Batter up! South County ballclubs well represented in CIF playoffs

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Eastlake High School's Isaiah Martinez prepares to hurl a pitch to the plate in an 11-0 non-league win over Point Loma. Photo by Scott Hopkins

The San Diego Section will crown its six divisional baseball champions on May 26-28, at the University of California San Diego’s Triton Field.

A glut of 14 South County teams gained admission to this year’s playoff field, including four-seeded teams and four teams in the Division III bracket.

The mission for all teams is to qualify for the double-elimination rounds and stay in title contention for as long as possible.

Several teams received seeds that could result in a deep run.

The Open Division title game is scheduled for Friday, May 27, at 7 p.m.

The Division I final is scheduled for Thursday, May 26, at 7 p.m.

The Division II championship game is slated for Friday, May 27, at 4 p.m.

The Division III title contest is scheduled for Thursday, May 26, at 4 p.m.

The Division IV championship game is scheduled for Friday, May 27, at 1 p.m.

The Division V final is slated for Thursday, May 26, at 1 p.m.

 

Making the grade
Metro-Mesa League runner-up Eastlake (17-9) received the No. 2 seed among Division I teams while Metro-Mesa League champion Montgomery (19-6) received the No. 2 seed in Division II. Olympian (12-15-1) received the No. 2 seed among Division III teams while Metro-Pacific league champion San Ysidro (19-9) was seeded third in Division IV.

Bonita Vista (10-16-2) received the No. 8 seed in Division I while Otay Ranch (15-13-1) received the No. 10 seed in Division II. Metro-South Bay League champion Mar Vista (18-10) received the No. 8 seed among Division III teams while Metro-South Bay League runner-up Mater Dei Catholic (12-15-1) was seeded 11th in the division and Hilltop (12-14) seeded 12th.

Metro-Pacific League runner-up Castle Park (14-7) was seeded ninth in Division IV while Summit League champion High Tech High Chula Vista (15-7) was seeded 10th in the same division.

Summit League runner-up Bayfront Charter (9-5) and Kearny met in a play-in game on Monday to determine the No, 12 seed in the Division V bracket. Kearny won, 16-0, to advance to meet fifth-seeded Ocean View Christian Academy (13-6) in Tuesday’s opening single-elimination round. Chula Vista Learning Community Charter (7-9) received the No. 8 seed in the division.

Ocean View entered the playoffs as the Patriot League co-champion.

Teams seeded one through four in Division I through Division V received byes in Tuesday’s elimination round and will draw winners from Tuesday’s slate of games in first-round double-elimination games on Wednesday.

Teams could play as many as six games to win a division championship.

Third round play is scheduled for Saturday, May 21, for Division I, Division III and Division V teams, followed by fourth round play on Tuesday, May 24. If needed, fifth round play would take place on Wednesday, May 25.

For Division II and Division IV teams, third round play is scheduled for Saturday while fourth-round play is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24, followed by a potential additional elimination round on Thursday, May 26.

Eastlake will draw the winner of Tuesday’s single-elimination game between seventh-seeded Carlsbad (12-17) and 10th-seeded Point Loma (9-17-1).

Montgomery will draw the winner of Tuesday’s single-elimination game between seventh-seeded Mission Hills (20-8) and Otay Ranch.

Olympian will draw the winner of Tuesday’s single-elimination game between seventh-seeded Brawley (15-11) and 10th-seeded Maranatha Christian (16-12).

San Ysidro will draw the winner of Tuesday’s single-elimination game between sixth-seeded Escondido (14-11-1) and 11th-seeded Escondido Charter (16-7).

In other single-elimination games on Tuesday, Bonita Vista took on Cathedral Catholic (14-16) in the Division I encounter while Mar Vista hosted El Camino (10-18) in a Division III matchup, Hilltop ventured to fifth-seeded La Jolla (17-11) in another Division III contest and Mater Dei Catholic journeyed to play Mission Vista (15-11) in yet another Division III game.

Meanwhile, Castle Park visited El Capitan (16-12) in a Division IV play-on game on Tuesday while High Tech High CV drew a road game at seventh-seeded Calexico (21-6). CVLCC was scheduled to host ninth-seeded Army-Navy Academy (8-10).

Montgomery head coach Manny Hermosillo sits at career win 737 entering this year’s playoffs. He feels he has a team to make some noise.

“We won 17 games last season and gained experience to go into this season,” he said. “We didn’t panic and pulled together in tough games. We expected it and executed. CIF is in sight  and it’s now the goal to go as far as possible to win the last game of the season.”

The Aztecs are led in the hitting department by senior Aldo Camargan with a 0.351 batting average, followed by junior Jose Mendoza at 0.338, sophomore Aaron Herrera at 0.296, senior Andres Alvarez at 0.288, junior Antonio Serena at 0.278, sophomore Khalyl Perez at 0.273, freshman Noah Solano at 0.262, senior Benji Solano at 0.253 and junior Danny Alcala at 0.234.

Mendoza, Alvarez and Camargan top the team with 15 RBI

Senior Adrian Herrera leads Montgomery into postseason play with a 6-1 record on the mound with a 0.60 earned-run average and 62 strikeouts in 58.2 innings while Mendoza is 5-1 with a 1.14 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 37 innings.

Junior Daniel Mora paces Eastlake with a 0.396 hitting average, 18 stolen bases and 36 hits while junior Matthew Duran tops the team with 23 RBI and junior Isaiah lane leads with 29 runs scored. Senior Michael Rocha has clubbed 11 doubles.

Junior Nico Libed ranks second with 22 RBI while Mora ranks second with 27 runs scored.

Junior Isaiah Martinez (6-2) sports a 1.47 ERA to key the team’s pitching staff.

Senior Ghianni Rosado tops Olympian with a 0.421 hitting average while senior Aidan Bleisch leads the team with 18 RBI.

Sophomore Eddy Montoya keys San Ysidro with a 0.345 hitting average while senior Rafael Navarro has 25 RBI. Navarro also leads the team with a 1.59 ERA on the hill.

Senior Devon King powered Mar Vista to its league title with a 0.519 hitting average with 33 RBI while senior Jordan Mahan clubbed eight home runs. Senior Dante Pacheco had 31 RBI while Mahan followed with 22 RBI.

 

Montgomery started ace Adrian Herrera in Wednesday’s playoff opener. Photo by Phillip Brents

Aztecs refuse to lose in Division II double-elimination opener

Tuesday’s single-elimination round of the 2022 San Diego Section baseball playoffs featured six higher-seeded teams biting the dust. Wednesday’s opening round of double-elimination play featured seven more higher-seeded teams taking a backseat, including four top-seeded teams.

One of the four Open Division quarterfinal games on Wednesday featured an upset.

Of the 44 games played in all divisions on Tuesday and Wednesday,14 upset victories were logged – or 32 percent.

That’s a significant figure.

“We tell the guys you have to be ready for anything because it’s the playoffs – it’s intense,” veteran Montgomery High School skipper Manny Hermosillo said following his team’s 3-2 come-from-behind victory over visiting Mission Hills in Wednesday’s first round of the Division II double-elimination bracket at Peterson Junction.

The second-seeded Aztecs, who improved to 20-6 on the season, nursed a 1-0 lead through five innings before a throwing error in the top of the sixth innings resulted in the seventh-seeded Grizzlies (21-9) taking a 2-1 lead. The hosts tied the game in the bottom of the frame and weathered several Mission Hills scoring chances before finally putting bagging the win in the bottom of the ninth inning on junior Jose Mendoza’s sacrifice fly to medium-deep center field with the bases loaded.

Montgomery advances to Friday’s second round Division II game against third-seeded Del Norte (22-7), which defeated sixth-seeded Patrick Henry (22-8) by a 3-0 score on Wednesday. Mission Hills will play City Conference Eastern League champion Patrick Henry in Friday’s double-elimination game. The Montgomery-Del Norte winner advances to Tuesday’s fourth round.

Junior Danny Alcala drove in the Aztecs’ opening two runs.

Starter pitcher Adrian Herrera started the two-out rally against Mission Hills senior starter Nathan Sally with a walk. Sophomore catcher Khalyl Perez followed with a basehit and Alcala, battling a 3-2 count, blasted a rising liner into deep left field to plate the game’s first run.

Herrera, who tossed the second no-hitter in his career in Montgomery’s final regular season game, a 6-0 win at Eastlake to secure this year’s Metro-Mesa League championship, appeared to be humming along until the Grizzlies placed two runners on base with none out to start the sixth inning.

A bunt and overthrow at third base allowed two runners — senior Julian Aparicio and sophomore Riley Brown — to score.

But the hosts responded with a much-needed run of their own in the bottom of the inning as senior Andres Salazar reached base on an infield hit, then advanced to second base on a passed ball. Junior Antonio Serena followed with a walk to place runners and first and second bases. Alcala slapped the ball through the hole between shortstop and third base to score the game-tying run.

Herrera lasted until the top of the eighth inning when he reached the mandatory pitch count after allowing a lead-off basehit and sophomore Luis Arturo Chavez entered the game.

The Aztecs got out of the game courtesy of a double play to extend the game to the ninth inning.

Mission Hills loaded the bases in the top of the ninth inning but somehow wasn’t able to push across the go-ahead run.

The hosts were able to do that instead in their half of the inning.

Alcala took first on a sharp infield hit and took second base on an overthrow. Sophomore Aaron Herrera drew a one-out walk and senior Benji Solano managed to get on via an infield hit to fill the basepaths.

Mendoza was looking at three balls early on in the count, and it appeared the Grizzly reliever might even walk in the winning run, before junior Blake Cortez recovered to work the count full.

Adrian Herrera and Chavez combined to limit Mission Hills to four hits while striking out 13 batters while Sally and Cortez combined to strike out seven Aztecs while issuing five walks.

Each team committed one error. Both teams used timely double plays to get out of jams.

 

Photo Gallery by Phillip Brents

Aztec junior Danny Alcala reacts after notching game’s first RBI.

Safe at second base!
Sophomore reliever Luis Arturo Chavez

Danny Alcala gets the winning rally going in the top of the ninth inning.
The Aztec bench gets excited.
Jose Mendoza steps up to the plate with the bases loaded.
Game-winning run scores well ahead of the throw from center field.

Just the first win in the playoff journey, says head coach Manny Hermosillo, who logged career win 738.
Metro-Mesa League champion Montgomery Aztecs
Head coach Manny Hermosillo and grandson Danny Alcala

 

CIF PLAYOFF RESULTS

Play-in Round
Monday, May 16
Division II

Southwest El Centro 9, Coronado 0

Division V
Kearny 16, Bayfront Charter 0

 

Single Elimination Round
Tuesday, May 17
Division I
(8) Cathedral Catholic 7, (9) Bonita Vista 2
(5) Grossmont 6, (12) Sage Creek 5
(11) Scripps Ranch 13, (6) Westview 6
(7) Carlsbad 7, (10) Point Loma 3

Division II
(8) Christian 7, (9) Santa Fe Christian 4
(5) La Jolla Country Day 21, (12) Southwest El Centro 0
(6) Patrick Henry 15, (11) Classical Academy 3
(7) Mission Hills 7, (10) Otay Ranch 0

Division III
(8) Mar Vista 10, (9) El Camino 7
(5) La Jolla 7, (12) Hilltop 2
(11) Mater Dei Catholic 4, (6) Mission Vista 1
(10) Maranatha Christian 6, (7) Brawley 2

Division IV
(9) Castle Park 4, (8) El Capitan 1
(5) Fallbrook 4, (12) Morse 2
(6) Escondido 2, (11) Escondido Charter 1
(7) Calexico 12, (10) High Tech High Chula Vista 1

Division V
(9) Army-Navy Academy 12, (8) Chula Vista Learning Community Charter 0
(5) Ocean View Christian Academy 7, (12) Kearny 5
(6) Calipatria 7, (11) Hoover 2
(10) Palo Verde Valley 5, (7) St. Joseph Academy 2

 

(Double Elimination)

Open Division
First Round
Wednesday, May 18
(1) Granite Hills 6, (8) Helix Charter 1
(5) Santana 6, (4) Rancho Bernardo 1
(3) Torrey Pines 3, (6) San Marcos 0
(7) Madison 11, (2) La Costa Canyon 9

 

Division I
First Round
Wednesday, May 18
(8) Cathedral Catholic 10, (1) St. Augustine 7
(4) Poway 4, (5) Grossmont 3
(3) Steele Canyon 7, (11) Scripps Ranch 3
(2) Eastlake 6, (7) Carlsbad 1

Division II
(8) Christian 3, (1) Francis Parker 0
(4) Canyon Crest Academy 3, (5) La Jolla Country Day 2
(3) Del Norte 3, (6) Patrick Henry 0
(2) Montgomery 3, (7) Mission Hills 2 (9 innings)

Division III
(8) Mar Vista 3, (1) Rancho Buena Vista 2
(4) Mt. Carmel 4, (5) La Jolla 1
(11) Mater Dei Catholic defeated (3) West Hills, no score
(10) Maranatha Christian 7, (2) Olympian 4

Division IV
(1) Oceanside 8, (9) Castle Park 3
(4) Valley Center 6, (5) Fallbrook 3
(3) San Ysidro 2, (6) Escondido 1
(2) Mission Bay 7, (7) Calexico 4

Division V
(9) Army-Navy Academy 6, (1) Pacific Ridge 1
(4) Lincoln 7, (5) Ocean View Christian Academy 6
(3) Liberty Charter 6, (6) Calipatria 5
(10) Palo Verde 9, (2) Coastal Academy 1

 

Final Regular Season Standings

Metro-Mesa League
Montgomery 9-3, 19-6
Eastlake 8-4, 17-9
Otay Ranch 6-6, 15-13-1
Bonita Vista 4-7-1, 10-16-2
Olympian 2-9-1, 12-15-1

 

Metro-South Bay League
Mar Vista 8-1, 18-10
Mater Dei Catholic 5-4, 12-15-1
Hilltop 4-6, 12-14
Southwest 2-7, 12-15

 

Metro-Pacific League
San Ysidro 9-0, 19-9
Castle Park 5-4, 14-7
Sweetwater 3-7, 14-12
Chula Vista 1-8, 8-20

 

Summit League
High Tech High Chula Vista 6-0, 15-7
Bayfront Charter 4-2, 9-5
Chula Vista Learning Community Charter 2-4, 7-9
Mountain Empire 0-6, 4-11

 

Patriot League
Liberty Charter 7-1, 14-6
Ocean View Christian 7-1, 13-6
Gompers Prep 3-5, 5-8
High Tech High North County 1-7, 2-14

 

No-hitter propels No. 10 Aztecs to Metro-Mesa title

Veteran Montgomery High School baseball coach Manny Hermosillo admitted it was a “tough” week entering back-to-back games against the Otay Ranch Mustangs and Eastlake Titans as the teams were embroiled in a three-way tie for first place in the Metro-Mesa League standings.

Montgomery defeated host Otay Ranch, 10-1, on May 3 to set up a climactic encounter at Eastlake for the league title on May 5.

The Aztecs prevailed, 6-0, on a no-hitter courtesy of senior Adrian Herrera to place the Aztecs alone on top of the standings and clinch this year’s league title.

Montgomery finished league play 9-3 and improved to 19-6 overall while both Eastlake (7-4, 16-9) and Otay Ranch (6-5, 15-12-1) had one more league game remaining in regular season play.

Regular season games extend through Friday. The San Diego Section playoffs open Monday, May 16, with any needed play-in games.

Herrera threw a complete game no-hitter, the second no-hitter in his career, and the sixth in school history. He struck out nine batters, walked three, faced 25 batters and tossed 103 pitches in the championship game victory.

He improved to 7-1 on the season with 62 strikeouts, 20 walks and a 0.59 earned-run average.

The league championship was the 23rd for Hermosillo since he began coaching the team in 1984.

By contrast, the Aztecs rapped out 11 hits against three Eastlake pitchers.

Junior Jose Mendoza hit a two-run home run in the third inning to open scoring in the game. In the fourth inning, senior Benji Solano singled in two runs and senior Andy Alvarez singled in the fifth run.

Junior Danny Alcala singled in pinch-runner Luis Torres in the top of seventh inning for Montgomery’s final run in the contest.

Solano, his brother Noah Solano, and Alcala all recorded two hits apiece.

Playoff pairings in Divisions I through V (12 teams each), and the Open Division (eight teams), will be announced on Saturday.

All divisional championship games are at UC San Diego.

Montgomery entered this week at No. 10 in the section rankings, second among Division II teams, while Eastlake was ranked 16th in the section, 10th among Division I teams.

Otay Ranch entered the week No. 10 among Division II teams. Metro-South Bay League champion Mar Vista (8-1 in league. 17-4 overall) was No. 7 among Division III teams while Metro-Pacific League champion San Ysidro  (9-0 in league, 19-8 overall) was No. 3 among Division IV teams.

Batter up! South County ballclubs well represented in CIF playoffs