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Doozy of a debut for Helix pitcher

04/17/2014, 9:58pm PDT
By Alex Riggins, Special to the U-T

In first start of career, Highlanders senior throws shutout for Lions Tournament title

Helix baseball coach Cole Holland (shown in a past season) watched his Highlanders clinch the Premier Division title of the Lions Tournament on Thursday.


Santana hitters hit a wall in final game

SDSU-bound right-hander was rested and ready

Helix High pitcher Michael Vargason hadn’t started a game in his Highlanders baseball career until Thursday. That’s when injuries and a doubleheader forced the senior to take the mound in the Premier Division championship game of the 64th annual Lions Tournament.

“We were hoping to get four innings out of him,” Helix coach Cole Holland said of his middle reliever.

Instead, Vargason pitched a complete-game shutout as Helix beat Steele Canyon 1-0 at Point Loma Nazarene University to capture the title. Vargason allowed seven hits, recording one walk and one strikeout over seven innings.

“It’s probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life,” Vargason said after the game.

Helix (12-6) reached the championship game with a 2-1 win over Ramona in the semifinals earlier in the day, while Steele Canyon (12-5) beat Eastlake 3-0 to reach the final.

Cougars left-hander Quinn Cadava gave up the one run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings, walking three and striking out seven, but that was enough for Vargason and Helix.

“I’ve been waiting since junior varsity to get a start,” said Vargason, the Premier Division MVP. “I just had to keep the ball down and let it work. And my defense behind me made a lot of plays.”

No Helix defender made more plays than right fielder Nico Alcoser, who saved runs in the first and sixth with inning-ending diving catches, both times with runners on second base.

“He covers so much ground and makes really good reads,” Holland said of Alcoser. “We really have three center fielders that play in the outfield. We’re very good defensively.”

Eric Preciado scored the Helix run in the bottom of the third inning. After he was hit by a pitch, Preciado moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single by freshman Connor Konishi.

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