marley Rimoldi        Steele Canyon      12

Mariah Mata           Steele Canyon      11
Katelynne Parent      Grossmont          10
Kori Jonilonis        Helix              11
Sabrina Brown         West Hills         12
Allyson Haessly      Steele Canyon       11

Abby Johnston        Valhalla            12
Kassidy Harper       Santana             11
Kimmy Bond           Grossmont           12
Breanna Lakin        Steele Canyon       11
Naomi Villalva       Valhalla            10
Makenna Hines        Granite Hills        9
Carly Robbins        Foothills Chr.      11
Abby Curran          Foothills Chr.      11
Hannah Mroz          Foothills Chr.       9


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