East County Sports

Christian remains in GMC Tournament mix

2022 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL


By Nick Pellegrino

ECS staff writer

SANTEE — The Christian Patriots recorded their most lopsided triumph of the season, making quick work of West Hills, 12-1, in GMC Tournament action Friday (Mar. 11) at Wolf Pack Park.

The arm of Christian’s Ashton McCurty was saved for another day, going the minimum four innings requited to gain the victory. “A-Mac” allowed just four hits on three strikeouts in his four shutout frames, followed three relievers with an inning each in a combined 5-hitter.

Five members of the Patriots — catcher Hunter Kaul,  first baseman Aidan Haley, second baseman, shortstop Vaughn Major and McCurty — all collected two RBI in a truly balanced attack,

In addition, Shane Bailey scored on 2-for-3 hitting plus a walk, as he Patriots’ 15 hits featured three doubles and a pair of triples.

“After the first inning, we knew we had it,” noted Bailey. “We only scored two, but we scored so quickly. that’s how good of a team we are — we can strike at any moment.”

“It helps when we have a solid pitching rotation to always keep us in ballgames.”

Christian moved to 6-2 overall; West Hills sinks to 2-5-1, with just one win in its last seven.

Eastlake 14, Steele Canyon 4
RANCHO SAN DIEGO — Steele Canyon suffered its most embarrassing home loss in the regular season in four years, committing four errors while Eastlake smashed four RBI doubles in a 15-4 GMC Tournament beat-down on Friday (Mar. 11).

The margin matched an identical 11-run slapping from Temecula-Great Oak, 14-3, during the opening week of the 2019 campaign.

The wheels came off so badly, the Cougars coaches all-but-conceded by opening the doors of the bullpen to anyone, as eight different arms took the toll on the mound for the hosts.

The run-scoring doubles for Eastlake (4-3) were by Ben Melendrez, Daniel Mora, Michael Rocha and Ryan Albano, supporting winning pitcher David Vargas (4.1 IP, 3 Ks).

Steele Canyon (6-2) following a 5-0 start, are now 1-2 in the tournament.

All of the Cougars runs come on homers — Weston Clark (solo in the first. before the Titans tallied nine straight runs) and Tommy Molina (3-run shot in the fifth).

Madison 5, Helix 3
LA MESA — In a long day for catchers on both sides, the Helix Highlanders were in contention, only down 2-1 when a fielding mistake led to a pair of unearned runs, allowing Madison to stretch a 2-1 advantage into a 5-1 cushion to take Friday’s (Mar. 11) GMC Tournament contest.

Gavin Lass reached base on a dropped third strike — which is ruled an error on the catcher if not a wild pitch on the pitcher –.and was safe at first base.

Moments later, cleanup batter Jake “J.J.” Jackson and Zyan Watson ripped consecutive doubles to build a 4-1 lead. A third run in the inning came home on a traditional passed ball.

The Scotties answered back with single runs in their final two trips to the plate, but the damage was too great in falling for the second straight contest.

With the Warhawks in front 2-0, they committed their own pair of passed balls on consecutive batters in the third, allowing Helix to halve the lead.

The other runs for the Highlanders came on an Anthony Matthiesen bases-loaded single in the sixth, but the budding rally ended when Madison turned an inning-ending double play.

In the seventh, Cameron Tarling stroked a one-out homer to left field, then opes got high when James Whitman and Wyatt Laub grounded consecutive basehits through the left side of the infield. Another dropped third strike by Madison was still converted into an out at first base to clinch the road victory.

.Helix pitcher Ben Haar went five nice innings but took the loss on the pair of unearned runs. Reliever Caleb Thomas tossed two no-hit innings.

Madison pitcher Maddox Haley also lasted five innings for the win. A trio of Hawks came out of the bullpen to register one out each, including the final out by Lass for the save.

Whitman and Laub both batted 2-for-3 for Helix (4-3 overall), Madison goes to 6-3 to remain in tournament contention at 2-1 in its pool.

Mission Bay 4, Monte Vista 0
PACIFIC BEACH — Mission Bay sophomore Harold Gildehaus posted his best career outing to date with a 4-hit shutout against visiting Monte Vista in a 4-0 decision Friday (Mar. 22) at Dennis Pugh Field,

The underclassman, who is listed at a polite 5-foot-9, 130 pounds, who got a victory in his only career varsity outing against Holtville at as a freshman, is now 2-1 this year after striking out four Monarchs batters in a complete-game triumph.

The Buccaneers’ Jeremiah Morgan, another sophomore, delivered a 2-run double in the first, The run was driven in by Josh Morgan in the sixth. Both went 2-for-4.

Monte Vista (.2-5) received half of the ballclub’s hits from Tyler Lemen. The others were from a pair of sophomores — David Rodriguez and Justyn Stone.

The Monarchs’ hard-luck losing pitcher was Gavin Daley, also a sophomore, who allowed just one other hit besides the homer over 4.1 innings. He struck out six Bucs batters.

Patrick Henry 4, Valhalla 0
RANCHO SAN DIEGO — Patrick Henry sophomore Talin Gardini(went the distance in throwing a tantalizing 1-hit shutout at the Valhalla Norsemen on Friday (Mar. 11).

Gardini struck out nine Norsemen batters while walking just two, finishing just three batters above the minimum.

The Patriots’ offense was centered around Noah Filson. The junior posted three hits and a pair of RBI, while senior Ryan Ellis drove in another run with a double.

This is the best start for Patrick Henry (6-1) since starting 5-1-1 in 2019 and winning their first eight straight in 2014.

The lone hit for struggling Valhalla (1-6) was not reported. They have only scored 15 times this season, nine in the last six contests (all setbacks).

Scoreboard
Christian 12, West Hills 1
Granite Hills 8, Cathedral Catholic 1
Santana 3, Scripps Ranch 1
Bonita Vista 4, at Grossmont 4, tie (9 inn., darkness)
Patrick Henry 4, Valhalla 0
Eastlake 14, Steele Canyon 3
Madison 5, Helix 3
Mission Bay 4, Monte Vista 0

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