If Santana High School, the defending CIF 3-A San Diego Section baseball champion, returns to the playoffs this year, it will owe a lot of thanks to senior left-hander Jeff Barry.
Earlier this season, Barry pitched a one-hit shutout to beat Helix and keep the Sultans in the Grossmont League race.
And against second-ranked Granite Hills Monday, Barry came through again, surviving nine hits to pitch a complete game and beat the Eagles, 6-0, at Santana.
The victory gave the eighth-ranked Sultans (18-6 overall) an 11-3 record in league play and kept them one game ahead of third-place Valhalla with two games to play in the race for the league’s final playoff berth. Granite Hills (12-2, 20-4) still leads the league by a game over Santana.
“I just can’t say enough about the job Jeff Barry did against us,” said Gordon Thompson, Granite Hills’s coach, whose hard-hitting Eagles had not been shut out this season before Monday. “There were some rocky times when we threatened but he slammed the door. He came up with the pitches to shut us down.”
Jim Franco, San Diego’s all-time prep home run leader, snapped a scoreless tie in the third inning with a solo home run and the Sultans added to their lead with three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth.
The rest was left up to Barry.
“You have to give him credit because he did a superlative job,” Thompson said. “But, we’re still the team everybody is chasing.”
In other Grossmont League action:
Valhalla 7, Mount Miguel 6 (8 innings)--Ed Schlesier singled in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth to give the 10th-ranked Norsemen (10-4, 18-5) the win over the Matadors (6-8, 9-14) and keep them within striking distance of Santana. Tony Lozinski hit a three-run homer in the first and Lance Pinnell hit a two-run homer in the fourth for Valhalla. Mark Warren (10-3) picked up the win in relief.
El Capitan 5, Grossmont 2--Brad Burton delivered a two-run double to key a three-run first-inning rally that lifted the Vacqueros (6-9, 8-16) past the Foothillers (6-8, 10-13) at El Capitan. Jim Medlin pitched the first 5 innings to pick up the win and Rob Arnold finished up to get the save. Shawn Boney homered in the fourth inning to help Grossmont.
Helix 7, Monte Vista 3--Willie Davis, the work-horse of the Helix staff, allowed 10 hits but pitched a complete game to lead the Highlanders (9-5, 16-8) past the Monarchs (2-13, 5-18) at Helix. Davis struck out five and received offensive help from Jackie Schniepp (2 for 3) and Larry Simms (2 for 3, two RBIs). Paul Howard hit a two-run homer in the top of the first for Monte Vista.