The Hoover High baseball team, after giving up 21 runs Monday in a loss to Helix, gave up 23 to Vista Tuesday but managed a 24-23 victory in the AA Division of the 39th Lions/Mike Morrow tournament at Hoover.
Hoover’s Tyrone Upton had eight RBIs (one shy of the section record) with a grand slam, a three-run homer and a sacrifice fly. Hoover starting pitcher Albert Canedo (who was five for six batting) was taken off the mound in the first inning but returned in the fifth to finish the game and earn the victory.
Vista (7-2-1) scored nine runs in the bottom of the first, but Hoover (5-4-1) came back with nine in the second.
Hoover, which had lost, 21-4, to Helix Monday, took a 24-20 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Vista scored three runs and had the tying run on second with no outs, but Canedo (2-0) struck out the next three batters to end the game.
Helix continued an upward trend in offensive productivity with a 23-6 victory over University City in an earlier game at Hoover.
In chronological order, Helix has scored one, four, four, six, seven, eight, 21 and 23 runs in posting a 6-2 record, 2-0 in this tournament.
“It’s encouraging to see,” said Jerry Schniepp, Helix’s coach. “We started off real slow with the bats, but we’ve picked it up a bit.”
A bit? A bit of an understatement.
Ten Highlanders had hits Tuesday. Eleven scored. Eight had RBIs. They scored 13 runs in the third inning, sending 18 batters to the plate. In two Lions games, Helix has scored in every inning--batting, of course, just 10 times because of the tournament’s 12-run rule.
“We just came out and banged the ball,” said senior shortstop Rich Haar.
Nobody better than Haar. In his first at-bat, Haar singled to right, stole two bases and scored on an error. In the second, he doubled off the fence in right-center, driving in a run.
In the third, he hit a grand slam to right center. University City wisely walked him later in the third. He flew out to right to end the fourth.
Also collecting three hits was Rob Ippolito, who is now 18 for 25 (.720).
Helix’s Eric West had seven strikeouts, allowing four hits and two earned runs in four innings.
Last season, senior starters Rick Navarro (14-0) and Damon Luban (10-1) led Helix to a 26-2 record and the San Diego Section 3-A championship. But the Lions’ title escaped them when Hoover defeated the Highlanders in pool play.
Helix is now looking for its first Lions title with a veteran lineup featuring four three-year starters in the infield.