East County Sports

Vaqs finish league unbeaten; Cougars’ Shellstrom shuts out Sultans


By Adam Paul

LA MESA – With the offense clicking early, the El Capitan Vaqueros had no trouble as they came away with the 8-2 victory over the Helix Highlanders to finish out the regular season and Grossmont Hills League play.

El Capitan would get on the board first, when senior Ava Gall drove in a pair of runs with a base hit to right field to make it 2-0.

They would add a third run in the second inning, when Ciara Bernardini grounded out to score Kylee Frazier.

Another pair of runs plated in the top of the fifth would extend their lead to 5-0.

Helix would answer with a couple of runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, when Angel Riggins belted a two-run home run to left field for her third of the season to make it 5-2.

Later, in the sixth inning, the Vaqueros would really put things away, thanks to Alanna Christiaens who cleared the bases with a triple hit to right field.

Shelby Vars took the win for El Capitan. She went the full length, allowing two runs on three hits and struck out two.

On the other side for the Highlanders, Lauren Farace took the loss, allowing eight hits and eight runs over seven innings, striking out four.

Gall would lead the Vaqueros at the plate, as she went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles.

Helix has now lost seven in a row and finishes the regular season 10-15-1 overall and 1-7 in league play.

El Capitan, with the win, is the latest team to finish unbeaten in league play. The last team to accomplish the feat was Helix back in 2021.

El Capitan finishes the regular season, winning their last eight games in a row, and improves to 23-3 overall and 8-0 in league play. The twenty-three wins are the most ever, and the overall record is the best ever for an El Capitan team since they started playing softball, according to records in 1981. El Capitan’s previous high for wins in a season was 21, which was accomplished in numerous seasons.


Steele Canyon 3, Santana 0

SANTEE – Pitching was the name of the game as the Steele Canyon Cougars came away with the shutout victory to finish out the regular season and claim the Grossmont Hills League contest.

Steele Canyon starter Emma Shellstrom was firing on all cylinders, allowing three hits over seven innings of work, while striking out eight to completely shut down the potent Sultans offense.

Jazmin Williams, who had a pair of hits in the game, would drive in the game’s first run with a double in the top of the third inning to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

With both teams’ pitching matching each other inning for inning, the opportunities for runs was at a minimum until the seventh inning.

Still clinging to the 1-0 lead, the Cougars would break through once again, and once again Williams would do the damage as she doubled in Danika Lakin, followed by Marina Gonzalez driving in Williams to give them the insurance runs needed.

Despite back-to-back singles by Delaney Smith and Emma Schneider, the Sultans couldn’t capitalize in the bottom of the seventh, as Shellstrom would retire the next three batters in order to end the game.

Gracie Johnston who got the starting nod for the Sultans would take the loss, allowing one run on five hits over six innings and striking out two. Kyleigh Aasen would come in and toss an inning of relief, allowing two runs on two hits.

Kaitlyn Ruckle had the other hit for the Sultans.

Gonzalez for the Cougars would finish with three hits in four at-bats.

Santana with the loss finishes the regular season 17-7-1 overall and 4-4 in league play.

On the other side, Steele Canyon ends the regular season with an overall record of 16-11 and 3-5 in league play.

Both teams will go into the playoffs as what looks like to be high seeds, according to the CIF San Diego Section power ranking index.

Santana, as of right now, according to the latest edition, is the top team in Division II, while Steele Canyon looks to be in the four seed in Division I.

Playoff seeds will be announced tomorrow Saturday (May 13). With brackets coming out in the early to mid-afternoon.


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