CHULA VISTA Bonita Vista coach Vince Gervais rates versatile Otay Ranch junior Lalo Alvarez the best player in the Mesa League.
That may be true in the long run, but Bonita Vista’s Matt Ball was the best player in Wednesday’s regular-season finale won by the visiting Barons 3-1.
A 6-foot-5 right-hander, Ball pitched a complete-game six-hitter and struck out 12 as Bonita Vista (17-12, 6-4) forced Otay Ranch (22-8, 7-3) to share the league title with Hilltop.
Ball leads the San Diego Section with 115 strikeouts. He also owns a 7-3 record and a 0.71 ERA.
“I struggled early and didn’t find my breaking ball until the second time around the order,” he said.
Otay Ranch jumped on Ball for its only run in the first inning as Alvarez singled, stole second and scored on a base hit by Julio Melendrez.
Gervais agreed that Ball relied on his fastball too much early on.
“The kid can consistently throw 86 and tops out at 92,” the coach said.
Bonita Vista did all its scoring in the sixth inning on a bases-loaded triple by Brandon Torio on a 3-2 pitch from Alvarez that Torio drove over the left fielder’s head.
“I let Alvarez supply the power so I just wanted to make contact,” said Torio. “I knew it wasn’t going to go out, but I’m pretty proud of it because coach said it was the biggest hit of our season.”