East County Sports

Hillers back on high, down Sage in Thyme

Grossmont's River Diaz De Leon slams a fifth inning, go-ahead double to help defeat Sage Creek, 6-5 / Dave Dickens photo



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

FLETCHER HILLS — The entire 2022 baseball regular season for the Grossmont Foothillers replayed itself in the Hillers postseason opener on Tuesday (May 17).

A fast start to the season — a 5-0 record to claim a tournament championship — saw Grossmont take a quick 3-0 lead against Sage Creek.

However, the Bobcats of inland Carlsbad battled back to take 4-3 lead — similar to Grossmont’s rough mid-season sun.

However, the Foothillers bounded back for a fourth consecutive victory, tallying three times in the fifth inning to sink Sage Creek, 6-5, in a CIF San Diego Section Division I play=off affair.

Talk about the high of highs, the low of lows, then finally some additional highs.

The winning rally saw Grossmont’s first three batters reach to load the bases. Joaquin sent an intentional roller to the right side to send Jose Carranza (lead single) home.

Moments later, the go-ahead run came on a River Diaz De Leo double, scoring Cody Bigley (walk).

However, what proved to be an important insurance marker came on a base-loaded walk to Noah Barnes to wcore Justin Tucker (walk).

The Barnes-Tucker run proved decisive when the Bobcats answered with an RBI single with two down in the seventh.

However, Hillers releiver Mason Dirkes capped his 2.2 innings from out of the bullpen with a fly out to Barnes in right field.

Sage Creek, which walked four batters in the fifth, also walked three additional Hillers when the hosts grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second.

Tucker walked with the bases loaded, Barron Zamora lofted a sacrifice fly, then Barnes lined an RBI single to left field.

Hillers starting pitcher Skyler Sasena-Ruth tossed four solid innings, but left without the lead in the ffith. Dirkes gained the victory in relief; the senior ran his record to 4-3.

Seeded No. 5, Grossmont (11-17-1 overall) advances to the double-elimination portion of the D-2 Tournament, heading to No. 4-seed Poway (14-15) on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

Sage Creek (10-19) saw cleanup hitter Noah Sharar, a senior catcher, bat 2-for-3 with three RBI.


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