East County Sports

Matadors blossom as CIF baseball champs

CIF-San Diego Section Championships
Division 5 Final


By Nick Pellegrino
ECS Senior writer

LA JOLLA – When reading the game reviews of Mount Miguel baseball, the name of Jeremiah Castillo always seems to crop up as one of the best players for the Matadors.

Castillo has ranked among the Grossmont Valley League leaders in several categories, but with his team stranded in a tie for last place over a majority of the season, no one seemed to know — or care.

With one swing of the bat, things made a dramatic change.

Castillo slammed a walk-off, 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning, handing the Matadors the CIF-San Diego Section Division 5 baseball championship after nipping fifth-seeded Kearny, 6-4, at UC San Diego’s Triton Field.

Yhe lefy-handed hitter bombed a high shot over the right-field fence.

For Castillo, a senior, the homer was his fourth of the season, yet it will be remembered at Mount Miguel alumni events for years to come,

Kearny (19-10), seeking its second consecutive 20-win season after not making the lofty plateau at any time in the 21st Century, grabbed a 3-1 lead in the third inning.

However, the Matadors answered with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings before the bullpens took over.

Matadors starting itcher Matt Barton went the first seven innings, closing with 4.1 frames of shutout ball. Barton struck out seven Komets batters, but finished with a no-decision despite throwing a stellar 3-hitter — only one run was earned.

Instead, the victory went to reliever Tyler Kelly, who survived a hit and a walk in the eighth.

Kelly and Xavier Reyes also registered RBI hits to knot the contest at 3-all.

Alfredo Rodriguez collected two hits to claim the Matadors batting title at .381, “A-Rod” also finished in a tie for second with Kwlly in RBI.

Meanwhile, Castillo scored twice to be the runaway leader in crossing the plate at 41.

Since the school opened in 1957, this is the Matadors’ first-ever crown in baseball, led by first-year head coach Joey Gonsalves.

Note: This was the second CIF crown for Barton. He was the starting quarterback for the Matador’s Division 4 champions football team in the first semester.|.. This was the second-ever D-5 final to go extra-innings since the current playoff format began in 1994… This was Mount Miguel’s second title-game appearance. They fell to neighborhood rival Morse, 7-5, in 2019, under head coach Frank Coit, who resigned to accept a business venturein Yuma, Ariz.,almost exactly 12 months ago.


Kearny (19-10)......... 102 000 00 - 3 4 0
Mount Miguel (15-16)... 100 110 02 - 5 5 2

One out when winning run scored.

Division 4

Playback Final: Imperial 6, Monte Vista 4

SPRING VALLEY – Playing from behind throughout the CIFSDS Division 4 tournamenmt, the road back finally became too far for the Monte Vista Monarfchs.

Following an early loss to Imperial, Monte Vista forged through the challenger bracket to gain a playback final, but fell to the visiting Imperial, 6-4, giving the Tigers a berth in Saturday’s division championship contest.

Just like the entire postseason tournament, Monte Vista fell behind early and barely failed to catch up.

Iperial mounted a 6-0 lead before the Monarchs answered with four runs inthe fifth inning. But a game total of just four hits — compared to 11 for the Tigers — wasn;t quite enough.

The rally saw Jacob Schweizer punch a 2-run single, later scoring on a Damian Ordaz double. Schweizer completes the season with a .354 batting average.

Otherwise, the only other Monte Vista were registered by Justyn Stone, who slugged a triple and a double, yet scored only one time.

Imperial (24-7 overall) advances to face top-seeded University City.

Monte Vista finishes at 21-11-1 overall, its best mark since 2017 (20-13) or 2011 (22-10).