East County Sports

Alto unstoppable in Sultans relief, too

2022 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

ECS staff report

RANCHO SAN DIEGO — Suddenly, what happened to the walk-off, game-winning hit.

Steele Canyon placed the potential game-tying runners on base in the bottom of the seventh, with the batter representing the game-winning marker

However, Santana ace pitcher Koda Alto was summoned for a rare relief appearance .yet coaxed a game-ending double play grounder to give th Sultans a 3-1 decision over the Cougars in Tuesdqy’s (Mar. 22) dramatic Grossmont Hills League opener.

Santana now owns the best overall record in the East County at 9-2 overall (1-0 in GHL).

In the first in a series of expected GHL pitchers’ duels, Caleb Harris fired six solid innings to collect the win over Gabe Diaz of Steele Canyon.

Santana, holding a 2-0 lead, saw Harris surrendered an unearned run in the fifth, then exited after six due to the pitch count.

Steele Canyton thought they had the opportunity after placed runners on the corners thanks to a leadoff double by Ethan Browne, then a out-out single from Diego Ceniceros.

But the call to Alto saw Santana second baseman Elijah Reber cleanly collected the grounder, with ensuing throws to shortstgopJayden Agramont and first baseman Jason Gonzalez leaving the Sultans in an early share of first place with Granite Hills.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t play our cleanest baseball today but we still did enough to win,” said Harris. “We love playing lights-out baseball because we get in a groove and then we will become unstoppable.”

“We all love these types of games as a team because we are all staying intrigued.”

The Santana placed single markers on theboard in the second, third and fifth innings to slowly expand the lead.

With Harris escaing a second-inning jam of three Steele Canyon singles to leave the bases load, Harris may have been tired by staying on the basepaths for most of the top of the second.

Harris stroked a leadoff double to right field, yet was still in the middle of the infield when a two-out error on a ball hit by Bradley Phillips was booted.

Aninning kater, a leadoff triple by No. 9 htting Jayden Agramont was cashed in on a one-out basehit by Caden Corderman.

The lead went to 3-0 as yet another Santana leadoff batter reached base. Agramont singled, when to second on a sacrifice but by Reber, but when the ball was thrown away, Agramont went like an astronaut and circled the globe (based).

Steele Canyon avoided the shutout with a run after two were down. Weston Clark reached on an error, then stole second base. An error moved hime to third, with Will James stroked am RBI basehit on a 3-2 pitch.

For Santana, Agramont batted 3-for-3 from the “double-leadoff spot” (as explained by Hall of Fame baseball manage Tony LaRussa about the No. 9 spot).

Steele Canyon (7-4, 0-1 GHL) saw Nate Custeau collect two hits in the Cougars’ GHL debut. Both sides collected seven hits, while Diaz struck out five Sultans batters in his complete-game performance.

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