East County Sports

Norsemen, Knights, claim CIF walk-offs

Foothills Christian's Carly Robbins (left) and Emma Romeka / Photos by Jeni Bernatz



By Adam Paul and Nick Pellegrino
East County Sports.com

EL CAJON — In a pair of CIF San Diego Section softball contests with nearly identical endings, Valhalla and Foothills Christian high schools advance following walk-off basehits in the bottom of the seventh inning.

For the Norsemen, Allie Piscopo lined a bases-loaded single to center field, scoring Cadyn Ruffer from third base in a 7-6 triumph over Mission Bay in the Division 2 tournament at Leto Field

Meanwhile, Knights leadoff batter Gabby Wolford, a freshman, drove home Tru Teves home from second base with the tie-breaking run, leading to a 2-1 decision over visiting Calipatria in Division V an Santee ASA.

Both decisive, clutch hits came with two outs.


Division 2
Valhalla 7, Mission Bay 6

By Adam Paul

RANCHO SAN DIEGO — All tied up at 6-6 in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out, the Valhalla Norsemen with one swing of the bat by Allie Piscopo walk off the Mission Bay Buccaneers..

Both offenses combined for 22 hits and each had various opportunities as baserunners were plentiful on the day.

It would be the Buccaneers who would strike first as they would score the game’s first run on a Valhalla miscue which was followed by a two-out two-run single to extend the lead to 3-0 in the top of the first inning.

That momentum wouldn’t last as Cadyn Ruffer brought the Norsemen back within 3-2 with one swing of the bat as she belted her eighth home run of the season over the center-field fence. Also, scoring on the two-run shot was Maryn Jordan.

Mission Bay though would add another pair of runs in the top of the third inning to give them a 5-2 lead.

Despite trailing by three runs the Norsemen in the bottom of the inning would scratch across a pair of their own runs as Avery Voth hit a fielders’ choice to score Jordan, she would be caught stealing but Ruffer would pick her up with a double and come into score when Nayeli Chapa reached on an error that allowed Ruffer to score to make it 5-4.

Valhalla would later tie the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the sixth inning when Aubrielle McKee raced home on a passed ball.

Mission Bay though in the top of the seventh inning would lead off the inning with a triple which led to them taking a 6-5 lead on a ground out.

Down to their final at-bat, the Norsemen would tie the game at 6-6 on a double by Naomi Villalva that brought home Ruffer. After a base hit by Marissa Lupo and an intentional walk to McKee which loaded the bases. With the bases packed and only one out up came Piscopo who took a 1-0 count and roped a single to center field that allowed Savannah Avalos to race home for the game-winning score.

Villalva garnered the win for the Norsemen as she went all seven innings in which she allowed six runs on twelve hits while walking three and striking out six.

Mission Bay with the loss is officially eliminated and finishes their season 16-9.

Valhalla improves to 20-8 and now advances to host El Camino on Tuesday afternoon.

Division 5
Foothills Christian 2, Calipatria 1
By Nick Pellegrino
East County Sports staff writer
SANTEE — Foothills Christian owns the best softball record of any ballclub in the San Diego Section but admits they are not that deep.
“We only have six girls that have played before,” moted senior captain Carly Robbins. “The rest are girls that never played before but wanted to come out and try.”
Two of those newcomers played a significant difference after the Knights remained undefeated in tournament play by out-lasting Calipatria, 2-1, in the Division 5 winners bracket semifinals held Saturday (May 21) at Town Center Community Park (Santee ASA fields).
Tru Teves, a freshman completely without a softball resume, scored on a base hit by leadoff batter Gabby Wolford, coming home with the walk-off, game-winning run.
With the triumph, Foothills Christian (18-1 overall) advances to Thursday’s semifinals, to be held at the Sportsplex USA location in Poway at noon. The Knights will meet Fallbrook, who eliminated Maranatha Christian.
FCHS needs to win one of a possible two games on the day to gain a berth in the section championship ballgame.
Foothills Christian and Calipatria struggled through five scoreless innings before the hosts broke through in the sixth.
Wolford was a major segment to both runs when Foothills Christian scored once in both the sixth and the seventh,
Wolford, who tops the Knights’s batting order, reached on a leadoff error but was still standing at second base with Robbins, the cleanup hitter, came to the plate.
Robbins, who is headed to play for Central Methodist in Missouri next season, slugged an RBI double to right-center field.
“I went with the pitch and it to the right, and the ball just went over the center fielder’s head,” said Robbins, one of the team captains.
Calipatria moved even in the seventh.
Hornets pitcher Emily Gamboa wasn’t ready to surrender the season. The cleanup hitter opened with a single but was still on the bases with two down when center fielder Miah Pence sent an RBI double to center.
However, the Knights quickly countered, surprisingly fueled by the bottom third of the batting order, powered by their first-year softball players — not necessarily freshmen, but first-year in terms of playing softball at any level.
No. 7 hitter Jenn Pollick, the only player on either team to collect two hits on the day, led off with a single.
The next two players made out, but the hit turned over the lineup card and gave coach Jay Strandberg a few options with Teves, the pinch-runner, still standing at first base.
“I know Gabby couldn’t get her home from first base, so I gambled a little bit and signaled for Tru to steal.”
Teves acknowledged the signal — at least, that’s what the coach hoped she did — and she took off for second base safely.
“Tru is one of our new girls, but she played like she’s always been a player,” added Robbins.
On the next pitch, Wolford followed by sending the ball over the head of the Calipatria second baseman, with the coach waving Teves home.
“That was also a bit of a gamble, but not really,” he added. “If she scores, we win, but If she doesn’t score, we still go to extra innings and I get my leadoff batter to bat first in the eighth.”
Added Robbins,” The second baseman tried to back-hand the ball, but just missed it.”
Before the Hornets outfield reached the ball, Teves registered the walk-off winner.
In the circle, Romeka (16-1) finished by striking out 10 Hornets batters. She walked one and hit a batter, yet kept her winning streak alive. at a school-record 10 straight.
“Calipatria showed they were both a good team, but a classy team as well — everything about them was great,” said Knights head coach Strandberg. “You don’t get that every opponent.”
Robbins talked about her accepting Central Methodist, which is now an NAIA Division I program, as her college choice.
“When I went to scout them, the team really loves the game and they’re really competitive, which I liked,” said Robbins, the starting catcher and utility player.
“In fact, CMU is really competitive and nationally ranked in almost every sport. Plus, I liked the coaches and the campus, although the weather can get dicey in the winter.”
Among other Foothills Christian players moving on to play sports in college, two recently announced they will play on the other side of the San Diego River in Santee at San Diego Christian College: Isabelle Trujillo (women’s soccer) and Taylor Casey (baseball).
Mount Miguel df. Borrego Springs, forfeit
SPRING VALLEY —  The Mount Miguel Matadors advanced to the third round in the CIFSDS Division 5 playoffs whe nthe Borrego Springs Rams decided it wasn’t worth the trip despite wining their playoff opener,
Mount Miguel (12-8 overall), which clinched a winning record for the season, advance to meet Maranatha Christian in the challenger bracket semifinals. The Rams finish with an 11-7 record.


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