Fri, May 25 2012 03:47 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
In the end, only one team would claim this year’s Mesa League baseball championship. The Eastlake Titans accomplished that by defeating the visiting Olympian Eagles, 10-4, on May 17.
The Titans had entered the game — the final regular season contest — tied with the Bonita Vista Barons for the league lead, both with 6-3 league records.
The teams shared last year’s league title; thus, the pressure was on both squads to come up with a victory in their regular season finales. A win and a loss by either would produce a runner-up finish for one squad.
Bonita Vista saw its championship fortunes evaporate following a two-game sweep by the Hilltop Lancers. When news of Hilltop’s 4-3 win over the Barons made its way into the Eastlake dugout, goose bumps had to sweep through the entire Titan lineup.
At the time, Eastlake had a comfortable 10-1 lead.
Josh Palet picked up the title-clinching win on the mound while Spencer Jeffreys led the team by going three-for-four at the plate.
The Titans sewed up the top spot in the league standings with a 7-3 record, followed by Bonita Vista at 6-4, Otay Ranch and Hilltop, both with 5-5 league records, Olympian at 4-6 and Mater Dei Catholic at 3-7.
EHS coach Dave Gallegos cited his team’s commitment to excellence as the driving force behind its back-to-back league titles.
“It’s great to show the hard work our kids put into the program,” Gallegos said.
Five of the six Mesa League teams qualified for Tuesday’s play-in round of the San Diego Section divisional playoffs. Sadly, all came up short in their bid to land a spot in the double-elimination portion of the post-season tournament.
Eastlake, earning a home game in the Division I field, ended its season 17-10-2 following a 10-9 loss to visiting Poway in eight innings. A two-out error set up Poway’s game-winning RBI by Alec Moreno.
In other Division I play-in games, Carlsbad shut out Otay Ranch, 4-0, while Mira Mesa shaded South Bay League runner-up Chula Vista 5-3.
In Division II, Bonita Vista (17-12) dropped a 4-2 decision to visiting San Marcos to end its season while Hilltop lost, 5-1, to Ramona.
Troy Cruz went three-for-four with one RBI for the Barons.
South Bay League champion Montgomery (18-8-1) was eliminated via a 2-1 setback to Clairemont in a Division III play-in contest while Mater Dei Catholic (7-21) saw its season come to an end following a 4-3 loss to Imperial in Division IV.
Montgomery (11-1 in league play) finished two games ahead of Chula Vista (9-3, 19-11) in the South Bay League standings.
Still, the light continues to burn bright for the Titans, according to Gallegos.
“The whole infield is coming back (but) we are losing our pitchers and outfielders,” he said. “We will work off-season to get there again.”
Peter Kluch contributed to this story.
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