The Chula Vista Spartans will face the Eastlake Titans in the varsity championship game of Saturday’s John Baumgarten/Metro tournament. Game time is 1 p.m. at Eastlake High School.
The Spartans carry a 4-6 record into the title match-up while the Titans are 7-3.
Interstate 805 served as the dividing line between east and west for this year’s tournament pools.
Chula Vista emerged as the winner of the west side pool with a 4-1 record (wins over Olympian, High Tech Chula Vista, San Ysidro and Bonita Vista and a loss to Mater Dei Catholic) while Eastlake won the east side pool with a 4-1 record (wins over Mar Vista, Montgomery, Sweetwater and Castle Park and a loss to Southwest).
The Spartans topped host Bonita Vista, 5-2, in a 10-inning thriller on Thursday to secure first place in their pool and a berth in the tournament final.
CVHS coach Jim Westlund called Thursday’s game against the Barons “a great high school baseball game.”
Bonita Vista starting pitcher Ricardo Reynoso and Chula Vista starter Brandon Teichman each threw seven scoreless innings and only allowed three hits between them.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Spartans scored two runs in part due to a key sacrifice fly from Thomas Otero but Bonita Vista fought back with two runs of its own in the bottom of the frame.
In the top of the 10th inning, the Spartans broke away with three runs braced by Eli Savage’s key two-run RBI single. Savage also pitched the bottom of the inning to earn the save for winning pitcher George Cabrales.
Previoiusly, Chula Vista topped San Ysidro, 6-5, on Tuesday after clubbing visiting HTCV, 12-2, last Saturday in the first game back at its home field following renovations to the back stop.
The Spartans have now won four of their last five games heading into Saturday’s tournament title game.
Eastlake shaded host Castle Park, 4-1, on Thursday to finish deadlocked in pool play with Bonita Vista, Otay Ranch and Mater Dei Catholic. However, the Titans earned a berth in Saturday’s tourney finale on the strength of the run-differential tie-breaker.
Isaac Vargas drove in the game-winning run in the eighth inning to preserve a one-hitter for winning pitcher Julian Escobedo. Tucker Torano went two-for-two for the Titans while Spencer Sundahl drove in two runs.
Eastlake enters Saturday’s clash against Chula Vista riding a four-game winning streak.
Hilltop 2, Otay Ranch 1
The host Lancers, with a 2-7 record to start the season, battled the 10-2 Mustangs to a scoreless tie through six innings of Thursday's Metro tournament encounter before Otay Ranch pushed across a run to go up 1-0 in the top of the seventh inning.
But the Mustangs (10-3) could not close out the game, as Hilltop promptly loaded the bases with one out and, after a pitching change on the part of the visitors, won the Metro tourney contest on a walk-off double by Anthony Llamas.
Markus Melin tripled in the top of the seventh inning and Darryk Williams stroked a solid two-out single to bring him home to stake the Mustangs to a 1-0 lead behind the pitching of ace Eddie Alvarez.
But Alvarez, who survived a rough bottom of the sixth inning after the Lancers loaded the bases with one out, surrendered a single to sophomore William Sanchez to open the bottom of the seventh inning. When the ball was then bobbled in the outfield, Sanchez was able to beat out the throw to first base.
Sophomore Mario Murillo then sacrificed Sanchez to second base and sophomore Angel Sanchez followed with a walk to place two men on base. A bloop hit by senior Steven Sherwood loaded the bases for fellow senior Llamas, who slammed a 3-2 pitch from reliever Alec Godoy nearly to the base of the outfield fence to deliver the winning runs.
Hilltop starter Justin Sparby received credit for the win by allowing just two hits while striking out five Mustangs.
Three sophomores set the stage for the Lancers’ game-winning rally. Hilltop’s line-up featured just three seniors.
“We’re real young,” HHS coach Kurt Gritts noted. “It’s going to depend on how these guys come through. We’re learning as we’re going along, we’re learning how to win on the fly.”
The Lancers finished 3-2 in Metro tournament play with wins against Chula Vista High Tech (12-4 on March 27), San Ysidro (2-1 on March 29) and Otay Ranch and losses to Mater Dei Catholic (2-0 on March 25) and Bonita Vista (3-2 on Tuesday).
Hilltop will compete in the new Metro-Pacific League alongside west side geographic rivals Sweetwater, Chula Vista and Castle Park.
Chula Vista and Castle Park are both 4-6 to start the season while Sweetwater is 4-7 and the Lancers are 3-7. If one goes by win-loss records, the inaugural league champion thus figures to be a toss-up.
“I really haven’t thought much about it yet,” Gritts said when asked about his team’s fortunes in the new Metro loop. “We’re only going to play six league games. If we all beat up on each other, the league champion could have a 4-2 league record.”
The Metro tournament JV championship game is scheduled Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Eastlake HS pitting Hilltop against Eastlake.
In other Metro tournament games on Thursday:
San Ysidro 7, Southwest 2
Mar Vista 10, High Tech Chula Vista 1
Montgomery 6, Mater Dei Catholic 1
In tournament games Friday:
Mater Dei Catholic 6, Mar Vista 3
Sweetwater 4, Olympian 2 (at Petco Park)
John Baumgarten/Metro Conference Tournament
Bonita Vista 4-1
Otay Ranch 4-1
Mater Dei Catholic 4-1
San Ysidro 3-2
High Tech Chula Vista 0-5
x-wins tiebreaker, run-differential
Chula Vista 4-1
Mar Vista 1-4
Castle Park 1-4
Saturday, April 5
Eastlake High School
Eastlake 11, Chula Vista 2
Highlights: Baley Castro slammed a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning to help spur a seven-run uprising by the hosts and later just missed another home run by dinging a ball off the top of the left field fence to finish the game with four RBI. Castro finished the game three-for-three with three runs scored. Winning pitcher Dominic Field hurled four innings in relief, striking out five Saprtans while allowing two hits. Casey Schmitt scored runners on a pair of sacrifice flies. For Chula Vista, Javier Anzar and Roberto Valdez each drove in runs after Brandon Teichman led off the top of the second inning with a double. The Titans improved to 8-3 while the Spartans dropped to 4-7.