Fri, May 04 2012 01:26 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The Baum Dog trophy, so named in honor of legendary Hilltop High School baseball coach John Baumgarten, remains the coveted prize of the Metro Conference tournament. The Bonita Vista Barons were the latest team to get the chance to savor it after defeating the Chula Vista Spartans, 5-2, in last Saturday’s varsity final at Castle Park High School.
The long-running tournament pits teams from the Mesa and South Bay leagues in friendly match-ups as a prelude to their respective league championships.
Both the Barons and Spartans carried identical 4-1 tournament records into the varsity finale.
The teams were longtime members of the Mesa League before Chula Vista moved over to compete in the South Bay League this season.
“For the Metro tournament, I believe the addition of Chula Vista on the South Bay side has evened out the competition a little,” BVHS coach Vincent Gervais said.
CVHS coach Jim Westlund said his team was “very proud” to have reached this year’s tournament final.
“Anytime you reach a final of a tournament there is enormous satisfaction and a strong sense of pride, especially since this is a South Bay community tournament,” he said.
Ironically, last Saturday’s tournament title game was a rematch of the previous Saturday’s final cross-bracket game won, 4-1 by host Chula Vista.
“We had great pitching and great defense in that game, and that was the difference,” Westlund said. “Nigel Tavares and Umberto Ortega combined for a two-hitter. Anthony York and Kevin Ayers both had big hits for us.”
The CVHS skipper said two errors and a misplayed fly ball led to three first-inning runs by the Barons in last Saturday’s Metro tourney finale.
“We battled back to make it 3-2 and we had the tying run on in the fifth inning,” Westlund said. “To me, the difference in the game came when they brought in their big pitcher Troy Cruz. It was his job to close the door on us, and he did. They came back to score two runs in the sixth inning and that took our momentum away.”
Miguel Solano-Espinosa went 3-for-4, scored one run and drove in a run to highlight the Barons’ 11-hit attack.
Cruz rapped out two hits, including a triple, and scored once while teammate Carlos Herrera scored once and also drove in one run.
Paul Valdez and Alex Haas scored Bonita Vista’s other runs.
Matthew Ball started for the Barons and scattered three hits over four innings before departing in favor of relievers Ivan Burow and Cruz.
Cruz pitched two-and-one-third innings, allowing one hit while striking out three batters, to pick up the save.
Ball fanned five Spartans during his time on the mound.
Bonita Vista improved to 15-7 overall, 4-1 in Mesa League play, following Tuesday’s 12-0 victory against visiting Olympian. Bonita Vista shut out host Mater Dei Catholic, 2-0, on Monday to open a busy week.
Herrera drove in three runs and scored twice in Tuesday’s game while Cruz and Trent Lara also scored two runs in support of a combined three-hitter by Cruz, Jesus Perez and Haas.
Ryan Miguel went 3-for-3 while Cruz and Haas each scored runs in Monday’s contest; Haas also was credited with one RBI.
Danny Siwek pitched a complete game four-hitter to earn the win against the Crusaders.
Meanwhile, Chula Vista topped visiting Sweetwater, 6-1, on Tuesday to improve to 6-3 in South Bay League play, 15-10 overall.
York struck out a career-high 14 batters and limited the Red Devils (2-6, 4-18) to four hits.
York also drove in one run and scored once while Ayers and Marcos Machado each delivered two RBI. Machado drove in runners with a single and a double.
Last Friday, Chula Vista rallied with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat South Bay League leader Montgomery, 2-1, to get back into contention for the league title.
Tavares delivered the game-winning RBI.
Montgomery remained in first place in the league standings at 7-1 (14-7-1 overall), though Chula Vista moved into sole possession of second place ahead of Castle Park and Mar Vista, both tied for third place with 3-2 league records.
Westlund said his team is not yet ready to concede the league banner to the formidable Aztecs.
“Montgomery is the current leader and by our defeat of them last Friday we are only two games behind,” the CVHS coach said.
Westlund noted that both Mar Vista and Castle Park have important match-ups against Montgomery over the next three weeks.
“The title should come down to the final week of the season,” Westlund said.
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