East County Sports

Major Steele goof means no CIF title

CIF-San Diego Section Championships
Division 1 Final


ECS staff report

LA JOLLA – In one of the biggest blunders in a championship game, a mistake by a base coach prevented Steele Canyon from rallying late in the CIF-San Diego Section Division I championship game.

With an opportunity to forge extra innings — or even gain a walk-off victory — the Cougars instead folded to allow Otay Ranch to claim a 4-3 victory on Friday (May 24) at UC San Diego.

The championships is the fourth straight for thw Mustangs.

After Otay Ranch scored twice in the sixth inning to take the lead, Steele Canyon placed a runner on first base with two down in the seventh. The next Cougars batter singled to right field, with the baserunner, moving on contact, easily advance to third base.

However, the new runner at first base was directed to run to second base — which was where the throw from the outfield was duirected since there was no play at third base.

Instead of giving the next batter a shot to tie the contest in the bottom of the seventh, the trail runner was easily tagged out for the final out, handing the championship to the Mustangs.

Talk about an embarrasing faux pas.

It seemed to reflect the entire regular season for Steele Canyon.

Following a so-so start to the season, the Cougars finished scond in the Grossmont Hills League.

Steele Canyon slit the season series with GHL titlist Granite Hills, but a loss to lowly Valhalla (6-21) cost them their dhsre of the crown.

Then in the CIFSDS playoffs, thCougars lost early, but avanged their setback to the Eagles by defeating them twice in the bracket final and playback final to reach the finale against Otay Ranch.

But the blunder on the bases again left the ballclub short, capping the sectionals with a 22-8-1 overall record.

Otay Ranch built a 4-1 cushion, but the Cougars rallied late.

Driving in runs for Steele Canyon were senior Kamea Seunarine (RBI double), junior Hailey Trujillo, and sophomore Dannika Lakin.

Scoring the runs were seniors Michaela Heinen and Lauren Becker, plus frosh Bailey Evans.

Editor’s Note: Names of the base coach and the players involved were redacted.

Game stuff

In the sixth, sophomore right fielder Kalina Sangalang, who registered the victory-clinching assist, singled to left with towodn in the sixth, allowing Nataly Lozano (walk) and Kaylin Phillips (aingle) to score the game-tying and go-ahead runs.

The championship string by the Mustangs (17-12) includes:  the Open Division crown won last year, the Division 1 crowns in 2022, and Division 2 flag in 2021.

Dowjn 1-0 in the first, Steele Canyon pulled even in the third. Bailey Evans walked, later scoring on Kamea Seunarine’s double.

Otay Ranch answered for a 2-1 lead , but Steele Canyon again answeredto secure its only lead on RBI basehits from Trujillo and Lakin.



Steele Canyon has been selected to partake in the CIF Southern California regional. They will be the second seed in Division 3, gaining a home game against Valley Christianof Cerritos, to be held on Tuesaday (May 29).