EC Preps






LA MESA – In front of a very electric crowd as it was standing room only the El Capitan Vaqueros (21-6 Overall, 8-0 GVL) in the bottom of the sixth took the lead for good courtesy of Allyson VonYokes (1-4, R, 2 RBI).

Once again it came down to the final day of the regular season to determine who would be crowned champion of the Valley League. Prior to last season when Valhalla won the title both the Vaqueros and Highlanders had shared the crown the previous two seasons.

Setting up the winner take all show-down was the fact that the Vaqueros won in Lakeside 3-2 back on April 10th behind Brooke Horn and her outstanding pitching performance.

This time around things went down to the later innings as both teams went back and forth.

The pitching matchup this time around was Junior Alexa Williams (3-3, R, RBI, HR) for the Vaqueros and Freshman Sophia Ramuno (1-4) for the Helix Highlanders (17-11 Overall, 6-2 GVL).

Neither pitcher gave an inch until the top of the fourth when Williams with one out cranked a solo blast. The home run was her 9th on the season and tied her for the lead in the East County with Audrey Bagge of Steele Canyon, Samaria Roope of Grossmont, and Olivia Gigante of Patrick Henry.

The 1-0 lead for the Vaqueros would be erased by the Highlanders in the bottom of the inning as Kasey Castro (1-2, R) singled, Camryn Jonilonis (2-3) singled and with two outs Avery Perez (2-4, RBI) singled to left field scoring Castro to tie the game at 1-1.

With the score tied at 1-1 the Vaqueros thought they had something in the top of the fifth with one out as Katy Hicks (2-3, RBI, 2B) singled, Kiki Angeles followed by reaching on an error advancing Hicks to second. Neither would advance any further as Ramuno was able to retire the next two batters to end the inning.

In the bottom of the fifth inning Ramuno led off with a base hit, she would advance to second on an error, Joleen Giles (RUN) came into run, she would advance to third on a ground out, Amber Young walked.

Helix was in good shape with only one out and runners at the corners as Zoe Kuhlken (RBI) came to the plate. She would reach on an error which scored Giles to give the Highlanders a 2-1 advantage and also the Helix crowd something to cheer which they did as they yelled and screamed.

But the deficit didn’t deter the Vaqueros as they came right back in the top of the sixth inning starting with Bailey Olaveson (1-4) who singled to lead off, Brooklyn Fukushima (RUN) into run, she would advance to second when Williams laced a base hit, Hailey Mulligan (RUN) came into run for Williams.

Both Fukushima and Mulligan would move up to second and third when Ramuno uncorked a wild pitch. This really put El Capitan in business as on the very next pitch VonYokes laced a ground ball to right field for a hit which scored both Fukashima and Mulligan.

Now that the tide had turned momentum wise and the El Capitan faithful on their feet the Vaqueros now led 3-2.

After Brandy Taylor popped up, Hannah Davis attempted a sacrifice bunt and it was successful as VonYokes moved to second base.

Up stepped Hicks who was in the same position last season in the CIF Playoffs when she came up clutch to send the Vaqueros to the Finals.

This time around she once again came up clutch as she raked a ball to left field that allowed her to race to second for a double and VonYokes raced around third and scored to give El Capitan a 4-2 lead.

Helix would get a base hit by Avery Perez in the bottom of the sixth but nothing else as Williams retired the next two batters to end the inning.

El Capitan started off the top of the seventh inning with a double by Madison Rosalis (1-4, 2B), she would advance to third on the sacrifice by Katie Collier. Nothing would come of it as Ramuno would get out of the inning.

Needing only the final three outs to cap the championship, Williams went out to the circle. Helix knew they were down to their final at-bat and needed to do something. So something had to give between the two.

That something would go in the favor of Williams and the Vaqueros as she got Nicole Hernandez to fly out, Amber Young grounded out for the second out. This brought the Vaquero faithful to loud cheers.

With two outs and Zoey Kulhken coming to bat, Williams went right at her and she fouled off the first pitch. On the very next pitch, Kulhken grounded to Rosalis at shortstop who promptly made the throw to Olaveson at first for the 6-3 inning-ending ground ball out.

For Helix, Ramuno in the loss went all 7 innings in which she gave up 4 runs on 9 hits while walking 2 and striking out 1.

Williams for the Vaqueros went all 7 innings in which she gave up 2 runs on 7 hits while walking 2 and striking out 3.

The League Crown is just the latest notch in the Vaqueros cabinet as they previously won both the Hilltop Tournament and the Jaguar Classic Silver Bracket Championship.


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