East County Sports

Pats’ softball family renew acquaintances



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

EL CAJON —.Once a year, every season, some of the biggest names in Christian High softball get together for a friendly contest. But sometimes, the contests are just downright competitive.

Featuring the return of Mary Grabowski, the 2009 East County player of the year and now the head coach of defending CIF Division IV runner-up Bayfront Charter of Chula Vista, the Sharks thought they had a victory in their jaws.

However, the Patriots scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to take a wild, 7-6, walk-off victory Friday (Feb. 25) at Roma Dawson Field.

(See game story below).

Dawson, a member of three halls of fame for playing and/or coaching, including the national American Softball Association (ASA) Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Okla., was on hand for “family” bragging rights.

“I always love the opportunity to go back to Christian and compete at my old stomping grounds,” said Grabowski. “I feel like a mom telling her daughters stories about my “glory days” on our ride over every time we play.”

“These are the games I look forward to most, especially since my dad and I get to compete against (Patriots coaches) Ricky and George Gentry again.”

The Gentry’s, another father-daughter act, maintain the program at Christian, including maintaining the unique diamond which hails Dawson’s name.

“It’s one of the best ballparks in San Diego County,” noted John Grabowksi. “It’s small, intimate and cozy, with George keeping the infield in perfect condition>’

Of course, discussions always turn to the ballgame.

“It was good, not fun when the ‘Student Beats the Teacher,'” said George Gentry, who took over for Dawson about 20 seasons ago. “Mary got me last year.”

“Her dad, John, also served as one of my coaches when Mary was a player. I coached her younger sister, Gaby, too.”

While Mary Grabowski was a third baseman and catcher, little sister Gaby was mainly a pitcher, but was also on the edge of being a national-level figure skater.

That’s about the time George Gentry also coaches his daughter, Ricki, his current assistant coach.

“Mary was a freshman when my daughter was a junior,” he recalled. “It’s awesome Both were on the all-state first team for small schools when playing for us.”

Because of the similar backgrounds, he also noted, “Mary is a like a daughter. I had been to her quinceanera, her graduation, and her (recent) marriage.”

“She is a very special young lady that I am so proud of.”

Mary started the new program at Bayfront Charter six years ago and has turned them into one of the San Diego Section’s premiere, small-school programs, advancing the Sharks into the CIF Southern California regional in 2021.

But she always remembers her roots. yet her focus is to return to the CIF title games but come out on top.

“My senior, Lenika Padilla, has had an amazing start to the season really showing off her seniority on the mound and in the box,” the coach added. “Unfortunately the scores haven’t done her performance justice, but I know if she sticks to her plan that they eventually will.”


By Adam Paul
Special to ECS.com

EL CAJON (2-25-22) – In any sport, it is a player’s dream to sink the game-winning shot or get the game-winning hit in the championship game when trailing in the final seconds or last inning. Well while it might not have been the Championship game for Kaitlyn Moody (3-4, R, 3 RBI, 2 2B) she did accomplish the dream as the Patriots trailed in the bottom of the seventh inning and down to the final strike she was able to connect for what ended up being the game-winning two-run double in dramatic fashion on Friday afternoon.

The dramatic finish wasn’t always part of the contest as earlier in the game the Patriots would actually lead early on thanks to an RBI double by Moody that brought in Kate Manes (2-4, 2 R, 3B) to make it 1-0, later in the inning Moody would come into score when Jordyn Krystek hit a ball that was misplayed by the Sharks which led to a 2-0 lead.

However, the momentum was short-lived as the Sharks behind an RBI single by Zoe Andrade (1-4, R, RBI), followed by another RBI single by Lizette Vargas (2-4, R, RBI, 2B) and later a miscue by the Patriots they would take a 3-2 lead in the top of the third inning.

Later in the top of the fifth still leading by a run, the Sharks would add another run when Illiana Romero (1-4, R, 2 RBI) drove in a run, and later with two outs, Leanna Sandoval (1-2, R, 2 RBI) would drive in a pair of runs to extend the lead to 6-2.

Despite now trailing the Patriots didn’t fret as a pair of errors by the Sharks led to both Ashley Wood (RUN) and Tyler Krystek (RUN) reaching safely. A couple of batters later with one out Allyson Moody (1-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, HR) came up and blasted a three-run homer over the left-field fence to bring Christian within 6-5.

Still only trailing by a run and one out Allyson Moody who homered earlier was walked, that was followed by a base hit by Kate Manes which advanced Moody to second to set up the wild finish.

For the Sharks Karizma Garcia who started the game allowed five runs on seven hits in six and a third inning of work which also saw her strike out one, Lenika Padilla (3-4, R, 2B, 3B) who came into try and finish things off allowed two runs on two hits and walked one took the loss.

On the other side for the Patriots, Allyson Moody went the distance going seven full innings to get the win as she allowed six runs on nine hits and walked five, and struck out five on the day.


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