East County Sports

Hunter hits target, Pats win in extras



MORE TO COME!  Grossmont df. No. 1 St. Augustine , 2-1 (9 inn.)


By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

EL CAJON — Christian High junior Hunter Kaul almost connected on a dream shot.

In extra innings, Kaul blasted a drive through a drawn-in infield and into left field. Although that unforgettable aspiration of a walk-off home run failed to materialize, no one on the Patriots were complaining following Kauls’ RBI single down the line to the left-field fense in a 4-3 triumph over Santa Fe Christian in 9 innings.

Christian moved to 7-4 overall with Wednesday’s (Mar. 30) non-league triumph. The Eagles (formerly known as the Navigators) remain above water, level at 5-5.

“Going into my last at-bat, there were a lot of emotions and a lot of thinking, just trying to relax and calm myself,” said Kaul/ “It was obvious and very clear: I didn’t have my best game and i wasn’t at my best mentally.”

Still, remaining calm is always part of the formula for hitting success.

“I was trying to really just let the ball get deep and be (swing) short and drive something to right field,” he added. “I ended up getting a fastball inside, and with the infield is up, I ended up fisting the ball and getting it past the 3rd basemen.”

The deciding run came quickly against the Santa Fe Christian bullpen.

Shane Bailey drilled an 0-1 pitch deep to left-center field for a double, then took third base on a wild pitch.

Kaul followed with his drive to left. Although, allowing Bailey to effectively waltz easily home with the game-winning run.

“I had some help up above, not just from God, but from Jake (Palet) as well” Kaul noted. “I owe it all to the Lord up above, and to Jake — hs’s a bear.”

Christian maintains it strong record in extra innings, now standing at 9-4 in the ballclub’s last 13 games over seven season that went into extra innings.

“We definitely prefer to win them in seven innings.” mused Patriots head coach Mike Mitchell. “Our guys have found a way to string together some at bats and scratch some runs across when we play extras.”

The run-scored was doubly good for Bailey. The senior pitched the final three innings to collect the victory, as starter Vaughn Major left with a hard-luck no-decision.

Despite six solid innings by Major, all three runs allowed, including the game-tying run in the sixth, were unearned. Major finished allowing just four hits and striking out Nine Eagles batters.

The Patriots claimed a 2-1 advantage throgh the teams’ first at-bats. Right fielder Nathan Cena grounded a hard single up the middle to score both Bailey and Major.

A third-inning run came home on an Eagles error for a 3-1 lead.

Christian saw Bailey, the starting shortstop, bat 3-for-5 and scoring twice. Cena went 3-for-4 with two RBI, while first baseman/catcher Xavier Farnum posted a pair of basehits.

The Patriots next host Mira Mesa on Thursday before entering Eastern League play next week with a 3-game series with Clairemont.

Del Norte 7, Ramona 3
RAMONA — The Del Norte Nighthawks rallied late with six runs over the final three innings, thumping the Ramona Bulldogs bullpen in a 7-3 verdict in Wednesday’s (Mar. 30) Avocado East League opener.

Del Norte (8-2) scored twice in the fifth to move even, took the lead in the sixth, then added three insurance markers in the seventh.

Only four of the Nighthawks’ seen runs were earned, including pair of unearned runs in the seventh.

Ramona (2-8, 0-1 AEL) received three hits each from seniors Morgan Strong and Gabriel Lutz, but the rest of the batting order managed just one other basehit.

No offensive statistics were reported by Del Norte.

Eastlake 23, Monte Vista 0 (5 inn.)
EASTLAKE — The Eastlake Titans equaled a school record for largest shutout victory, squashing visiting Monte Vista, 23-0 in five innings,in non-league play onWednesday (Mar. 30).

The Titans (10-3 overall) equaled a mark set in 2010 against another East County school, Mount Miguel, by an identical score.

The 24 runs was one short of the school msrk of 23, set against Mater Dei Catholic (2005) and SD-Southwest (2015).

Meanwhile, the Monarchs (3-8) suffered marks for largest loss by shutout, and tied the mark for most runs allowed (by Valhalla, 2009).

Eastlake registered just one double among its 13 hiuts. Cleanup batter Matthew Duran went 4-for-4 with four RBI, while No. 9 bitter Zo Castruita had five RBI.

Winning pitcher David Vargas tossed a 3-hitter in iis four innings.

Notable: Leading 3-0 after the first, the Titans did not register an out in the second until a sacrifice fly brought in a run to make it 12-0 — eight runs scored before an out was recorded.


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