Jim Marchesi, a senior left-hander for El Capitan, had been looking forward to pitching against Helix and Rob Ippolito, one of the East County's top pitchers.
Marchesi's chance finally came Friday afternoon at Helix, and it wasn't a completely satisfying outing.
"I didn't ever feel 'on,' " he said. "I can pitch better. It was a psychological thing, I think, because I wanted to pitch against Ippolito."
But despite allowing a home run, a triple and surviving a first inning in which Helix scored a run on two hits, two errors and a wild pitch, Marchesi and El Capitan managed to win, 3-2, thus improving to 13-6 and 2-0 in the Grossmont 3-A standings.
"It might have been ugly," El Capitan Coach Steve Vickery said. "But we'll take it."
Yes they will. It was El Capitan's first victory over Helix in eight tries.
Marchesi said he was getting Helix batters out with fastballs. And he said Ippolito was trying to do the same thing.
"He was so fast last year." Marchesi said. "Maybe everyone caught up to him."
Maybe, but maybe Ippolito simply lost control. Against El Capitan he allowed just five hits through seven innings. That was certainly no sign that his fastball has slowed.
No, the signal was the number of walks; Ippolito issued seven bases-on-balls and hit a batter. Four walks were in the fifth inning alone, and El Capitan cashed in two of them for runs on Jeep Tharp's single to right. That made it 3-1.
But El Capitan's lead was cut in half when Shawn Ballantyne hit Marchesi's first pitch in the bottom of the sixth over the left-field fence.
El Capitan appeared in jeopardy of losing the lead altogether when, with one out in the sixth, Tom Grindle singled to right, and Jamie Frey reached first on a bunt single down the third-base line.
But the rally began to wilt when Bobby Miller hit a slow chopper gathered by first baseman Greg Ransweller and flipped to Marchesi covering first. It appeared Miller would reach the base before Marchesi, but Miller slid into the base and was called out.
That was base-running error No. 1. Nos. 2 and 3 came an instant later as Frey tried running to third, despite the fact Grindle was still standing on it.
Grindle, a bit confused, took off for the plate and was tagged out before reaching it.
In other Grossmont 3-A games:
Mount Miguel 9, Monte Vista 4--Winning pitcher Joe Mata (1-6) went two for two, homered and scored three times to lead the Matadors (4-16, 1-1) to an upset of fifth-ranked Monte Vista (13-5, 1-1). Matt Berry and Jim Rodgers had two hits and two RBIs each for the winners.
Santana 6, El Cajon Valley 4--Chris Hastings' double drove in three of Santana's four runs in the fifth inning. For El Cajon, Mike Stadler's ground rule double drove in two runs. Santana improved to 15-4, 1-0.
El Camino 12, Escondido 8--Escondido outhit El Camino, 14-10, but didn't help its own cause by committing seven errors. Ricky Spears picked up two hits, including a bases-empty home run in the third, and scored three times. Teammate Daniel Esposito was two for two with two RBIs. El Camino improved to 9-7, 3-1. Escondido dropped to 8-8, 3-1.
San Pasqual 11, Oceanside 9--Bobby Cummings and Eric Marsh went three for four, and teammate Dave Vejtasa went two for three for San Pasqual (6-9-1, 3-1). Jose Avila was two for three, including a bases-empty homer, for Oceanside (14-6, 3-1.)
San Marcos 8, Carlsbad 4--Eric Morton hit a three-run homer to lead the Knights (8-9, 1-3) over the Lancers (8-12, 0-5).
City Harbor League
St. Augustine 3, Christian 1--In the sixth, Eric Dent broke a 1-1 tie by doubling in two runs as St. Augustine improved to 12-6, 6-1.
City Western League
USDHS 10, La Jolla 5--Ryan Walter was four for four and drove in three runs for the sixth-ranked Dons. David Sanchez went two for three and had three RBIs for USDHS (15-4, 5-1).
San Dieguito 3, Torrey Pines 2--Matt Shaffer pitched a two-hitter and Isaac Jones went two for three with two RBIs to lead the Mustangs (2-16-1, 1-4-1). Torrey Pines is 9-10, 0-5.
Poway 6, Fallbrook 2--Danny Miller (6-1) struck out nine, raising his season total to 72. He was aided by home runs from Matt Scwenke and Miles Kelly, who also hit a run-scoring double. Poway improved to 12-4-1, 4-1 in league.
Orange Glen 3, Vista 0--Damon Vinje went two for three with one RBI and Jim Roby went one for three with two RBIs for Orange Glen (11-8, 2-3). Rodney DeLeon went two for three for Vista (8-11-1, 3-2-1).