Eastlake players savor their first-round Open Division playoff win over Grossmont. The Titans will play La Jolla Country Day in the second round.
CHULA VISTA Confidence continues to grow for the Eastlake High baseball team.
The Titans chalked up their 22nd straight win Wednesday afternoon with a thrilling 6-5 eight-inning come-from-behind victory over visiting Grossmont in the first round of the San Diego Section Open Division playoffs.
Despite trailing 5-2 going into the bottom of the seventh, the fourth-seeded Titans (27-3) knew they had a chance with the top of the order coming to the plate.
Julian Escobedo started things off with a line single to right and Micah Pietila-Wiggs followed with a walk, setting up Ben Ramirez. The junior shortstop nailed the second pitch off reliever Kannon Romero over the right field fence to tie the game.
“It was a 0-1 curveball right over the middle of the plate,” said Ramirez. “I just threw my hands at it and got it. (Escobedo and Pietila-Wiggs) did their job, I just had to do mine.”
Escobedo and Pietila-Wiggs did their jobs again moments later.
With two out in the eighth, Escobedo got his third hit of the game on a single up the middle. He moved to second on a balk, setting up Pietila-Wiggs. The sophomore left fielder calmly drove the second pitch off the right field wall, bringing in Escobedo with the winning run.
“I knew no matter what I had to put the ball in play,” said Pietila-Wiggs, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a walk.
No. 5 Grossmont (20-11) scored all its runs in the third inning off Escobedo. The big hit came when catcher Jayden Lombardo sliced an RBI triple down the right field line. Jackson Hulett, Jesse Garcia and Jaime Arreola also singled in runs in the inning.
Senior Adrian Hernandez relieved Escobedo in the fourth, shutting down the Foothillers on just two hits over five innings.
“I don’t think I threw more than 10 fastballs,” said Hernandez, whose win was his first decision of the year. “It was all screwballs and off-speed pitches.”
In Friday’s second round, Eastlake will host No. 8 La Jolla Country Day, a surprise winner Wednesday over top-seeded La Costa Canyon.
Farmer is a freelance writer.