East County Sports

18th straight win sends Pats to final

Vaughn Major connects on a two-run single for the Patriots on Thursday. / CHS PATRIOTS





ECS staff report

EL CAJON —- Christian and La Habra high schools will meet for the CIF Southern California Division V baseball championship after both posted impressive 11-1 victories in Thursday’s (June 24) semifinals.

Patriots center field Braeden Ross drove in five runs, leading the ballclub to their 18th consecutive triumph in a rather easy dismantling Elsinore, of Wildomar (southwest Riverside County), in six innings (run/mercy rule).

In the other semifinal, top-seed La Habra also cruised in toppling Lancaster. Thus, the Highlanders (23-10) will host Christian in Saturday’s championship contest.

“The state championship is what we’ve been aiming for all season,” Ross said. “I know the seniors, especially, are itching to go out winners.”

The other thing surprising to the Patriots was their opponent, as Elsinore, the No. 6 seed, upset third-seeded South Gate-Legacy in a big way, 16-0.

However, the visiting Tigers had no answer for Pats’ pitcher Aaron Shebloski, who fired a three-hitter.

“I used mostly fastball, cutter, and slider today and was able to handle these guys pretty good,” Shebloski said. “They were only able to hit one or two balls really well so I felt I put my defense in a position to go and make plays.”

The sophomore only struck out one batter, gaining the vast majority of his outs on ground balls to the infield.

“The defense was absolutely amazing today making all the right plays,” Shebloski said. “We saw that this team was not a very big team that would be taking big swings but would be more of a small-ball team. I trusted the defense and pitched to contact.”

Christian led 2-1 through three innings but posted multiple-run innings in frames 4-5-6, triggered by an inning-ending double play in the fourth.

The rally in the fourth was capped on a 3-run double to left field by Ross. He also slugged a two-double in the fifth also with the bases loaded, finishing 2-for-3, plus reaching two other times on a walk and was hit by a pitch.

“I felt good today,” said Ross, who after the win hustled down to Petco Park to participate in the Padres High School All-Star Game. “We weren’t getting the key knock we needed early in the game and we finally broke through. I’m so proud of our guys.”

Second baseman Shane Bailey also went 2-for-3, Seven other Patriots posted one knock each as part of an 11-hit attack, including a triple by first baseman Josh Meekins.


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