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Poway pitchers strand biggest Bronco

03/22/2014, 9:00pm PDT
By John Maffei

Titans get crucial outs with Rancho Bernardo's Alex Jackson on deck

Poway relief pitcher Sam Godfrey (shown playing the infield earlier in the week) got the final out of the game in the Titans' win over Rancho Bernardo on Saturday.

There he was, looming on deck, with the game on the line.

Not once, but twice.

But Rancho Bernardo’s Alex Jackson, the most highly touted hitter in the county, never got a chance to bat with runners on base as the No. 1-ranked Broncos fell to No. 9 Poway 2-0 Saturday in the championship game of the Hilltop/Lolita’s Tournament at Hilltop High in Chula Vista.

In the second inning, Rancho Bernardo (5-1) loaded the bases with two out on three singles. But Poway pitcher Nathan Moncrief was able to strike out Tora Otsuka with Jackson on deck.

“I had to work the hitter,” said Moncrief, “but you can’t help but see who’s next.”

In the seventh inning, Adam Storch singled with two out to keep RB alive, again bringing Otsuka to the plate with Jackson on deck.

Facing reliever Sam Godfrey, Otsuka rifled a shot up the middle. But shortstop Kevin Bristow flashed to the ball and got the force at second to end the game.

“Obviously, Jackson is in the back of your mind,” Godfrey said. “I didn’t want him to have the opportunity to win the game.

“RB is a great team, so beating them is huge for our confidence.”

This was the third Hilltop/Lolita’s title for Poway in the event’s 33 years, a tournament Poway coach Bob Parry called “tougher than the CIF playoffs.”

The Titans (5-1) needed nine innings to beat Hilltop and 14 innings to beat Valhalla earlier in the tournament.

RB has won this tournament nine times but was shut out in the final for the second straight season, losing 1-0 last year to Granite Hills.

“Poway has a good team, a good program,” said RB coach Sam Blalock. “We knew this wasn’t going to be easy.”

Poway and RB are archrivals and will play each other three times in the Palomar League.

Poway scored in the second inning when Mark Berquist’s two-out single drove in Bristow, who had doubled.

The Titans added a run in the fifth when Bristow’s groundout drove in Joey Fiske, who had reached on an error.

Other tournament finals

Aztec/Foothiller: Trailing 1-0, Vista (5-1) scored twice in the bottom of the sixth for a 2-1 win over Montgomery (3-2-1). Pitcher Austin Ott tripled to start the rally and scored on a sacrifice by Korey Lee. A Bobby Haus single drove in the winning run. Ott has allowed just one earned run in 20 2/3 innings this season.

Christian Patriot: Madison (6-0) pushed across a run in the bottom of the 10th for a 4-3 win over Christian (4-2).

Bully’s East: In the morning championship, Henry (6-0) scored three unearned runs in the fifth inning for a 5-2 win over La Jolla (4-2). In the afternoon championship, Mount Miguel (5-1) scored three times in the first and three more in the fourth for an 8-1 win over Mar Vista (5-1).

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