High School Baseball : Helix Does Everything the Hard Way in a 5-4 Victory

It was appropriate that Helix High School scored a run without a base hit in the bottom of the ninth inning Monday to defeat Santana, 5-4.

The Highlanders, ranked No. 1 in The Times top 10, seemed determined for most of the game to make things hard on themselves.

They failed to hit a ball out of the infield until the third inning. The leadoff batter reached base in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but the Highlanders were able to score only in the fourth, when Spike Mitchell drove in a run with a triple and Jason Ledford had an RBI single.


In the ninth, Richie Pedrin walked and stole second. Rick Page walked. Pedrin stole third, and scored the game-winner when Santana catcher Robert Tucker’s throw went over the third baseman’s head.

Helix (19-2 overall and 12-0 in league play) leads the Grossmont League. Santana, ranked No. 8, is third at 17-7 and 8-5.

“Every guy in the lineup can swing the bat,” Helix Coach Jerry Schniepp said. “One day, we’re going to break out and hurt some people. I don’t think we’ve peaked yet. We’re just doing enough to win.”

That’s exactly what Helix pitcher Rick Navarro did. Navarro, improved to 10-0, but didn’t overpower Santana.

Darrin Forster had three RBIs for Santana, two coming when he hit a home run over the left-field fence in the third to put Santana ahead, 3-1.

“I started getting mad after the home run,” said Navarro, a left-hander. “I was kind of tired today. I’m usually jittery during my last few classes, but I wasn’t today. I just wasn’t up for the game. I don’t know, maybe it was because it was Monday.

“I know I can’t overpower this team. I try to use my knowledge of their hitters and keep them off stride.”

Eric Dietrich (3-1), the third of four Santana pitchers, took the loss.

Helix’s two fourth-inning runs tied the score, 3-3. Each team scored a run in the eighth.

“Every guy in our lineup can do something,” Schniepp said. “Most of them can run well and swing the bat. But Santana’s a damn good team.”

In other Grossmont games:

Granite Hills 5, Mt. Miguel 4--Pete Stacey’s leadoff home run in the bottom of the seventh won it for Granite Hills (14-8, 8-5). John Fenn also hit a home run for Granite Hills.

Monte Vista 5, El Cajon Valley 1--Chris Cone hit a run-scoring double in a two-run first, and Halifu Johnson (3-4) scattered seven hits for host Monte Vista (12-13, 5-7). El Cajon Valley is 6-15 and 2-10.

Grossmont 18, Valhalla 5--Roy Neder’s first hit of the season was a home run, and Mike Ramsey allowed only one hit the first five innings for visiting Grossmont (14-8, 9-3). Valhalla (7-17, 3-10) had six errors.


Morse 7, Point Loma 6 (8 innings)--Robert Welchel drove in Nate Lunsford with his third single of the game for host Morse. Reliever Sergio Guzman (1-0) allowed one hit in four innings.

METRO CONFERENCE Mar Vista 7, Hilltop 5--Jose Galza and Manuel Leon hit two-run home runs for Mar Vista (6-15, 3-6).