East County Sports

Wolf Pack move into regional final

A West Hills runner collides with the Arroyo Valley catcher on Thursday. / Vic Marano

 

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

CIF STATE DIVISION V-A SEMIFINAL

WEST HILLS 7, ARROYO VALLEY 3

 

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

SANTEE —- Sixth-inning triples by Aaron Petersen¬†and Connor Evans keyed a tie-breaking, four-run rally, advancing the West Hills Wolf Pack to the CIF Southern California regional title game in Division V-A after stopping visiting Arroyo Valley of San Bernardino, 7-3, Thursday (June 24) at Wolf Pack Park.

The triumph advances the second-seed Pack (17-17 overall) to Saturday’s championship contest, traveling some 350 miles to Fresno to meet Washington Union. The top-seed Falcons (19-13) gained a finals berth by blanking Orange Glen, 6-0.West Hills rallied back from a 3-0 deficit to pull even, then won the ballgame on the team’s final trip to the plate.

West Hills junior Connor Evans slides for a triple on Thursday. / Vic Marano

Petersen, a left fielder, wasn’t even a blip on the Wolf Pack radar to start the season, gaining just three total at-bats prior to league play.

However, against superior pitching in the Grossmont Hills League, the senior batted a steady .309, earning a shot in postseason play.

In playoff competition, Petersen is batting at a solid .429 clip (6-for-14), including his triple to left-center field to leadoff in the sixth.

Moments later, Jacob Villanueva went to the opposite field with an RBI basehit to score Petersen for what turned out to be the game-winning RBI.

The Pack then tacked on three additional runs to halt the Hawks.

Included was a two-run triple to center field by Evans with two outs, coming after a costly Hawks error that extended the inning. Evans would cap the rally by scoring on a wild pitch.

Meanwhile, West Hills starting pitcher Eron Drake overcame one musty inning to throw 5 1/3 innings and keep the Pack in the contest.

Except for three runs on three hits by Arroyo Valley in the third, Drake yielded just one other basehit while striking out four Hawks batters.

Kyle Dobyns gained the pitching in relief, tossing the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing just one hit, and registering four of his five outs on strikes.

The victory extended the Wolf Pack winning streak to five straight in the postseason to level their overall record. They can finish above .500 if they withstand the anticipated 103-degree temperatures in the Central Valley.

Kyle Dobyns delivers a pitch to Arroyo Valley on Thursday. / Vic Marano

For West Hills, Evans finished with a pair of triples in a 4-for-4 outing with three RBI. Included was a game-tying, run-scoring triple in the third.

Moments earlier, Ryan Parker put the Pack on the scoreboard with a two-run single, bringing home both Drake (single) and Shane Mailloux (walk) in a two-out rally.

Of course, the rally was triggered by the West Hills defense in the top of the third, turning an inning-ending double play on a tapper to the mound. Evans fired the ball to catcher Conner Tanga, who then fired to Mailloux at first base.

Arroyo Valley right fielder Julio Arceo batted 3-for-4 with an RBI from the No. 2 slot in the batting order, but the Hawks (14-10) collected just three other base hits.

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