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Grossmont Has Records, Wants 2-A Title

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Grossmont High is preparing more than two pages of statistics from its 1990 season for the San Diego Section record book.

The Foothillers have set single-season records for runs scored (309), hits (318) and victories (28) and are close to setting season marks for on-base percentage, batting average, RBIs and stolen bases. Grossmont catcher Todd Cady, only a junior, has shattered the single-season RBI record with 61--the old mark was 47 by Jeff Meyers of Carlsbad--and barring injury is sure to set career records in RBIs, homers and hits.

But Coach Jeff Meredith and his team would undoubtedly give all of this up for a place on page 2, where the 2-A team champions are listed.

Last year Grossmont earned a spot there but under the heading “runner-up"--the Foothillers lost to Carlsbad in the section final, 7-4.

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“Last year, when we got there, nobody thought we’d be there,” Meredith said. “We were up-tight and lost.”

This season, Grossmont has lost but two games and has been ranked at or near the top of every poll since mid-eason. So it would seem the Foothillers would have a tendency to be up-tight again. Meredith says no.

“I don’t think the pressure is on us,” he said. “We already handled the pressure in coming from behind our last two games (against Escondido and San Pasqual). We’ve got an experienced team. Most of these guys have now been through two years of this.”

Grossmont’s opponent at 3:30 p.m. today at the University of San Diego--third-seeded San Diego--also knows pressure. Its past six games, including three in the playoffs, have been must-win. The Cavers had to win their last three regular season games to take the City Central League title. They have won nine of their past 11.

San Diego came back from an 8-0 deficit to defeat Madison, 9-8. It also rebounded from a 4-1 fifth-inning deficit to beat Coronado, 5-4, in the quarterfinals.

The key to Grossmont’s season has been its bats (.367 average) and an underrated pitching staff (2.96 ERA). San Diego (20-7) has won on experience--seven senior starters--and togetherness.

Josh Stepner, San Diego’s top hitter and pitcher--.386 average, seven homers, 7-1 record--said this year’s team has been a happy family compared to last year’s.

“Last year, we had guys sitting on the bench talking about other things--not even thinking about baseball,” Stepner said. “This year, there are no selfish players on the team.”

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Coach Tom Lopez said improvement personally is one reason for San Diego’s turnaround.

“I wasn’t a very good coach last year,” he said. “I had some personal problems, and I let it affect my coaching. I made up my mind to change things this year, and I’ve had my best coaching year.”

Stepner is expected to get the pitching start today against Grossmont’s Dan Lennon (10-1, two saves, 3.25 ERA).

The last time Stepner faced Grossmont, he was knocked around for five runs, but he came back to beat the Foothillers with his bat--hitting a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh that gave San Diego a 6-5 victory in the second game of the Lions Tournament. It was Grossmont’s last loss.

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Grossmont will be without first baseman Jim Earley (.436, 5 homers, 24 RBIs), who broke his foot before the playoffs began, and Lenny Van Every (.414, 14 stolen bases), who was ruled academically ineligible three weeks ago. But outfielder Jason Eckridge (.328), who was suspended for a game after running into Escondido’s catcher, will be back.


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