No shortage of talent in Mesa League girls softball season – Star-News

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MATER DEI CATHOLIC, EASTLAKE, BONITA VISTA ALL RANKED AMONG TOP FIVE SECTION TEAMS
The Bonita Vista and Mater Dei Catholic high school softball teams earned berths in last year’s elite San Diego Section Open Division playoffs.
Both teams look strong to start the 2019 season.
Mater Dei Catholic extended its season record to 11-0 following a 10-3 non-league win at Poway on Tuesday. Bonita Vista had gotten off to a 5-1 start before experiencing a rainout against visiting Santana on March 21.
The Crusaders and Barons are joined this season in the upper reaches of section rankings by another local challenger. Mesa League rival Eastlake improved to 9-2 overall after recording a lopsided 11-0 victory against West Hills in a Falcon Fiesta tournament on Monday.
According to statistics maintained by the MaxPreps website, Mater Dei Catholic is the top-ranked Division I team in the section while Eastlake is ranked second. Bonita Vista is ranked fifth.
Eastlake advanced all the way to last year’s Division I championship game, settling for second place following a 3-0 loss to Rancho Bernardo.
Third-year Bonita Vista coach Alé Jordan admits he sees both Mater Dei Catholic and Eastlake as the Barons’ chief challengers in defense of the team’s Mesa League championship.
“Mater Dei Catholic has two seniors who are headed to UCLA while Eastlake has really stepped it up and has some good hitters,” Jordan said.
Still, Jordan sees his team as the one to beat for this year’s Mesa League championship. The Barons finished 18-9-2 last season, including 9-1 in league play to finish one game ahead of Mater Dei Catholic.
Bonita Vista finished 2-2 in last year’s Open Division playoffs as the No. 5 seed.
“We’re young, as we have only three seniors,” Jordan said. “We graduated six seniors last year.”
The Barons opened this season by winning their first four games before dropping a 4-3 decision to Mater Dei Catholic in the semifinals of the Cougar Classic. The Barons rebounded with a 12-6 non-league win at Christian on March 14.
“It’s an early start to the season — we still don’t know what we have,” Jordan said. “But it seems like we have a good hitting team. We have home runs from eight different players in six games.”
Senior Vinitzia Blanco leads the team with a .467 hitting average, followed by Guevara and Macario at .444, junior Kodi Gora at .429 and sophomores Sophia Estrada and Ashley Decker at .400.
Guevara leads the team with nine RBI while Macario leads the team with seven runs scored.
Guevara is 5-0 in the pitching circle with a 0.67 earned-run average and 25 strikeouts in 21 innings.
Jordan noted that Guevara did not pitch in the loss to Mater Dei Catholic.
Besides Macario and Guevara, Jordan lists junior Julia Hill and Blanco as other impact returners. Sophomore Nicole Hill ranks among the team’s impact newcomers, coming up from last year’s junior varsity team.
BVHS players attribute a strong team chemistry to the team’s early season success.
“Our chemistry is very good,” Blanco commented. “It helps us on the field.”
“I really like the different skills we each have that we can bring to the table,” Macario added.
“Our energy helps us,” Guevara stated. “We really never give up our will to win the game.”
Bonita Vista opens league play by hosting Eastlake on April 10 and will play at Mater Dei Catholic on April 19.
Perfect start
Five players each drove in two runs for the rampaging Crusaders in last Saturday’s 13-3 win at Huntington Beach: Alena Ramirez, Kiyra Moody, Lexi Sosa, Alexia Morales and Jalyse Hanson. Moody, a sophomore, and senior Alyssa Garcia, led the team with three hits each while freshman Amy Jones scored three runs.
Sosa improved to 9-0 in the pitching circle with a 1.66 earned-run average by scattering three hits while striking out eight batters in Tuesday’s win. She has struck out 59 batters in 50.2 innings this season while allowing 36 hits.
At the plate, the UCLA-bound Sosa is hitting .364 with seven runs scored and 11 RBI. She has rapped out eight hits in 22 official at-bats, including a double and three home runs,
Garcia, who is slated to join Sosa at UCLA, is hitting a torrid .676 with 23 hits in 34 plate appearances with 13 RBI. She has punished opposing pitchers with six doubles and one home run.
Trouble is that Sosa and Garcia are just two of several extremely talented players on this year’s Mater Dei Catholic team.
Ramirez, a junior, and Morales, a senior, rank in a tie for second on the team with a .412 hitting average.
Ramirez has clubbed five doubles and one triple.
The Crusaders have nine players hitting above .300 in the line-up. Moody is batting a cool .394 with 11 RBI, followed by Sosa and fellow senior Annalisa Soto (.357).
Hanson is hitting .335, followed by sophomore Gisele Gonzalez (.353) and junior Destinee Noury (.316).
Sosa and Moody rank in a tie for second on the team with 11 RBI.
Sophomore Enissa Weakley entered the week 2-0 in the pitching circle with a 2.76 ERA.
Mater Dei Catholic opens Mesa League play with a game against visiting Olympian on April 10.
Team Titan
Sophomore Hannah Slike drove in three runs in Monday’s win over West Hills while junior Alesia Casillas and senior Taylor Tropp both drove in two runs. Senior Sharlize Palacios led the Titans with four hits in the game.
Junior Sierra Tufts scattered three hits while striking out six batters to record the shutout win.
Palacios, who is bound for the University of Arizona, ranks among the section’s top hitters with a monstrous .731 hitting average. She has 19 hits in 26 plate appearances with 17 runs scored, 16 RBI and seven home runs.
She’s not the only Titan hitting the cover off the ball. Slike is hitting .618 with 10 runs scored and 15 RBI.
Eastlake has seven players hitting above the .300 mark. Junior Emily Esquivel is hitting .463 while Tropp is hitting .458 with 10 RBI.
Senior Arelia Nava is hitting .367, followed by sophomores Becky Ramos (.348) and Olivia Manriquez Graf (.316).
Freshman Rylee Alfaro has made 10 pitching appearance so far this season with a 0.97 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 36 innings.
Tufts has notched 18 strikeouts in 24.2 innings to go with a 3.69 ERA.
Green machine
Hilltop is off to a 9-3-1 start after defeating host Sweetwater, 15-5, on Monday. The Lancers rapped out 19 hits. Freshman Lily Hermosillo led the victors with four hits and three RBI while three players each scored three runs: freshman Anahy Carbajal, sophomore Elizabeth Olguin and freshman Sofia Vega.
Freshman Alexyia Reyes picked up the pitching win by scattering five hits in four innings while striking out three batters.
Olguin leads Hilltop with a .579 hitting average while Hernandez is hitting .513 with a team-leading 20 RBI. Vega is hitting .488 with 17 RBI.
Senior Alexia Sandoval is 6-2 in the pitching circle with a 3.13 ERA. She’s struck out 26 batters in 44.2 innings.
The Lancers advanced to the semifinals of last Saturday’s annual Hilltop tournament, dropping a 5-4 decision to El Capitan, which went on to top Scripps Ranch, 6-5, in the championship game.
No-hitter
Chula Vista senior Morgan Quinlan fired a no-hitter at visiting Serra on Monday as the Spartans scored a 6-1 non-league victory. Quinlan notched 13 strikeouts in the win. She pitched seven innings, facing 22 batters.
She fanned 15 batters and allowed one hit in Wednesday’s 8-2 South Bay league win against Montgomery (3-5) to improve to 4-3 on the season.
Junior Andrea Ulloa had two hits and drove in three runs to highlight the Chula Vista offense in the win over Serra while senior Leata Tauti collected two RBI. Juniors Dez Matos and Viviana Macias each scored two runs.
Freshman Alexa Morales had three hits and drove in five runs in Wednesday’s victory while sophomore Kat LeMoine scored three runs.
Quinlan, who has struck out 80 batters in 42 innings, leads the Spartans (4-3) with six RBI while hitting .316 (fourth on the team). LeMoine leads the team with a .350 hitting average and six runs scored.
Chula Vista is scheduled to host Southwest (5-4) at 3 p.m. on Friday.
Castle Park had posted a 2-0 start with wins over the Rock Academy (30-11 on March 14) and Gompers Prep Academy (23-11 on March 19) to start non-league play. Other top records posted in the early stages of the season are 7-2 by Mar Vista, 5-3 by Sweetwater and 4-4 by San Ysidro.
BASEBALL
Hilltop (6-5) opened Mesa League play with a 4-1 win over visiting Chula Vista on Wednesday to hand head coach Kurt Gritts his 300th coaching win. The teams’ two-game series shifts to CVHS on Friday at 11 a.m.
BOYS VOLLEYBALL
Early season records among Mesa League teams include Castle Park (7-2), Eastlake (9-3), Otay Ranch (11-5-2), Bonita Vista (10-7), Olympian (6-5), Hilltop (8-12) and Montgomery (4-9).
BOYS LACROSSE
Early season records among Metro Conference teams include Olympian (6-2), Hilltop (6-3), Eastlake (4-4), Bonita Vista (2-7), Mater Dei Catholic (1-2), Mar Vista (1-6), Chula Vista (0-7) and Otay Ranch (0-8).


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