East County Sports

Scotties out-slug El Capitan



ECS staff report

LA MESA —- After a couple of years apart, the Helix Highlanders and the El Capitan Vaqueros are reunited once more in the Grossmont Hills league. In what could be a preview of some thrilling Grossmont Conference match-ups to come, both teams put up big runs, with the Highlanders managing to hold on through a furious Vaquero rally, 9-7, on Monday (Feb. 28).

The scoring began early as El Cap outfielder Alyssa Fierro singled to lead off the game

Fierro later being driven in by a two out single by starting first baseman Brooke Horn. In the bottom of the first, Helix’s center fielder Kamryn Evans reached base on an error. Shortstop Lauren Farace followed with a double over the left fielder’s head, scoring Evans and tying the game. Third baseman Amber Young followed with a single through the 5-6 hole, placing runners at the corners for Helix’s starting pitcher, Sophia Ramuno. Ramuno lifted a fly ball to center, bringing home Farace on the sacrifice fly. Later, with two outs, Valeria Avila lined a single into center, scoring Young and giving Helix their third run of the game.

In the bottom of the second, the Highlanders continued to apply pressure as Evans walked, Farace singed, and Young walked to load the bases. Ramuno lifted another sacrifice fly, this time to right field, driving in Helix’s fourth run. Catcher Tatiana Hernandez followed with a ground ball to short – the infield failed to execute the play, and the ensuing error allowed another pair of runs to come home. With two innings in the books, Helix was holding a 6-2 lead.

In the top of the third, the top of the El Capitan order struck. Fierro led off with a double, and center fielder Dominique Garcia drove her in with a line drive single into right field. The rally was cut short, however, as Ramuno induced a routine fly ball and struck a batter out before snagging a scorching liner off of the bat of Horn to retire the side. In the bottom of the inning, the Highlanders managed to draw three consecutive walks but El Cap starting pitcher D. Wells navigated the threat with no harm done.

The bats were silent again until the bottom of the fourth, where the Highlanders added what turned out to be critical insurance runs. With one out, Hernandez lined a double into the outfield gap and was then replaced by courtesy runner Danika Munoz. Following a strikeout, Ivy Greene reached base on a two-out walk, while Munoz advanced to third base on a passed ball. Right fielder Ashton Isbell followed with a base hit into center, scoring Munoz. Next, left fielder Cassandra Dominguez battled to a full count and drew a walk to load the bases. With the top of the order due to bat, El Cap made the pitching change, moving Brooke Horn from first base to the pitching circle. Leadoff hitter Kamryn Evans then drew a walk, scoring Greene for Helix’s eighth run. Finally, Farace dug in, having yet to be retired on the day. She delivered a fly ball into center field that fell in for a hit, scoring Isbell. However, an aggressive baserunning decision by Helix brought the rally to an end as the center fielder Garcia delivered a great throw to catcher Ava Gall, who applied the tag to Dominguez to end the inning.

With time running short, and facing a 9-3 deficit, the top of the Vaquero batting order uncorked a dizzying rally as Fierro led things off with a walk, and Garcia and Gall each followed with a pair of singles. With the bases loaded, shortstop Hailey Mulligan drew a run-scoring walk, and Horn drove in one more with a single. With still no outs, right fielder Maddie Taylor lined a two-run single into center field for El Cap’s sixth and seventh runs of the day. After allowing six consecutive batters aboard, Ramuno finally managed to quiet things down with a routine fly ball to right and a pair of strikeouts.

In the top of the sixth and with the top of the order looming, the pressure was on. Fierro led off with a single lined into left, and Garcia followed with a well-placed bunt single. Gall then rolled a ball to short, where Helix’s freshman shortstop Farace made the heads up play to cut down the lead runner at third. After another strikeout and an intentional walk to set up the force out at any base, Ramuno induced one more fly ball, which was caught for the third out.

With their final opportunity upon them in the top of the seventh, Vaquero third baseman Alanna Christiaens stepped in and delivered a leadoff single. With every batter now representing the potential tying run, Ramuno dug deep one last time, striking out the next batter on three pitches before inducing the 1-6-3 double play – Ramuno to Farace to Avila – to secure the victory for the Highlanders.

Ramuno finished the game with the W, striking out 8 while allowing 12 hits, 4 walks, and 7 runs (6 earned) in the 138 pitch effort. Meanwhile, for the Vaqueros, Wells was tagged with the loss, allowing 9 runs (5 earned) along with 7 hits, 7 walks, and 2 strikeouts across 3.2 innings. In relief, Horn allowed a hit and 2 walks, while striking out 1 in 2.1 innings of work.

Offensively, Farace of the Highlanders was not put out on the day, earning three hits and walking once while driving in a pair and scoring two more. For the Vaqueros, Garcia notched three hits with an RBI and a run scored, while also contributing a successful sacrifice bunt. Also, Fierro tallied three base hits and a walk while scoring three runs at the top of the El Capitan batting order.


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