East County Sports

Matadors, Norsemen: Close but no cigar

Photo by ick Pellegrino

CIF-Southern California Regionals


Compiled by Nick Pellegrino
ECS Senior writer

Division 5

Azusa 6, Mount Miguel 5 (8 inn.)

AZUSA – One lesson learned by a clearly Mount Miguel baseball team was to never give up.

It could have been easy after second-seeded Azusa raced to a 4-0 first-inning later.

Even the the Matadors demonstrated inner strength to pull event and force extra innings, the host Aztecs still came out on top with a 5-4 triump in 8 innings in the Southland Division 5 semifinals.

The comeback was again fueled by senior Jeremy Castillo.

After gaining the pitching victory in Tuesday’s win in the quarterfinals over Pacifica Christian, Castillo bombed a pair of home runs, good for four RBI.

Included was a shot in the fifth inning, when the Matadors scored four times to level the contest at 5-all.

Mount Miguel pitchers Matt Barton and Tyler Kelly settled down to throw five shutout innings to give the offense time to rally, but Azusa scored with two down in the eighth to advance to the Southern California title ballgame.

The deciding run was unearned on the final of six errors by Mount Miguel (15-16 overall).

The other Matadors runs saw Alex Sandovol come home on a basehit by Easton Sanchez, who also scored on a Rodriguez single. Kelly also tallied a run.

Record-wise, this was Mount Miguel’s bets season since [posting a 20-13 mark in 2014 — the school’s only 20-win campaign in records dating back to 1978.


AZTECS 6, MATADORS 5 (8 in.)
(3) Mount Miguel (15-16).... 000 140 00 - 5 4 6
(2) Azusa (20-5)............ 401 000 01 - 6 5 2
Two outs when wining run scored.


Division 3

Oxnard-Pacifica 6, Valhalla 4

RANCHO SAN DIEGO – The 2024 Valhalla Norsemen were playing under cruise control.

The Norsemen owned the second-longest win streak in school history at 18 games (they won 20 in 1999). It’s the sixth longest streak in Grossmont Conference history (seventh in East County), and is the longest in 20 years.

The school captured the Grossmont Valley League by a record four full games in posting a perfect 10-0 record. The margin of four games over the second-place teams was the largest since Helix won by five full games back in 1972 — yes, 52 years ago.

They even went undefeated to claim the CIF-San Diego Section Division 3 championship.

But even the fabled 1927 New York Yankees suffered “one of those days,” yielding totals of 14 and 11 runs to the Detroit Tigers.

However, for Valhalla to fall at home in the Division 3 semifinals of the CIF Southland Regional was more than disappoint.

Playing tight and nervous, third-seeded Pacifica High of Oxnard was gofted two of three runs in the second inning, the gained two of three runs in the unearned variety in the fifth, the Tritons took down the Norsemen 6-4 to reach the championship.

Valhalla was seeking to equal the school record for vicvtories in a season if they could the week’s three contests, but played tight and seemigly distracted by getting to balls too slowly, or throwing the balls awaqy.

Pacifica took advantage tp take the early lead, but after Valhalla pulled even, the Tritons rebounded late for the win.

Scouting reports indicated three top players for the Tritons — junior Jordyn Gonzalez, sophomore Riley Ortega, and freshman Byron Cibrian — and each drove in two runs in a balanced attack.

Some of the RBI came on being hit by apitch with the bases loaded, but it was just a sig of unbalance Valhalla suffered for the first time in more than two months.

Ortega and J.J. Carmona led the offense with two hits each. And when the defense continued to play tight in the late innings to allow the go-ahead runs due to errors, it meant the first loss of the season for Valhalla pitcher Colton Stinkeoway (9-1) despite allowing just six hits.

Pacifica (20-12-1) advances to the title game at home against Uiversity City, which upended top-seeded Chio Hills in the other semi.

Valhalla finished at 25-7 overall, to equal the school mark for the secod-most triumphs in school ledgers.


(3)  Oxnard-Pacifica (20-12-1).. 030 003 0 - 6 8 2
(2) Valhalla (25-7)............, 000 301 0 - 4 6 2

Longest Win Streaks in East County History
25 – Grossmont, 1992 (tie 2nd, CIFSDS history)
24 – Grossmont, 1991 (4th, CIFSDS history)
23 – Christian, 1998
22 – Santana, 1987
20 – Valhalla, 1999
20 – Helix, 2004 (Longest in 21st Century)
18 – Valhalla, 2004 (Best East County mark in 20 years)