East County Sports

Miller’s diving grab caps Sultans upset

Left-handed batter Taylinn Warren of Santana / Courtesy, SD Prep Insider



ECS staff report

DEL CERRO  (5-17-22) – A close call for the 9th-seeded Santana Sultans (13-14) on Tuesday as they held on to oust the No. 8 Patrick Henry Patriots (10-11-1), 6-5, in a CIF Division I play-in thriller.

Leading 5-1, Santana allowed three Patriots runs in the bottom of the seventh, then  reloaded the bases with a solid opportunity for a walk-off winner.

However, the Patriots just missed by inches.

After Olivia Gigante was intentionally walked to avoid her power, McKenna Gieger sent a line drive to left field with “double” labeled all over the blast. However, defender McKenna Miller registered the grab in spectacular fashion to end the game and preserve the one-run victory for the Sultans.

Santana advances into the main draw, heading to the South Bay to meet top-seeded Mater Dei Catholic on Thursday,

Early on, Patrick Henry who was awarded the No. 8 seed as they claimed a Western League co-title started the momentum in the bottom of the first inning when Kaiah Altmeyer (2-3, 2 R, HR) lifted a shot over the right-center field fence for a solo home run to make it 1-0 early on.

But the Sultans who came into the contest seeded No. 9 were able to tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the second inning thanks to Kaitlyn Ours (1-3, RBI) who drove in Taylinn Warren (1-4, R) who had laced a one-out single to start things.

With the score tied at 1-1 in the top of the third inning, the Sultans really broke the game open as they scored four runs in the inning to take a 5-1 lead. Singles by both Samantha Sullivan (1-4, R) and Madison Jordan (2-4, R) would be cashed in when Kassidy Harper (1-3, R, 2 RBI, 2B) roped a double to left field scoring both Sullivan and Hailey Phillips (RUN) which was followed by Jordan racing home on a wild pitch. Leading 4-1 the Sultans would add on another run when Haley Oceguera was called out on a dropped third strike call and on the throw to first Harper raced home safely for the run.

Leading 5-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning the Sultans looked to put things away but the Patriots knowing they were down to their final opportunity really put a scare into Santana as their bats came alive.

Patriots leadoff hitter Maura Evans (1-3, R) started off with a base hit to left field, she would advance to second base when Jenna Mallari’s (RUN) hit ball was misplayed. Now with runners on first and second and no outs the next batter Zoe Rutherford was able to advance both runners on a ground out.

The next batter Altmeyer who had already homered in the first inning on a 1-2 count took the offering and drilled a liner to center field that allowed both Evans and Mallari to come in and score and bring the Patriots within 5-3, the next matter Malia Savage (2-4) followed with a base hit to left field that advanced Altmeyer to second but on the throw-in, both Altmeyer and Savage advanced to second and third base.

Still, only one out, and now with the tying run on second base the following batter Sacannah Sutton was able to cut the deficit to 5-4, hitting the ball to center field and allowing Altmeyer to tag up and race home for the score and Savage to advance to third base on the sacrifice fly.

After Gigante (1-3) was intentionally walked, Gieger thought she delivered the game-winner, but instead saw her ballclub’s season end on the highlight catch by Miller.

Picking up the win for the Sultans was Ashtyn Niemiec, who finished things up going 6 1/3 innings in which she allowed three runs while walking two and striking out on the day, Gracie Johnston who started things off only went 2/3 of an inning before coming out of the game due to being hit by a line drive ball allowed one run which was earned on two hits.

On the other side for the Patriots, Sophia Sanchez was tagged with the loss as she allowed five runs of which all were earned in her two innings of work on seven hits while striking out one, Rutherford came into the game and finished things off going five innings while walking two and striking out three.

Steele Canyon 6, Scripps Ranch 0
RANCHO SAN DIEGO – Steele Canyon’s Emma Shellstrom (1-1, RBI) struck out nine Falcons on the day as she allowed only a single hit on the day in the shutout victory over the twelfth seeded Scripps Ranch Falcons (5-21-1) on Tuesday afternoon in play-in action.

Shellstrom who went the full seven innings in the victory allowed a leadoff single in the top of the fourth inning and the rest of the way only a couple of runners made it on base due to a pair of walks.

Steele Canyon (17-11-1) who was seeded No. 5 on the day offensively scratched out eleven hits which included three batters with multiple hits.

They would start their damage in the bottom of the second inning all with two outs as Jazmin Williams (2-4, RBI, SB) drove in Mariah Mata (2-4, 2 R, RBI) followed by Abby Curran (1-4, 2 RBI) driving in both Isabella Azevedo (2-2, R) and Hailey Trujillo (R, RBI) to make it 3-0.

They would go on and score in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to a ground ball out by Trujillo that allowed Mata to race home to extend the lead to 4-0.

Steele Canyon would tack on another pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning as Shellstrom helped her own cause with an RBI single that scored Gabrielle Ortega Alves (RUN) which was followed by a fielder’s choice bunt by Mata that allowed Madison Villaescuas (1-1, R) to race home.

With the six-run lead, Shellstrom went out and finished things off allowing only a walk in the top of the seventh inning before retiring the final two batters to end the game and the win.

Steele Canyon will now travel down to the Valley where they will take on the fourth-seeded Brawley Wildcats in a first-round matchup of the double-elimination portion.


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