East County Sports

Gonzalez welcomes Stars opportunity

Stars starting pitcher Gavin Perry / Photo by Nick Pellegrino

2022 SAN DIEGO STARS SUMMER COLLEGIATE BASEBALL

 

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

Scores/Schedule HERE

LAKESIDE — Following a strong junior season at Santana High, the Sultans’ Jason Gonzalez saw his teammates make a run at the Grossmont Hills League pennant, once holding a brief, half-game lead for No. 1 ranked Granite Hills while his ballclub was once ranked second in the CIF San Diego Section.

However, Gonzalez, despite starting all season, wasn’t really a part of Santana’s successful run. His batting average fell from .333 in 2021 to a mere .209 this past spring.

Jason Gonzalez

Thus, Gonzalez fell off the radar from both professional and college baseball scouts.

In order to re-gain his place on the baseball radar, he joined the San Diego Stars summer collegiate team, a program well-known for “fixing” struggling hitters.

The result?

“We’ve been winning a lot and having a lot of fun,” said Gonzalez. “I’ll probably go to Grossmont College for a couple of seasons to make it in baseball somewhere else.”

The forst step was a change in attitude and learning how to be successful.

“We have faith in ourselves,” Gonzalez added. “The home run by (Cole) Hartman got us going.”

Hartman’s 2-run homer that just stayed fair along the left-field line trimmed the deficit to 8-7 in the eight. Then in the ninth, Gonzalez capped a 2-run rally with a walk-off sacrifice fly, allowing the Stars to claim a 9-8 decision over the North County Bulldogs (aka Gorillas) in Friday’s (June 24) Western Baseball Association contest at El Capitan High’s Hostetler Field.

“We knew we’d come out here and put up some runs,” hje added.

The Stars played giveaway in the seventh, as a series of walks led to three runs for the Bulldogs. And when relief pitcher Kip Famolano entered and coaxed a precision ground for a double play, instead the ball was bobbled and two additional unearned runs gave the visitors an 8-5 advantage.

However, following a lead single by Gonzalez, Hartman’s bomb cut the deficit to 8-7.

In the ninth, the Stars kept pressuring the Bulldogs bullpen.

Brady Joslyn opened with a double, then a pair of walks loaded the bases. A wild pitch brought in the game-tying run in Joslyn.

Moments later, Gonzalez, who had already batted 2-for-3 with a walk, capped his summer bounce-back with a sacrifice fly for the game-winning run.

Famolano finished with 1.2 innings of no-hit relief, then Andrew Ritayik pitched no-hit ball in the ninth to collect the victory.

Stars starting pitcher Gavin Perry tossed six solid innings, but left in a 4-4 deadlock after J.J. Jackson of the Bulldogs smacked a pair of solo home runs., including a game-tying shot in the fifth.

The Stars (5-2 overall, 2-0 WBA South) return to action at home Saturday, hosting a twin-bill against the San Diego School of Baseball. The game time has been moved to 11 a.m., with free admission for all.

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