East County Sports

CIF SOFTBALL PLAYOFFS: Sultans, Pats to play elimination games in respective divisions


By Adam Paul


#1 Santana 10, #8 Westview 0 (5 inn.)

SANTEE – It was win-or-go-home time for the Santana Sultans on Tuesday (May 23), and thanks to multiple home runs and a big third inning, they will play another day, as they ran away with the victory over the Westview Wolverines to force a winner-go-home elimination game.

Santana starter Gracie Johnston did her part in the circle as she limited the Wolverines to only three hits over five innings to claim the victory.

Offensively the Sultans would come alive in the third inning after being held in check the first couple of innings.

Following a leadoff walk to Vanessa Ryan, the next batter, Kaitlyn Ours, would belt a two-run home run to left field to give them a 2-0 lead. After Sara Spry singled, Taylinn Warren doubled, and Emma Schneider singled to load the bases with one out. Anabella Heguy, on a 1-2 count, lifted the next pitch high and deep over the left field fence for a grand slam to put the Sultans even further up 6-0.

Still leading 6-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Sultans again would strike as Kaitlyn Ruckle drove in Faith Francisco, and Ours drove in McKenna Miller to give Santana a 9-0 lead, with Ruckle standing on third base.

What would happen next would be a move for the ages, as the Wolverines were caught off guard after a ball. With the count 1-0 Ruckle would take advantage of the situation and steal home to end the game by scoring the tenth run.

The win by the Sultans lets them play another day, as they stay alive for a berth in the championship game.

Santana avenges an earlier loss to the Wolverines, and with the win, improves to 20-8-1 and sees their winning streak jump to three games. They will now play in a winner-take-all semi-final elimination game on Wednesday (May 24) to be played at 3:30 PM, again at Santana High School.

Westview with the loss sees their four-game winning streak snapped and falls to 16-11-1.

The Sultans will be looking to get back to the CIF Championship game for the first time since 2017, while Westview will be looking to play in its first-ever championship game. The winner will take on the third-seeded Holtville Vikings, who eliminated Academy of Our Lady of Peace 7-2 down in the desert.



#2 Mira Mesa 5, #6 Christian 4

MIRA MESA – A two-out RBI double by Aria Phruksukarn in the bottom of the fourth inning with the score tied 4-4 would prove to be the difference as the Mira Mesa Marauders staved off elimination, despite being outhit in the game on Tuesday (May 23).

Early on, the Christian Patriots would take the lead, thanks to an RBI double by Keelayana Carrizosa to score Tyler Krystek, who had walked beforehand. With two outs, Kaitlyn Moody would knock in Carrizosa for the second run of the inning.

Unfortunately, the momentum was short-lived, as Mira Mesa would push across four runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-2 lead.

The Patriots were not done with the bats as Hannah Mroz belted a solo shot in the second inning. Later, in the fourth inning, Samantha Baca roped an RBI triple that plated Lucy Sherburne to tie the game.

Starting pitcher Ava Barrios, despite striking out seven, would take the loss, as she went six innings in which she allowed five runs on six hits.

The loss snaps the Patriots’ five-game-winning streak and sees their record fall to 15-9-1. For the fifth time this season they will take on Mira Mesa on Thursday (May 25) in a winner-take-all semi-final game. The winner will advance to take on the top-seeded Imperial Tigers, who eliminated Point Loma with an 8-1 victory.



#2 Rancho Bernardo 5, #3 El Capitan 4

RANCHO BERNARDO – Facing a five-run deficit and elimination, the El Capitan Vaqueros almost completed the comeback as the Rancho Bernardo Broncos held on to claim the suspenseful 5-4 victory on Tuesday (May 23).

El Capitan, in the top of the seventh inning, would score runs on an RBI single by Aubrey Thorne; Alyssa Fierro would take advantage of an error by the Broncos that allowed Thorne to score, and on another opportunity, courtesy of a wild pitch that plated Fierro.

The Vaqueros on the day would outhit the Broncos ten to nine.

The ten hits for the Vaqueros came courtesy of Fierro who led with three. Shelby Vars had two, as did Thorne. Dominique Garcia, and Kylee Frazier each had one.

Senior Ava Gall, who will now move on to Stanford in the fall, wrapped up her decorated high school career with a double in the dramatic seventh inning.

Garnering the win for the Broncos, Maddie Hulse surrendered four runs on ten hits over six and two-thirds innings while striking out five.

Makenna Burton for the Vaqueros took the loss, as she allowed nine hits and five runs over six innings, while striking out one.

El Capitan with the loss is officially eliminated and finishes their record-setting year 24-5 overall.

Rancho Bernardo has now won twelve games in a row and moves to 24-4. They will now take on top-seeded (and arch-rival) Poway in the championship game to be played on Saturday (May 27) at 7 PM at UCSD.

Poway was in the Division II championship game a year ago and lost to Granite Hills 8-4. They haven’t been to the Open championship since a heartbreaking 7-6 loss to San Marcos in 2016. They look to win their second-ever CIF championship. Their first time in the Open came back in 2015 when they defeated Cathedral Catholic 1-0.

Rancho Bernardo will be looking to win their first CIF championship since they were crowned the Division I champions back in 2018 under then-head Coach Tracey Stowe when they defeated Eastlake 3-0. Their previous entries in championship games came in 2021 versus San Marcos, where they lost 1-0 in the Division I title game, and in 2019, in the Open Championship to Mater Dei Catholic 5-1.


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