East County Sports

Valhalla grabs early GVL lead, nip Pack



ECS staff report

RANCHO SAN DIEGO – While the streak of extra-inning victories is interesting, there was more on the line when West Hills and Valhalla high schools, the favorites to battle for the Grossmont Valley League crown, met in Tuesday’s (Mar. 28) league opener.

Once Valhalla pulled even in the sixth inning, it’s simple math afterwards: if a ballgame goes into “overtime,” then Valhalla is going to win — and they did.

A one-out rally was capped on a bases-loaded single by cleanup hitter Riley Hughes, giving the Norsemen a 3-2 triumph over the Wolf Pack.

The game-wining hit made a winner in Orange Nation sophomore pitcher Matt Ibrahim.

“It’s crazy, but it shows how we’re helping each other out,: said Ibrahim. “It shows that our coach, Ryan Wheeler, knows the job we all ned to do.:

The 15-tear old also enjoyed some guidance over the winter from former Valhalla standout Josepg “JoJo” Ingrassia, who spend three years at San Diego State until taking the new NCAA portal and is now pitching for Cal State Fullerton.

“We pitched together, and JJo helped me with my fastball, curveball, slider and cutter,” he noted. “I’m getting more anf ore confident with all four pitches.”

Ibrahim now carries a 4-0 record, tying for the best mark in East County. This was assured when Steele Canyon was nipped by Santana in a Grossmont Hills League opener.

The winning rally saw Mace Wheeler line a single to left field, then went station0t-station to reach home.

Julian Jerjees followed with a walk, then Aidan Treltas caught a break when his low liner to second base barely elluded the out-stretched glove of the defender to laod the bases.

Of course, since it’s extra innings, more luck went the way of the Norsemen.

West Hills elected to draw the infield in, looking to take the ball home to cut down the run. However, Hughes punched the ball past the third baseman.

“We’ve learned to play ‘small ball’ because we’re in these situation so often,” noted coach Wheeler. “I didn’t even know about the streak until I saw it on the website, so we plan and play for it in late innings in order to give us an advantage.”

“We don’t go up there looking for a home run.”

Hughes is a good example. Now standing 6-foot-4 and is filling out, expecting his body to reach 200 pounds by the time he reaches college this fall. But instead of seeking the dramatic. walk-off grand slam, the senior simply went with the inside pitch and took it down  the line.

West Hills ook anopening 2-0 lead, but Valhalla got even with single runs in the second and the sixthm the ater in an error.

Hughes, the left fieder, batted 3-for-4, while Wheeler, the catcher, added two hits

For West Hills (REC) saw pitcher Shane Steven get credit for a complete game after 7.1 innings, striking out seven against just one walk.

Pack catcher Joey Monetti collected two hits and scored in front of center fielder John Leija, as the first two of West Hills batters scored in the first before getting shut down onvr Vslhslls sfjusted to a Wolf Pack batting order that saw four of the first six batters swinging from the left side.

El Capitan 11, Mount Miguel 3

LAKESIDE – El Capitan scored four times in the first, gaining a share of the GVL first-day lead bu mashing the Matadors, 11-3, Tuesday (Mar. 28) at Hostetler Field.

Brody McAuliffe (Jr) continued his hitting streak with a 2-run triple,

Meanwhile, sophomore Landon Harbach, who had only two RBI all season, collected a career-high four RBI on a pair of singles and a walk.

Christian  7, Del Norte 6 (8 inn.)

EL CAJON – The Del Norte Nighthawks snapped a 5-5 tie with a run in the top of the right inning. However, like Valhalla, Christian also owns a strong — well, not perfect like Valhalla — record in extra innings, answering back with two runs to take a shocking 6-5 decision.

Patrick Henry 10, at Bonita Vista 0

BONITA – Patrick Henry pitcher Talin Gardini came withinn one batter of a 3-hit shutout before the pitch count got him, so releiver Kaleb Gray (Sr) did what Gardini by registering a game-ending strikeout to boost hte Patriots past Bonita Vista.

Gardini finished by striking out 12 Barons batters.

On offense, Jack Giordano belted a 2-run homer, while Zach Morales and Gardini both added two RBI each, helping the Patriots score in five of seven trips to the plate, including four runs in the first inning.

  • Compiled by Nick Pellegrino.


Valhalla 3, West Hills 2 (8 inn.)
El Capitan 11, Mount Miguel 3
Santana 1,Steele Canyon 0
Grossmont 3, Granite Hills 2
Christian 7, Del Norte 6 (8 inn.)
Patrick Henry 10, at Bonita Vista 0
Kearny 11, Liberty Charter 5
San Pasqual 12, Ramona 1


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