East County Sports

Gall & Co. wrap up Hills League crown on Senior Night


By Adam Paul

LAKESIDE – Rallying from an early deficit, the El Capitan Vaqueros would go on to defeat Santana 5-1 on Wednesday (May 10) in Grossmont Hills League action.

Santana would get on the board first, thanks to Emma Schneider, who laced a two-out single to left field, scoring Sara Spry to give them an early 1-0 lead.

El Capitan would answer in their half of the first inning on RBI singles by Alanna Christiaens and Aubrey Thorne and a misplayed ball hit by Kylee Frazier to stake themselves to a 3-1 lead.

The Sultans thought they had something in the top of the fifth inning when, with one out, Spry singled to advance Kylee Aziz, who had come in to run for lead-off single Kaitlyn Ours. The next batter, Taylin Warren, singled to center on a 2-1 count, which was fielded by Dominique Garcia, who gunned down Aziz as she tried to score for the second out of the inning. The Vaqueros would get out of the inning as the next batter was retired.

Still leading 3-1, the Vaqueros would add another run in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Kylee Frazier roped a double to left field, allowing Alyssa Fierro to come all the way around, making it 4-1. They would add their last run the next inning on a wild pitch in which Addison Leone quickly raced home for the run.

Both Spry and Warren led the Sultans with multiple hits.

Gracie Johnston got the starting nod for the Sultans and would take the loss. She allowed five runs on twelve hits over six innings and also struck out six.

Freshman Makenna Burton, who has established herself as a pitcher to be reckoned with, picked up the victory, as she allowed one run on seven hits over seven innings in which she struck out four.

“Makenna Burton threw a great game and her defense backed her up. It is nice when a pitcher doesn’t have to strike everyone out to be productive. Any time she got herself in a hole she remained confident and was able to get herself out of it. Hits happen, walks happen, and errors happen, but her nerves never got shaken which is impressive for being a freshman in such a big game. She has a bright future for sure,” said Gall when asked about Burton being in such a big game as a freshman.

Since it was Senior night out at El Capitan, it was fitting that Ava Gall, the lone senior of the bunch, who also will be off to Stanford to play for the Cardinals next season, finished 4-for-4 on the day at the plate to lead the Vaqueros.

The El Capitan Vaqueros’ victory officially wraps up the Grossmont Hills League crown. The 2023 Grossmont Hills League title is their fourth in a row, including this year and last year (which they shared with Helix) on the Hills side, and the previous two over in the Valley League (minus the COVID season).

Said Gall, when asked about winning the league crown straight up solo, instead of the previous couple of seasons as Co-Champions, “This season has been the best a senior could ask for. We always fall short to a team at least once, which results in us sharing the title, but we came in with a chip on our shoulders and wanted it all. Having lost two pitchers, our starting right fielder, and our starting shortstop, a lot of people doubted us this year, which made us want to win even more. I’m so happy we won the title fair and square because we always get so close, but this year we actually did it. It’s a nice send-off in a way.”

Santana with the loss has now dropped two games in a row and falls to 17-6-1 overall and 4-3 in league play.

El Capitan, who has been on a terror of late, has now won seven games in a row and improved to 22-3 overall and 7-0 in league play.

The Sultans finish up the regular season on Friday (May 12) at home against Steele Canyon.

El Capitan finishes up on Friday as well, on the road against the Helix Highlanders, looking to finish up an undefeated league season for the first time since 2021 when they went 10-0. Granite Hills also accomplished the feat back in 2019 when they finished unbeaten at 10-0.


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