East County Sports

Bailey brothers lift Christian past Otay; Henry alone in first

2023 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL / City Conference

 

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

EL CAJON – The Christian Patriots welcomed a pair of victories during its break from Eastern League competition.

Not only did the Patriots rally with three runs in the sixth inning for a 3-2 decision over visiting Otay Ranch, the ballclub also enjoyed the return of one of their standout pitchers from 2022.

After Luke Bailey pitched six solid innings, not only did Christian rally to take the lead and gain the victory for the starting pitcher, the save in relief came from a familiar face.

“It was the first time Shane Bailey pitched for us this season,” said Patriots head coach Mike Mitchell. “He won nine games for us last season.”

“People think we lost our best pitcher in Vaughn Major from last season, but we actually lost our number one and number two pitchers.”

While a possible postseason return of Major seems unlikely — he has not, however, been officially discounted — the older of the Bailey brothers was recently given medical clearance to slowly start pitching again.”

Shane Bailey, along with several Patriots reserves, were needed while others were out for AP review testing. Included was bullpen ace Peter Zacharsuk.

Said Mitchell, “The MRI on his elbow showed no structural¬† damage, so he threw his first inning of the season for us today. We knew that getting Shane back would bode well for us.”

The timing was more than perfect. This was Christian’s bye week from Eastern League play, so any result would not affect the standings for the first-place Patriots.

The older Bailey registered two quick outs, but then hit a batter and gave up a double. Rather than chancing a game-ending out at the plate, the Otay Ranch third-base coach elected to hold the runner at third on a throw from center fielder Hunter Kaul.

However, Bailey escaped with a ground out to save the victory for his brother.

Early on, Christian continued to hit back all afternoon, but each time, Otay Ranch pitcher Damian Pasillas came up with a solution.

“We were getting hits off Pasillas — we left two runners on base in the first, second and fourth innings,” Mitchell noted. “But each time, he made a great pitch to get out of it.. And if we did hit the ball hard, it always seemed to go right at a defender.”

Pasillas carried a 2-hit shutout into the sixth while holding a 2-0 lead. Somehow, Christian broke through.

Xavier Farnum and Major opened with lead singles, then Ashton McCurty walked to load the bases. Kaul then lined a single to left for the first run, but with no outs, Mitchell held the potential game-tying runner at third base.

An out later, Nate Cena knocked a hard ground into right field. This time, Mitchell sent the runner from second to score, giving Cena a pair of RBI and the Patriots their first lead of the ballgame.

“We were swinging well all day, but in the sixth, our bats finally busted through,” he added.

With both Bailey brothers available, the future continues to shine for Mitchell’s troops.

“We now control our own destiny, both for league and the playoffs depending on where we are seeded.”

Christian (14-8 overall) close the regular season with a 4-game series with La Jolla next week, then Coronado. The road games will not be held at the actual campus of either school. La Jolla plays one block to the east at Muirlands Middle School; Coronado plays four miles toward Imperial Beach at Silver Strand School.

Otay Ranch (8-13) has now dropped seven straight, including a pair in East County.  They lost at West Hills on Monday.

Note: This was the fifth time this season that Christian won in its final turn at the plate, but it wasn’t a “walk-off” win. They have won the five games with runs in the sixth inning, then retired the opponents in the seventh.

 

Patrick Henry 8, at St. Augustine 6

KEARNY MESA – In a crazy ending to a contest with important postseason implication, Patrick Henry could have folded after blowing a sixth-inning lead. However, after allowing three runs in the sixth, the Patriots bounded back with three runs of their own in the seventh to take an 8-6 decision in the rubber game of a 3-game Western League set from host St. Augustine.

The ballgame was held Thursday (Apr. 27) at Hickman Field.

Meanwhile, winless Point Loma grabbed its first league triumph of the season by knocking off Cathedral Catholic, 3-1, giving Patrick Henry undisputed possession of first place as the Dons fell one game back with six contests remaining.

The Saints (14-6 overall, 3-3 league) thought they were back in the pennant race after Justin walked with the bases loaded for the game-tying run; then a hard ground single by sophomore Grayson Boles with two down gave St. Augustine a 6-5 lead.

However, Patrick Henry (11-9, 6-3 league) fought right back.

Consecutive lead singles by Jared Wangler and Cody Cappelletti set the stage for a one-out, game-tying base hit by freshman Sal Gagliano.

And when Carter Lockwood and Brady Hull followed to give the Patriots three consecutive RBI base hits, the Patriots were again out front.

Pats relief pitcher Nico Lopez posted an all-or-nothing job to close the victory. He went strikeout, walk, strikeout, walk and strikeout to gain the victory from the bullpen. In fact, in pitching the final two frames, all six of his outs were recorded on strikes.

For the Pats, five members of the batting order — Ryan Ruch, Lockwood, Hull, Wangler and Cappelletti — all had two hits as part of a 13-hit attack.

For St. Augustine, Boles and right fielder Anthony Tompkins collected two RBI each.


Scoreboard

Grossmont Hills League
Santana 4, Granite Hills 1
Grossmont 4, Helix 3 (walk-off)
Bye – Steele Canyon
Grossmont Valley League
El Capitan 14, Valhalla 9
Monte Vista 12, Mount Miguel 1
West Hills 15, ECVHS 0
Non-League
Christian 3, Otay Ranch 2
Eastern League
Scripps Ranch 12, at Clairemont 4
Coronado 12, La Jolla 7
Western League
Patrick Henry 8, at St. Augustine 6
Point Loma 3, Cathedral Catholic 1
Summit League
CV-High Tech 14, Liberty Charter 3
Avocado East League
Ramona 2, at Oceanside 1
Rancho Buena Vista 8, Mt. Carmel 1
San Dieguito 13, at San Pasqual 1

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