Record-setting Pointer baseball season comes to abrupt end
by SCOTT HOPKINS
Published - 05/20/19 - 08:28 AM | 1168 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pointer second baseman Duce Gourson relays the ball to first base after putting an Otay Ranch runner out. The Pointers' 6-1 victory was to be their last of the season. / Photo by Scott Hopkins
Pointer second baseman Duce Gourson relays the ball to first base after putting an Otay Ranch runner out. The Pointers' 6-1 victory was to be their last of the season. / Photo by Scott Hopkins
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There were looks of shock and disbelief on the faces of Point Loma High's baseball players, excruciating expressions as their last batter was unable to beat out an infield grounder and the realization hit hard.

Their season was over.

On a brutal Saturday afternoon last week known as "Elimination Saturday," the Pointers were one of 12 losers' bracket teams ousted from CIF divisional playoffs in the double-elimination tournament.

Carlsbad's Div. II No. 3 seeded Sage Creek ended the No. 2 seeded Pointers' multiple record-setting year (24-6-2) with a hard-fought 7-6 win on David Wells Field.

The Pointers found themselves in the lower bracket following a tough 6-4 home loss to Bonita Vista the day before, ending their record 20-game unbeaten streak and forcing them to take the field 17 hours later against Sage Creek who lost May 15 to Bonita Vista 7-3.

For prep teams used to playing two games in a week, this playoff format puts a severe strain on teams' pitchers, who are subject to rest day limits and pitch counts.

Second starter Hunter Otjen threw only 74 pitches in a 6-1 complete-game win over Otay Ranch in the first round on Wednesday.

Top starter Austin Curtice was unavailable after running his pitch count to 108 and going the distance in Friday's loss that led to the Pointers' Saturday afternoon elimination.

Head coach Jeff Solis named sophomore Blake Ledbetter, used in relief all season, to start against Sage Creek. He was touched for three earned runs in 2.1 innings.

When Hunter Greif entered in relief it was his first appearance in a month. He gave up only one hit and no runs during his 1.2 inning stint.

Otjen was eligible on a limited basis and gave up a run on three hits in one inning while striking out the side.

Hunter Hargett then allowed two runs on two hits in just 2/3 inning. Kevin White then pitched the final 1/3 of the inning with Sage Creek scoring again on three more hits.

When senior Sam Sanford took the mound to pitch a perfect final (seventh) inning, it was only his third appearance of the season and first in a month yet he was the only one of six Pointer hurlers to hold Sage Creek hitless.

The big blow for the Pointers was a bases-loaded double by Anthony Hall that scored three of his four RBI's for the game. Hall is drawing interest from pro scouts.

The game put a momentary damper on what was an incredible Pointer season where the team's 24 victories, set a school record for a season according to former Pointer standout player and coach David Camara.

The team's 20-game unbeaten streak included an Eastern League title (11-0-1) and a Div. 6A championship in the recent Lions' Tournament.

For senior team captain Ben Berry, the team's accomplishments are a peek at things to come.

"It was definitely a winning season for the Point Loma Pointers," Berry said as he shouldered his equipment bag for the last time. "It's easy to look back on what you've done but I'm excited to see what this team is going to do in years to come. It's a young base, they've got the right mindset and they're ready to win."

Berry will be taking a year off before entering the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as a member of the Class of 2024.

Solis, while disappointed with the two playoff losses, praised his team.

"This group of kids is amazing," Solis said. "They are a super great bunch of young men who also happen to be excellent baseball players. They came together mid-season, gelled and ended up breaking the record for the most wins ever at Point Loma High School.  It was fun to watch and I feel blessed to have been their coach."

"We have a lot of good, young kids coming back next year, some of them starters, and we'll be bigger, stronger and faster, Solis noted. "Our freshman (20-2) and junior varsity (20-3) teams were two of the best I've seen since I've been here. And I hear we've got some good freshmen coming in."

"I'm already looking forward to next year!" Solis said.

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