East County Sports

Sultans’ Alto tames Rancho Bernardo

Santana's Kaleb Harris msacks a home run against Rancho Bernardo / Ken Todd



ECS staff report

RANCHO BERNARDO — If it’s true that “as Koda Alto goes, so does Santana,” then the Sultans could be in fine shape.

Once the winner of five straight ballgames and one of East County;s leaders in earned-run average, Also faded to a final regular-season record of 6-3, with Santana sinking from first to third place in the Grossmont Hills League.

However, the renewal of a new season — the CIF playoffs — have the Sultans back among the leaders.

Alto returned to his early-season form by firing a complete-game, 4-hitter, collecting a mild upset over fourth-seeded Rancho Bernardo, 6-1, in the CIFSDS Open Division quarterfinals.

The fifth-seeded Sultans now get another shot at GHL rival Granite Hills, the top-seeded and top-ranked ballclub in the San Diego Section.

Santana supported their senior pitcher with a quick 4-0 lead, then Alto allowed an unearned run in the fourth before closing by retiring 11 of the final 13 batters (double, error) in dominating the Broncos.

The offense tallied twice in the first, third and fifth innings. When they failed to score in the seventh, Also instead closed the contest with a 1-2-3 frame with a strikeout and a pair of shallow fly balls.

The first two batters were a sign of things to come for Rancho Bernardo, as both Santana batters — Elijah Reber and Caden Corderman — reached on errors. Both came home on an RBI single by Jayden Agramont, then a squeeze bunt by Caleb Harris.

In the second, Alto fielded a grounder to start an inning-ending double play, forging even more momentum for Santana in the third.

Ethan Wright registered a one-out basehit, then Harris whipped a 2-run homer with two down. The line drive to left field made it 4-0.

Finally, Wright and Agramont, who both finished with two hits, registered consecutive run-scoring singles to put away the postseason triumph.

Santana (18-9) next meets GHL rival Granite Hills in the winers bracket semifinals. Rancho Bernardo (18-11) moves to an elimination game by hosting Helix. Both contests are slated for Friday at 3:30 p.m

In the other half of the bracket, Madison upset No. 2 La Costa Canyon, advancing to meet No. 3 Torrey Pines, which downed San Marcos, 3-0.

San Marcos has now lost 11 of 13 games since declining a championship game berth to the Lions Tournament against Granite Hills, thus, placing a target in their own collective backs. The losing skid included a 3-game series sweep by RB.


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