East County Sports

Dennis, Stars close out Crush



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

LAKESIDE —- A year removed from West Hills High, former Wolf Pack pitcher Kai Dennis was more than aptly motivated when his alma mater captured the CIF Southern California regional championships over the weekend.And his results came not a moment too soon for the depleted bullpen of the San Diego Stars summer collegiate baseball club.

Dennis went three perfect innings by retiring all nine batters he faced, earning the save in a dominating performance as the Stars topped the San Diego (Poway) Crush, 10-6, in Western Baseball Association action at El Capitan High’s Hostetler Field.

Dennis struck out six Crush batters, retired one on a ground out, then in the ninth inning he overwhelmed two batters into shallow popouts to the infield.

Dennis’ effort allowed¬† Christian High product Luke Gentry to gain his second victory. over three summer starts. Gentry had gone 1-4 for San Diego Christian College in a season-long, 43-game road trip when no local fields were available this past spring

Both pitchers saw limited action on the mound in high school (Dennis pitched 66 innings over four seasons). But while Gentry’s college career has one year remaining with the Hawks, any college with a scholarship offer may be able to place Dennis in their pitching bounty.

For now, just like the name of a classic surfing motion picture from 1965, both hurlers are hoping for an “Endless Summer” on the mound for the Stars, which are now riding a 3-game winning streak.

“Right now, I’m not pitching anywhere except for the Stars,” said Dennis. “I’m just working right now.”

Both possess three pitches with plenty of movement to confuse enemy batters, Dennis is a late-bloomer who is just now touching his potential.

Meanwhile, the Stats offense reached double-figures in scoring once again.

The top three batters –Dallas Seidel, Brady Joslyn, and Luke Arias — each collected two RBI, as the Stars posted four runs in the fourth inning, then five more in the fifth to mount a comfortable 10-3 cushion.

Seidel batted 4-for-4 and was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, raising his summer average to .551 to lead all WBA batters.

The Stars defense also saw center fielder Keoni Valdez race to the gap in left-center for a diving grab to help bury the Crush.

The Stars (8-5 overall) return to action on Saturday, hosting the Solana Beach Redbirds in a doubleheader, starting at noon at El Cap.


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