East County Sports

Daley Shutout sparks Monarchs’ recovery



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

SPRING VALLEY — How does a ballclub bounce back from an embarrassing defeat?

“We’ve come a long way and we’ve still got some improvement to make,” said Monte Vista pitcher Gavin Daley. “I think the line-up was well thought out. Sure, I think there is a few changes I would make, but I was really set up for success today.”

The result turned into a second consecutive Monarchs victory to cap the week on a positive note, stopping visiting Valhalla, 4-0, in Friday’s non-league contest between league rivals.

Daley fired a 2-hit, complete-game shutout, striking out six Norsemen batters.

“It worked out in our favor,” added Daley, “Valhalla can’t hit lefties well at all, so I just happened to be the right man for the right job.”

Although a non-league contest, the Norsemen were considered a co-favorite with West Hills for the Grossmont Valley League pennant since Steele Canyon left via promotion to join the Grossmont Hills League.

However, can Monte Vista now become a title-contender, too?

“I love are chances as a team,” he added.

Daley fought a pitchers’ duel with Valhalla senior David Gordon, holding a 1-0 lead in the first inning. However, the Monarchs broke through with three runs in the sixth to wrap-up the victory.

“We have been trying to find the right offensive and defensive lineups,” noted head coach Craig Neu. “With so many new faces, you have to try several combinations until you find something that works.

“Now, the team chemistry is starting to come together.”

Daley, a sophomore, also registered the game-winning RBI.

Following a two-out triple by senior Isaiah Hilke, Daley dropped a basehit, also to right field, for the opening score.

Then in the sixth, Jacob Schweizer recorded a run-scoring single, then Niko Heidt had a two-run double with two down.

“This is just a young team slowly maturing,” added Neu. “You want to continue and improve as a team. That is exactly what we have done.”

“Eastlake (a 23-0 loss to start the week) was a throw-away game. That was just a tough day at the park .”

For Valhalla (4-10 overall), Gordon struck out seven Monarchs batters and walked just one in his 6-inning, complete game.

In historical terms, the Norsemen suffered just their third shutout defeat to a Grossmont Valley League opponent since the conference switched from the Nort/South format in 2008-09. The others came courtesy of Monte Vista in 2018, and West Hills in 2013.

West Hills 8, El Capitan 2

SANTEE — Braden Wilson and Connor Evans combined to toss a 3-hitter, while the top five batters in the West Hills batting order all drove n runs, leading the Wolf Pack to an closer-than-it-looks 8-2 verdict over El Capitan in Friday’s (April 1) non-league ballgame at Wolf Pack Park.

West Hills held an early 2-0 lead, but the Vaqueros got even with single runs in the fifth and sixth frames, the game-tying run raced home on a wild pitch.

However, the Pack countered with six runs in the sixth to blow the game open.

Wilson dominated the Vaqueros with 12 strikeouts, but when El Cap moved to even and had the go-ahead runs on base, Bryce Smith entered to escape the jam.

And when West Hills put up its 6-pack of runs, by facing just one batter, Smith collected the victory.

Evans followed with a 1-2-3 seventh inning to finalize the decision.

West Hills (6-6-1 overall) saw Smith, who started at second base and finished in left field, collected a pair of RBI. Meanwhile, shortstop Nate Sykowski also knocked in a pair of runs.

El Capitan .(5-8) saw left fielder JJett Hayes, a junior, collected two base hits. Cole Winsor had an RBI on an out in the fifth to spoil the shutout bid.


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