East County Sports

Ramuno reaches 500 career strikeouts – El Cap takes GHL lead



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

LA MESA — In the middle of the sixth inning, there was a slight delay in Tuesday’s (Apr. 26) showdown between El Capitan and Helix high schools, the undefeated co-leaders of the Grossmont Hills League at 4-0.

Helix senior pitcher Sophia Ramuno, standing in the circle and working on a shutout, wondered why the home plate umpire wouldn’t toss her a ball.

“I’m not sure which batter it was, but I saw Darren (Emory, the Scotties head coach) ask the umpire to swap out the balls — I wasn’t quite sure why.”

“After the inning when I came in, he told me why and I was shocked.”

In a region traditionally known for strong pitching, Ramuno became the sixth Grossmont Conference pitcher to achieve 500 career strikeouts since the state body of the CIF made softball a state-sanctioned sport in 1974-75 — it was a winter sport back then.

Ramuno’s total ranks second in school history only behind the mark of 672 set by Amy Lopez, one of the all-time greats, from 1993-96.

The conference mark is 766 by Jenny Lahitte of Granite Hills (2007-10),

The CIF-San Diego Section mark is also held by an East County, but not at an East County school.

Pitching in the same seasons as Lehitte was Santee resident Cassidy Coleman of Horizon Christian (the old school in Clairemont, not the new one in Rancho Santa Fe). Coleman’s mark finished at 1,106 Ks.

Ramuno’s numbers are still growing with at least three more weeks of regular-season play.

“I had no idea I had reached that number,” she added. “It really is a personal accomplishment for me because it’s not a number I really thought I’d ever reach in high school.”

Other East County players high on the section list include players from Christian, Patrick Henry and Mountain Empire.

However, what makes Ramuno’s mark interesting: it’s the first significant total since the pitching rubber was pushed back to 43 feet just before the pandemic.

Softball started at 37 feet, which meant an unlimited amount of scoreless contests going deep into extra innings until finally decided (usually) by an error. It’s one reason the original women’s pro softball league — which once included the San Diego Sandpipers — eventually failed.

The center of the circle was moved to 40 feet until a switch to its current distance. Thus, the national body for softball — the American Softball Association — is considering creating separate record books for the various distances.

— Dave Dickens contributed to this report.

By Adam Paul

LA MESA (4-26-22) – The big battle of the top two teams lived up to the hype as both teams held each other in check but in the end, the El Capitan Vaqueros scored three times in the top of the eighth inning and were able to come away with a 3-1 victory over the Helix Highlanders on Tuesday in Grossmont Hills action.

Both teams aren’t strangers to tight games being decided in the late innings as both teams when in the Valley side of the Grossmont league played multiple one-run contests with the second meeting usually deciding who would win the league crown.

Tuesday was no different as both Vaqueros ace Brooke Horn and Highlanders ace Sophia Ramuno went head-to-head in an old-fashioned pitchers duel as they shut down the others’ offense.

Despite neither team finding their groove offensively, the Vaqueros would be the first to solve the puzzle as they would go on to score three runs all with two outs off of Ramuno in the top of the eighth inning behind multiple hits and take advantage of an error by the Highlanders.

It all started with two outs and Alyssa Fierro (1-4, R) lining a single to left field which was followed by a ball hit by Dominique Garcia (RUN) that was misplayed and thrown away which allowed Fierro to race around and score to give them a 1-0 lead.

With Garcia ending up on third base due to the error by the Highlanders, the Vaqueros looked for more and sure enough, Hailey Mulligan (1-4, R, 2 RBI, 3B) came thru as she ripped a triple to center field to bring home Garcia and on the misplay on the throw, Mulligan would also plate to make it 3-0.

Just like in previous contests over the last few years, the game wasn’t over till the last out as Helix did their best to make a comeback starting with a lead walk by Ivy Greene (1-3, R), she would advance to second on a sacrifice bunt. Now with one out and Greene on second base the batter Kori Jonilonis would draw a walk to put runners on first and second and only one out.

A couple of batters later with two outs, the Highlanders would push across a run when Angel Riggins (1-4, RBI) singled to center field, which allowed Greene to come in making it 3-1. With the game-tying run at first base Amber Young came up to bat but Horn would get her to fly out to end the game.

Pitching wise Horn for the Vaqueros picked up the win as she went all eight innings in which she allowed one run on four hits while walking one and striking out one.

Her counterpart Ramuno of the Highlanders would be tagged with the loss despite striking out six and walking one over eight innings in which she allowed three runs on four hits.

The loss by the Highlanders snapped their fourteen-game league winning streak which was the longest since the Granite Hills Eagles won eleven in a row from late 2016 to the last league game of the season in May of 2017.

With the win, the Vaqueros have won three in a row and thirteen of their last fourteen contests and take over first place in the Grossmont Hills league while the Highlanders drop to second place.

By Tyler Gribble
Special to ECS.com

LA MESA — The Helix Highlanders’ 14-game league win streak was snapped on Tuesday (Apr.26), despite combined shutouts by the Vaqueros’ Brooke Horn and Sophia Ramuno, of Helix, through regulation, allowing a mere five hits between the ballclubs.

However, El Capitan’s bats came alive in the 8th inning, defeating Helix, 3-1, to break a log-jam of the Grossmont Hills League standings.

Meanwhile, Ramuno established a personal milestone with her 500th varsity strikeout.

The decisive extra-inning began with a 2-out rally by El Capitan, which would give them first place all alone in the Grossmont Hills League.

Alyssa Fierro singled, followed by an infield chopper off of the bat of Dominique Garcia that was misplayed and thrown up the line into right field, as Fierro circled the bases for a 1-0 lead.

Hailey Mulligan then tripled and drove in Garcia before she came home to score due to an error on the relay throw from the outfield.

Facing the 3-run deficit, the Highlanders battled back.

Catcher Ivy Greene led off with a single and Kori Jonilonis walked to bring the potential game-tying run to the plate. Angel Riggins then delivered an RBI single into left-center field, but that was all the Helix lineup could muster, as the rally fell short.

For the Vaqueros, Horn worked all eight innings, allowing five hits and one run, while also striking out one Scotties batter.

Meanwhile, Ramuno was saddled with the loss after her 8- inning, complete-game performance. She allowed four hits and three runs (all unearned) while striking out seven Vaqueros.

Ramuno achieved a her milestone strikeout in the sixth.

“As for the game, it’s safe to say I am disappointed. We worked hard for this game and when it mattered we went cold.,” Ramuno noted. “Our defense was solid until the 8th inning and it fell apart.”

“In my mind, we gave El Cap that game. It’s not so much we got beat by them as much as we beat ourselves. ?

Horn, a ground ball pitcher, finished with just a single strikeout, yet garnered the victory.

Added Ramuno, “I have to hand it to Brooke. She pitched a great game.”

With the victory, El Capitan (18-5 overall) is now 5-0 in the GHL, while Helix (16-6) falls into second at 4-1.

Should the teams’ GHL record remains the same, they will meet in the regular-season finale to determine the league champion. The game is slated for Thurs., <ay 12, in Lakeside.

“I think this was a wake-up call to our team. I also think this was a wake-up call to the rest of the league that these two teams aren’t messing around,” she added. “It was an even match. We didn’t win this time and it hurts to say that, but by all means, this isn’t over. We will face them again.”



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