EL CAJON Reaching the title game of the Lions Tournament requires a full stable of pitchers. Championship teams play five games in four days.
Patrick Henry High’s David Hensley, who began the baseball season as a closer, recently was moved into a starter’s role. It turned out to be a wise move by coach Jack Lococo. The 6-foot-5, 185-pound senior right-hander has adapted with aplomb.
Hensley was at the top of his game as the Patriots came from behind to edge El Capitan 4-2 in Thursday’s 6A Division championship game of the 64th annual tournament at Grossmont College.
“At the beginning of the season he was only pitching one or two innings here and there for us,” said Lococo. “But now he’s one of our top pitchers as well as our best hitter.”
Hensley (2-2), who has signed a letter of intent to attend San Diego State, scattered six hits and struck out 12 in the complete game.
The Patriots whipped San Pedro 8-1, Del Norte 12-9 in 10 innings, Mission Hills 11-0 and Francis Parker 6-3 before taking on the Vaqueros. Patrick Henry did not use Hensley in those four games. He was fresh for his outing against El Capitan, and it showed.
“That was the plan and it worked out,” Lococo said.
Hensley had the Vaqueros guessing and appeared to get stronger as the game progressed.
“My slide piece was my main pitch,” Hensley said. “I’m not a stats guy. It’s just fun to come out and play.”
Patrick Henry did all of its scoring in the sixth inning. No. 9 hitter Cabot Van Til, who was 3-for-4 in the game, slapped a bases-loaded single up the middle to score two runs and break a 2-2 tie.