Point Loma High baseball battling for playoff spot
Published - 05/12/15 - 11:48 AM | 8622 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pointer right-hander Cole van den Helder delivers one of his 113 pitches during his team's 5-4 victory in eight innings last week against Madison. The junior struck out eight Madison batters. / Photo by Scott Hopkins
Pointer right-hander Cole van den Helder delivers one of his 113 pitches during his team's 5-4 victory in eight innings last week against Madison. The junior struck out eight Madison batters. / Photo by Scott Hopkins
To better understand the dilemma faced by Point Loma High School batters in a home baseball game earlier this week, let's take a look at a prominent San Diego Padres pitcher:

The Padres recently signed veteran pitcher James Shields to a four-year contract worth $75 million. Shields currently has a 4-0 record with 55 strikeouts, one behind National League leader Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Shields' fastball has been clocked at 91 to 94 miles per hour.

Tuesday afternoon Pointer batters faced Madison High right-hander Imani Abdullah. The 6-foot 5-inch tall, 205 pound senior, being evaluated by a group of professional scouts armed with radar guns, threw 94 miles per hour fastballs, holding the hosts to two hits in a complete-game victory that ran his record to 6-1, lowering his earned run average to 0.54 and increasing his strikeout total to 93 in 64.1 innings.

Pointer hitters, understandably, had significant difficulty, managing just two hits off Abdullah as the Warhawks took the rubber game of the three-game Western League series by a 4-1 score and also prevented the Pointers from leaping into first place as the league season winds down.

Instead, the Pointers find themselves in a tie for second (13-8 overall, 6-2 in league) with the Warhawks (17-9, 8-2). Madison has only two matches with University City remaining while the Pointers also play the Centurions twice and have one game against La Jolla.

Pointer head coach David Wells is focused on his squad attaining a position in the top four teams (and earning a first-round bye) of San Diego CIF Div. II baseball rankings.

"A league title would be great," Wells said, "but our goal is basically to be ranked in the top four and solidify our playoff spot so we don't have a play-in game. Point Loma hasn't been in the playoffs for such a long time."

Currently, the Pointers stand in sixth place out of 18 Div. II based solely on win-loss record behind San Ysidro, El Capitan, La Jolla, Westview and Francis Parker.

But the talent of the Madison pitcher did not escape his notice.

"That kid threw a tremendous game," Wells noted. "He could have been beat, but we had a few mishaps (referring to three walks by Pointer pitchers) and they came around to score. Other than that, they didn't blow us out with their ace."

Wells urged his team to remain upbeat.

"Our kids have been on a roll and I told them to take today as a learning experience. If you stay hungry and play your game, you don't have to worry about the next guy."

The Pointers' unearned run came in the home half of the sixth inning when sophomore catcher Joe Pasquill reached base on a Warhawk error. Junior designated hitter Seth Urbon then singled, moving Pasquill to third. Pasquill scored on an infield out by junior third baseman Philip Huber.

Pointers beat Warhawks

Huber was also involved in the outcome of last week's 5-4 Pointer victory on the Warhawk diamond when he drove in the winning run in the eighth inning after the teams had battled to a 4-4 tie in the seven-inning regulation game.

The Pointers jumped to a 4-0 first inning lead, with Pasquill and junior second baseman Brady Young driving in runs to go with a two-run double by Huber.

Huber's line for the game showed two hits in four at-bats, with one run scored and three runs batted in.

Picking up the win was junior right-hander Cole van den Helder, who threw 113 pitches over the first seven innings. He yielded four hits and two earned runs, walking three and striking out seven.

When the Pointers scored in the top of the eighth, Wells turned the game over to senior Clay Palmer. The southpaw mowed down the Warhawks in order in the home half to give van den Helder the win and add a save to his own record.

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