East County Sports

Wolf Pack Secure GVL co-championship

A batter from Bayfront Charter steps into the box against host Mountain Empire in Thursday's Paicific League contest won by the visiting Sharks / Grabowksi Family courtesy photo



By Adam Paul

RANCHO SAN DIEGO (5-12-22) – A pair of runs scored late in the game by The West Hills Wolf Pack not only procure them the 4-3 victory over the Valhalla Norsemen but also a share of the Grossmont Valley League Championship.

Early on the Wolf Pack would lead 2-0 thanks to RBI singles by Alyssa Thornton and Emily Byrd with two outs in the top of the first inning. Both Amaya Angeli and Kristina Deal would score in the inning.

However, a couple of innings later in the bottom of the third, the momentum would swing towards the Norsemen as Cadyn Ruffer led off with a solo home run over the center-field fence and Naomi Villava would follow that up with a game-tying solo home run. Later in the inning with the score tied at 2-2 and two outs, Aubrielle Mckee would double in Bailey Lenz to give Valhalla its first lead of the game 3-2.

Later in the contest, as both sides pitching were matching each other inning for inning the Wolf Pack would finally break thru in the top of the sixth inning.

Leading off Byrd was able to single to center field, the next batter Faith Balestreri would advance Byrd to second base with a single to left field. After another base hit by Marina Morales to load the bases the following batter, Samiya Wright would drive in Balestreri to tie the game at 3-3 and Byrd would come into score in the inning as well to allow the Pack to regain the lead 4-3.

Wolf Pack starter Alyssa Thornton would make the one-run lead stand as she only allowed one runner over the next two innings to reach before shutting the door on any chance the Norsemen had of making a comeback of any sort.

Villava of the Norsemen would take the loss as she allowed four runs of which all were earned on nine hits while striking out five on the day.

Thornton for the Pack would pick up the victory as she allowed three runs of which all were earned on five hits over seven innings of work that saw her walk one and fan eight on the day.

With the win the Wolf Pack and Norsemen tie for the Grossmont Valley League Championship. The championship is the first for the Norsemen since the 2018 season when they finished a perfect 10-0 to claim the Valley League Crown. On the other side, the championship for the Wolf Pack is the first since the 2015 season in which they finished 7-1 to claim the Hills League Crown.

I couldn’t be any more proud of my girls,” said West Hills head coach Mike Applebaum. “They play hard, tough, and never quit.”

When asked about Thornton’s performance:  “Alyssa pitched a phenomenal game, probably even better than the 4-0 victory over El Capitan. She has really come into her own and found her groove and comfort zone. She hit all her spots tonight, and despite not getting a few calls, pitched through it. Even after Valhalla hit back-to-back home runs, she never faltered. In fact, she came back and pitched even stronger.”

“Valhalla is a really good team both defensively and offensively, so my hats off to them. Their first-year head coach (Jade Rodriguez) does a fantastic job with her girls.”

Both teams figure to do well when it comes to the playoff seeding when seeds and pairings are announced on Saturday.


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