East County Sports

Cougars roar their way to D-1 Title Game



By Adam Paul


EL CAJON  – Momentum plays a big part in sports and on Thursday afternoon the No. 4 seeded Steele Canyon Cougars used a wave of it as they scored eleven runs over the final three innings to really break open the scoring as they would use that wave to come away with a 12-4 victory over top-seeded and Grossmont Hills rival Granite Hills to punch their ticket to the CIF Division I Championship game.

Steele Canyon would score the first run of the game in the top of the first inning on a Marina Gonzalez (3-5, 4 RBI, 3B) single to left field to that brought home Kamea Seunarine (1-4, 2 R, RBI, 2B) who led off with a double.

The 1-0 lead would only last half an inning as Granite Hills in the bottom half behind a leadoff walk to Sofia Mujica (1-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR) followed by a double by Audrey Smale (3-3, RBI, 2B) and a couple of batters later Mujica would come in on a passed ball to tie the game 1-1.

With both team’s offenses being stymied things looked like it would come down to the late innings as usual between the two rival teams.

The Cougars would open the gap starting the wave of momentum in the top of the fifth inning starting with an RBI single by Hailey Trujillo (3-4, R, 2 RBI) to center-field scoring Izzy Azevedo (3-4, R), a couple of batters later with two outs Danika Lakin (2-5, 2 RBI) lasered a shot to left field bringing in both Lauren Becker (3 R) and Trujillo to make it 4-1 and Bailey Evans (1-4, RBI) followed with an RBI single to left field scoring Kayala Hopkins (2-5, R) to give them a 5-1 lead.

Trailing by four runs the Eagles would score a run in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to Smale who with two outs singled in Chantelle Gonzalez 1-2, 2 R) to make it 5-2.

However, in the top of the sixth inning an RBI triple by Marina Gonzalez along with a passed ball that allowed Michaela Heinen (2 R) to come in and score allowed the Cougars to extend their lead to 7-2.

Steele Canyon would add five more runs in the top of the seventh inning courtesy of a fielder’s choice by Seunarine, a two-run single by Gonzalez, an RBI single by Trujillo, and later a bases-loaded walk by Kallan Shaw (R, RBI) to make it 12-2.

Granite Hills in the bottom of the seventh inning would push across a pair of runs courtesy of a two-run home run by Sofia Mujica for her San Diego-leading thirteenth of the season.

Kayleigh Baugher would take the loss for Granite Hills. She would allow five runs on ten hits while walking one and striking out three. Wells came in and tossed one and one-third of an inning of relief in which she gave up seven runs on five hits while walking three and striking out one.

On the other side for Steele Canyon, Marina Gonzalez won her third in a row as she allowed four runs on five hits over seven innings in which she walked four and struck out nine.

Granite Hills with the loss finishes the season with an overall record of 17-11.

Steele Canyon on the other hand has now won four games in a row since they lost to Carlsbad in the first round to put them in the challengers bracket. Their last four wins all have been elimination game victories.

With the win, they now move to 22-7-1 on the season and advance to the CIF Division I Championship against No. 3 Otay Ranch on Friday evening to be played at UCSD at 7 PM.



CHULA VISTA – Despite outhitting the No. 2 seeded Eastlake Titans 8-7 on Thursday the No. 3 seeded Christian Patriots would fall 7-4.

The scoring would come early for Christian thanks to Keels Carrizosa (2-4, RBI) who would drive in Lucy Sherburne (2-3, R) on a base hit to left field and a couple of batters later with two outs Sammy Baca (1-4, RBI) singled to left field bringing in Ashley Wood (2-3, 2 R) to make it 2-0.

They would add another run in the top of the second inning with two outs starting with Tyler Krystek (R, SB) drawing a walk, she would steal second and advance to third on an error by the second baseman and then score on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.

However, the Titans in the bottom of the third inning would take advantage of multiple opportunities that included a couple of errors by the Patriots and a pair of doubles that led to runs being scored.

When it was said and done Eastlake now led 4-3. They would score another couple of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on an error and wild pitch to lead 6-3.

Later in the top of the seventh inning trailing 7-3 the Patriots tried to string some momentum together behind back-to-back two-out singles by Wood and Carrizosa followed by Kaitlyn Moody walking to load the bases. Baca would follow up with a ball hit that was misplayed by the Titans that led to Wood scoring but that would be all they would get as the next batter was retired to end the game.

Sienna Staite who started for the Patriots would take the loss. On the day she allowed four runs on four hits over three innings. Ava Barrios came in and went three innings in relief. She would allow three runs on three hits while walking one.

Christian with the loss sees their two-game win streak snapped and finishes the season 24-8-1 while Eastlake moves to 21-11 and will now take on No. 1 Imperial on Saturday at UCSD in the championship game to be played at 4 PM.