East County Sports

Helix rules Hilltop event, Ramuno MVP



ECS staff report

CHULA VISTA — The  second Saturday of the annual Hilltop Tournament provided much of the same success the Helix Highlanders enjoyed in Week One — but barely.

Needing to go into extra innings after advancing into the championship contest, the Scotties tallied three times in the 8th inning to escape with a 5-2 victory over the previously undefeated Holtville Vikings from the Imperial Valley.

Although there was no official all-tournament team named by tournament officials, the MVP according to the media was Scotties standout pitcher Sophia Ramuno

The ballgame had “potential upset” written all over it after Helix’s expected opponent, Bonita Vista, bowed out of the event unexpectedly.

“Going into this game, we were prepared to face Bonita Vista, but they dropped out of the tournament this morning,” noted Ramuno, a senior. “Therefore, our game wasn’t against them and we needed to play Holtville.”

“They had a couple bloop basehits they strung together to manufacture runs,” she added. “Their pitching held us at-bay and part of the reason why we were forced into extra innings.”

There were also concerns about continuing the contest at a later date with the sun expected to fall within the hour, yet Helix immediately came through with a 3-run rally to take home the trophy.

The International Tiebreaker rule was in effect to start the eighth, with Evans taking second base, the advancing on a lead bunt by Farace in one of her biggest days at the plate all season.

In addition, there was a throwing error on the play which allowed Evans to scamper all the way home with the tie-breaking run at 3-2.

Ramuno later added a pair of insurance runs with a single up the middle, bringing home both Angel Riggins (safe on error) and Young (single to left).

The rally have Ramuno a 3-run cushion when she returned to the circle to hand Holtville (7-1) its first setback.

Ramuno earned the win, striking out 15 Vikings batters — including, at one point, eight in a row . She also endured a rough inning in the second, when Holtville tallied its two runs on four hits. Otherwise, the remaining seven frames, she fired no-hit ball.

“Collectively, we played a good game and I thought Holtville to be decent,” the Helix pitcher added.

Entering the finale, the Vikings had allowed 24 runs in seven previous starts (3..4 runs/game), but scoring didn’t come easy early on for the Scotties, although they did reach the scoreboard in their first trip to the plate. Much of the early offense centered around Lauren Farace.

In the first inning (Helix was the visitor), third baseman Amber Young smacked a hard ground single through the left side of the infield. The clutch, two-out knock brought home Farace (single).

The Highlanders added a second run in the fifth, thanks to a leadoff triple from Kamryn Evans, followed by a successful squeeze bunt by Farace.

The Vikings evened the score in the sixth, with catcher Kaitlyn Havens hitting a 2-run single to left field with two down.

Helix (7-3) opens a 3-game homestand next weekend with a series of night games. However, one contest was returned to daytime status.

The Scotties will host 6 p.m. night games on Sat., Mar. 19 against Olympian, then Thurs., May. 24 against Torrey Pines. The middle game in the sequence has return to a 4 p.m. start on Tue., Mar.22, with Escondido.

Oddly, Escondido is used to playing night games as the long-time host of the prestigious Cougar Classic tournament at Kit Carson Park for more than 25 years.

—  Compiled by Nick Pellegrino



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