East County Sports

Sultans fall late to Pointers in opener

Santana and Point Loma opened the season with a hard-nosed, extra-inning affair. / Ken Todd

2022 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL      

 

By Dave Dickens
East County Sports.com

SANTEE (2-17-2022) — The first quote heard in the dugout from Santana coach Steve Vickery, with a big smile on his face, “It’s baseball season!”

In spite of a few mishaps, Santana senior pitcher Koda Alto should be given a pat on the back as he battled to keep his ballclub in Friday’s (Feb. 19) contest, but the Sultans finally fell in extra innings to Point Loma, 5-4 in 8 innings.

This season-opening setback came just the way the 2021 campaign ended, also in extra innings in a CIF playoff loss to La Costa Canyon, 2-1 in 8 innings.

Alto started fast. throwing just nine pitches in collecting back-to-back ground outs, then a ball and three strikes looking to close out the Pointers,

The Sultans duplicated the offense put forth by the Pointers as they were three up and three down.

However, in crunch time and both starting pitchers long gone from the contest, Point Loma loaded the bases on a walk, a double, a dropped third strike as the Santana catcher was, obviously, more interested in protecting the plate and not allowing the tie-breaking run to score.

But on the very next pitch, Pointers senior Brevin Taft lined an RBI basehit to left field.
Bubba Perez, who went the final five innings for the victory, closed out the hosts. Surviving a line drive out by Caden Corderman and a walk, he struck out the final two batters to give him 8 Ks.

In other East County action, San Diego-high Tech out-slugged visiting Liberty Charter (0-1), 10-7, in the season opener for both schools

Santana pitchers Kudo Alto (top, 26) and Destin Allen-Fox. / Ken Todd


Pointers-Sultans highlights

he In the early going, Point Loma jumped to a 2-1 advantage.

In the second inning, on a 2-2 count, Duke Ekstrom hit a laser to Alto. The ball was hit so hard, Ekstrom made it to first on the single. Alto was in shock just in the attempt to remain uninjured.

Unfortunately for Alto, with one on first and no outs, he threw four straight to Drake Cobb. Cobb oddly enough ended up with three free passes to first on the evening.

With two on and nobody out, still in the top of the second frame, to make matters worse, Lorenzo Sardo laid the bunt down and was mishandled by pitcher Alto, as Sardo reached first base, as the sacks were full of Pointers, still no outs.

Chance Kreuger hit a pop fly deep enough to left fielder Bradley Phillips, scoring Ekstrom and the Pointers up 1-0 with one out, the sacrifice fly by Kreuger to left field.

Luckily for Alto and the Sultans, Brevin Taft grounded into a double play, the Sultan shortstop Caden Corderman started the 6-4-3 to limit the damage as only one came across the dish for a 1-0 lead by the Pointers.

The Sultans would not be shut out for long due to a hit by pitch and a few walks, Landon Bailey walks, scoring Jason Gonzalez, while also picking up the RBI, and the score was now 1-all at the end of two frames.

It was a back and forth offensive affair as Point Loma went up 2-1 in the third on a Diego Irabarren double to score Kien Vu.

Santana would go up 3-2 on back-to-back doubles with two on by Tyler Begg and Corderman.

Alto ended up with a 1-2-3  fourth inning with two strikeouts and a fly out. However, in the bottom of the fourth, Elijah Reber hit a ground ball single to center. Then Ethan Wright rifled a line drive to left field. The score at the end of four complete was Santana, 4-2

Again, the Pointers weren’t done by a long shot, as John Taylor starts the fifth off with a single. After that a few pitches later, as Taylor had already stolen second on a 1-2 count Vu smacked a line drive homer out of the park to right-center, also scoring Taylor for a now, 4-all tie heading to the bottom of the fifth.

It would remain tied with three up and three down for both clubs in the next two innings. Destin Allen-Fox came on in the sixth inning to issue only one hit, two walks, and two strikeouts.

Still tied at four heading into the top of the eighth, the Sultans pulled Allen-Fox who pitched a pair of beautiful innings, it was time for Ethan Moutaw to keep it scoreless in the eighth.

With Point Loma batting in the top of the eighth, Moutaw recorded out number one on a pop-out. Brevin Taft hit a single on the first pitch scoring Cobb, Point Loma, 5-4.

Headed into the bottom of the eighth with one out, Destin Allen-Fox was aboard on a free pass. Bradley Philips and Landon Bailey both struck out back to back handing the Point Loma Pointers a 5-4 win.

Begg, Wright,  and Corderman all had a double on the afternoon.

Next up for Santana (0-1), a trip to the South Bay to meet Hilltop (0-0) on Tuesday (Feb. 22) at 3 p.m.

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