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Mustangs edge fifth-ranked Longhorns, 2-1, to claim 9-2 start Phillip Brents | Fri, Mar 29 2013 04:26 PM

The Otay Ranch Mustangs look like they will have a say in which team wins this year’s Mesa League title after taking down the fifth-ranked Rancho Buena Vista Longhorns in a 63rd annual Lions tournament game Tuesday at The Ranch.

The Mustangs improved to 9-2 overall with the Premier Division victory.

Tuesday’s win continued to fuel optimism, and with good reason.

The Mustangs captured the championship title of the Bully’s East tournament by topping Castle Park, 11-3, in the Andy Sanchez championship game on March 16.

Otay Ranch then topped Sweetwater, 15-2, as part of the Metro Conference tournament on March 18 to streak to a 7-0 season start.

Mustang coach Bob McCurdy said he’s been “very pleased” by his team’s strong start.

“We’re very young and the younger guys have come up big,” the ORHS bench boss said. “The pitching, in particular, has been very strong.”

Alex Kuisel went the first six-and-two-thirds innings in Tuesday’s game while scattering eight hits and allowing one run. The Longhorns (5-5) placed a runner on second base with two outs in the top of the seventh inning and in came sophomore Alex Tovalin to record the save.

Tovalin got the final out on one pitch.

The Mustangs made the most of their four hits. Jaime Dorado and Lalito Melendez-Pacheco each scored runs for the victors.

Strong pitching and timely run scoring also carried the Mustangs past the host Chula Vista Spartans in another Metro tournament game last Friday. Eddie Alvarez picked up the win.

Otay’s two losses have been to Montgomery (6-1 in a Metro tourney contest on March 20) and to La Jolla Country Day (5-0 in Monday’s Lion’s tournament opener).

McCurdy said an inordinate amount of miscues doomed his squad in both games.

“That’s due to our youth,” the Mustang skipper said.

Key performers at the plate so far this season have included Alvarez, Adrian Tovalin, Albert Canedo, Dorado and Darryk Williams. “Their bats have been on fire,” McCurdy said.

The team’s pitching corps is anchored by Alec Rios, Kuisel and Alvarez.

The Mustangs open Mesa League play April 17 with a two-game series against the Olympian Eagles.

Roaring like a lion

•Montgomery, competing in the Classic Division, won its opening two games in the 120-team Lions tournament. The Aztecs (10-1) edged Granada Hills Kennedy, 3-2, on Monday and followed with a 8-3 victory against Poway on Tuesday. Everado Tovar, braced by teammate Jesus Estrada’s game-winning RBI, hurled a complete game two-hitter while striking out 10 batters in Monday’s affair.

•Austin Wilkes delivered the game-winning hit Monday as Bonita Vista (5-7) edged Steele Canyon, 1-0, in a Premier Division contest. Matthew Ball allowed one hit and struck out six in facing 25 batters.

•Eastlake is off to an 8-2 start to the season following Tuesday’s 4-2 victory against Torrey Pines in a Premier Division game. James L’Esperance contributed a pair of run-scoring singles while teammate Roman Garcia also finished the game with two RBI. Isaac Vargas improved to 3-0 on the hill by tossing a complete game five-hitter.

Chula Vista (3-8) opened 5A Division play with a 4-3 win in 10 innings over San Francisco Lowell on Monday.

•Hilltop (6-4) opened with a pair of wins in 5A Division play. The Lancers clubbed Broomfield, Colo., by a score of 23-3 on Monday and tacked on a 4-3 victory against Valley Center on Tuesday. The Lancers rapped out 16 hits against the Coloradans.

•Mar Vista (3-7) came up victorious in its first two 3A Division games by defeating North Hollywood, 9-1, on Monday and Lincoln, 15-4, on Tuesday. Andrew Robinson allowed one unearned run in Monday’s win while stroking a pair of doubles and collecting five RBI. Robinson and Anthony Bell each drove in four runs to highlight Tuesday’s victory.

•Mater Dei Catholic (2-9) edged Hillsboro (Ore.), 8-7, in a 3A Division game on Monday.

•Castle Park (8-2) defeated Bonita Vista, 3-0, in last Friday’s Metro tournament game. The Trojans then fell to San Francisco Washington, 3-1, in Monday’s 3A Division opener.

•Sweetwater (4-8) captured its opening two games in 2A Division play after topping Orange Glen, 7-2, on Monday and Sherman Oaks Buckley, 6-5, on Tuesday. Marco Rivera scored two runs and Andres Puga drove in a pair to support winning pitcher Kenny Stein (four hits, five strikeouts) in Monday’s contest while Victor Ramirez collected two RBI to help make a winner out of freshman Salvador Rosales on Tuesday.

Extra bases
•La Jolla Country Day shaded Montgomery, 2-1, in the championship game of the annual Aztec-Foothiller tournament on March 16. Jose Antonio Gudino scored the lone run for Montgomery and Mario Perez picked up the lone RBI. Herman Alvarado allowed five hits in seven innings in absorbing the loss.

•Granite Hills blanked Rancho Bernardo, 1-0, in the championship game of the annual Hilltop-Lolita’s tournament on March 16. Trenton Brooks and Daniel Vasquez combined on a no-hitter for the No. 1-ranked Eagles.

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