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Senior sluggers lead Mission Hills

06/01/2013, 10:48pm PDT
By Bill Dickens, Special to the U-T

Grizzlies veterans contribute timely hitting in title game.

Roberto Johnson (left) and Brandon Gullotti of Mission Hills exchange high-fives after scoring on Brent Jarvis’ double in the fifth inning.

Calling themselves “The Bomb Squad,” Mission Hills’ quintet of senior sluggers helped ignite the Grizzlies in a 3-0 win over Madison on Saturday that clinched the San Diego Section Division II baseball title at USD’s Fowler Park.

“We’ve been playing together since travel ball,” said Nate Delaney, who is joined in the group by Roberto Johnson, Brandon Gullotti, Chad Nolan and Jeff Nellis.

For Delaney and Nolan it was their third section championship game this school year after competing for titles in football and basketball.

“We won in basketball and we got this one here today,” said Delaney, who drove in the first run with a second-inning single.

Gullotti led a nine-hit attack for Mission Hills with two singles and a double, while Johnson was 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base. Brent Jarvis all but put the game away with a two-run double in the fifth for the No.?9-seeded Grizzlies (20-13), who won five straight in the playoffs.

“I was seeing the ball real well and got some good swings on it,” said Gullotti.

The defensive play of the game was turned in by Grizzlies junior first baseman Tony Stanich, who speared a line drive by Andrew Shebloski and turned it into a double play to end the fourth inning.

The 6-foot-3 Stanich, who also was a member of the Mission Hills championship basketball team, robbed Madison of two runs in protecting a 1-0 Grizzlies lead.

“That was a huge momentum swing, no doubt about it,” said Stanich. “If that ball gets by, they take the lead.”

Jack Rupe allowed six hits, walked one and struck out three in 6?1/3 innings for Mission Hills. He earned his ninth win in 11 decisions as Johnson got the final two outs for the save.

“Winning like this is just unexplainable,” Rupe said. “Not in my wildest dreams could I imagine winning a championship this way.”

No. 3 Madison (24-9) had runners on base in every inning but the fifth.

“I had a little trouble with my off-speed stuff in the beginning,” said Rupe. “But once I calmed down and found my control I just felt on.”

Playing on the big stage in three major sports was a remarkable way to wrap up a high school athletic career for Delaney, who plans to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and major in engineering.

“What a way to go out,” Delaney said. “That was one great senior year, wasn’t it?”

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