East County Sports

Young grand slam lifts restless Helix

2022 EAS COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

 

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

LA MESA — After a killer start of the season when the Helix Highlanders were bombing home runs all over the yard, the Scotties have been in a long-ball drought of late — just when the ballclub started consistently wnning.

“We have a couple of guys who can go deep,” Helix head coach Cole Hollard explained. “But that’s not our game.”

“Good, tough at-bats is out key to success.”

On Thursday (Aor. 29), the Scotties received both.

After Grossmont scored in the sixth inning to knot the team’s Grossmont Hills League contest at 4-all, Scotties senior Trevor Young offered a glimps of the ballclub’s early-season power, drilling a tie-breaking grand slam for an 8-4 conquest of the arch-rival Foothillers.

“As a team, we’ve become content with producing runs by laying down bunts, moving runners over, and scoring them with singles, instead of trying to force big hits,” said Young, who posted a career-high five RBI. “We’re continuing to win because we’ve become more scrappy.”

As discussed here all season, the sound strategy call for an intentional walk to a power hitter failed yet again.

With two Helix runners on base and only one down, Grossmont elected to offer Ben Haar — the author of two slames this season — a free pass.

All season long, Wyatt Laub proved the perfect back-up with key hits, but on this rare occasion, he struck out.

However, like Laub has backed-up Haar virtually all season, Young was there to back-up Laub with his line-drive slam to left field — the Scotties dugout immediately erupted on contact.

“I think it’s a combination of too things,” noted Young. “Firstly (cq.), everyone on the team has completely bought into our approach; stay middle away and move runners over.”

“Even if we don’t have one or two home runs in a game, we’re still producing runs because we’re grinding out at-bats and putting balls in play.”

Grossmont prove it, too, can grind by scoring single runs over i2 through 4 innings, mounting a 3-1 lead. However, Helix tallied three times in the fourth to pull ahead.

In the decisive sixth, the Hillers pulled even on doubles by Cody Bigley and Jose Carranza. The Hillers had a chance fore more, but Helix escaped when shortstop David Blome started an inning-ending double play.

The momentum from the defensive stop carried over to the next Helix trip to the plate, as Blome , the No. 9 hitter, led off with a double.

Turning over the batting order, Cameron Tarling reached on an error which proved huge. One out later, Haar was issued his pass, Laub struck out, but Young salvaged the rally.

“Our pitching and especially our defense has improved tremendously,” Young added. “Our pitchers have done an amazing job at holding teams to 3 or 4 runs a game at most, so even if we don’t bring our best to the plate that day, we still have a fighting chance.”

Grossmont scored early on a sacrifice fly by Anthony Box-Augustine in the second, a Barron Zamora solo homer in the third, then a bases-loaded error in the fourth.

Helix countered with Young;s first RBI in the third. However, a second potential run was cut down when right field River Diaz De Leon fired a srike to catcher Joaqiin Baez for the Hillers’ defensive gem of the day.

The Scotties’ 3-run rally in the fourth saw Demarae Woods smack a lead home run, followed by three straight walks. Haar lifted a sacrifice flt with two runs scoring for the lead.

For Heix (12-8 overall, 4-2 GHL) now owns a 5-game winning streak, overcoming an 0-2 start in league play to vault to within a game of co-leading Santana and granite Hills. Caleb Thomas gained the pitching win with two innings of relief.

Grossmont (7-14-1 overall, 1-6 GHL), which is tied for fourth with Steele Canyon, saw leadoff batter Justin Tucker, Cody Bigley and Diaz De Leon each collect two hits.

Pacific League
Maranatha Christian 6, Foothills Christian 3

4S-RANCH — Foothills Christian left the potential game-tying runs on base in both the sixth and seventh innings, falling just short to host Maranatha Christian, 6-3, in Thursday’s (Apr. 28) Pacific League contest.

The Knights scored three times in the sixth to avoid the Eagles’ upset bid. The at-bat saw Foothills later load the bases with one down in both of their final pair of trips to the plate, but failed to collect the game-breaking basehit.

The victory kept Maranatha Christian (12-12 overall) in a tie for the Pacific lead with Escondido Charter at 4-0. Foothills Christian (10-13 overall) remains in third at 2-2 in league play.

Eagles pitcher Joey Wittig retired the Knights’ first six batters, carying a 2-hit shutout into the sixth inning before FCHS could solve the right-hander.

Elijah Morr stroked a lead single, followed by consecutive walks to John Popka and Dustin “Dusty” Baker to load the bases.

A Colby Johnson ground ball to the right side easily bring Morr home to break the shutout, but a Wittig strike out left two down.

However, an RBI walk to Taylor Casey forced home a run, then a single by Colton White would halve the deficit to 6-3, ending Wittig’s day. Reliever Ethan Howe entered to not only ended the rally, he also escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh to collect the save.

Wittig (5) and Howe (2) combined to strike out seven Knights batters, finishing with a 5-hitter.

For Foothills Christian, Morr the center fielder, batted 3-for-3 and scored a run.

Grossmont Valley League
Monte Vista 27, ECVHS 0

EL CAJON — The Monte Vista Monarchs equaled the school’s 21st Century mark for runs scored in a 27-0 decision over El Cajon Valley in Grossmont Valley League play Thursday (Apr. 28).

Monarchs pitchers Jacob Schweizer and Izzmael Ocampo collobrated on a 3-hit shutout. Schweizer, a sophomore, struck out four Braves batters in as many innings for the win. Ocampo added five whifs over three full innings of relief to qualify for a save for Monte Vista (9-15 overall, 3-3 GVL).

On offense, seven different Monte Vista players registered two RBI, but two others — Oscar Ortega and No. 14 (not listed, probably a JC call-up) — each collected four RBI from the bottom of the batting order.

The hits for EVHS were by Joesph Johnson, Luis Hernandez and Rikki Ortiz.

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