HS Baseball: The race for Playoff Spots in the Southwestern league intensifies – Bears and Wolfpack take control as Nighthawks, Broncos, Rams and Pumas continue to battle

With two weeks left in the regular season, Temecula Valley and Great oak still find themselves on top of the leader board, but the fact that they face each other this week, well that means interesting things could be brewing in the backs of the minds of the teams looking up at them. Buckle up your seat belts and hold on for the ride as these next two weeks could be just as interesting as the last two. Here is a look at what happened over the past week in the Southwestern league.

  • Vista Murrieta – 1 : Murrieta Valley – 0
  • Vista Murrieta – 6 : Murrieta Valley – 5

Vista Murrieta’s senior pitcher, JT McLellan, was almost un-hittable in last Tuesday’s contest as he shut down the mighty Nighthawk offense and allowed only one hit in their 1-0. It was a clutch win as the Broncos are back in the playoff race as the season winds down. Vista Murrieta had seven hits in the contest but scored just once in the fifth inning. It was all Vista Murrieta needed as Mclellan cruised past the Nighthawks in the final three innings for the win.

McLellan was the offensive star of the game as well. He was responsible for the lone Bronco score when he singled in teammate Jack Moberg in the fifth. Benny Blackwell had two hits for the Broncos.

On Thursday, the Broncos beat Murrieta Valley for the second time, beating the nighthawks 6-5 as they improved to 16-6 overall and clawed back into a tie for third place in the Southwestern League with a 6-5 record. Vista Murrieta scored four runs in the second and two more in the fourth. The Nighthawks put one on the scoreboard in the third and rallied for four more in the sixth to pull within one run and were threatening.

The Bronco’s Ian Nowak pitched two scoreless innings to shut down the Nighthawks and get the save for Vista Murrieta. He also drove in two runs and scored once. Coltin Gerhart tripled and knocked in three runs for the Broncos. Alex Jaques also had an RBI in the game. Brandon Nelson picked up the victory for Vista Murrieta.

Cody Martin was 2-for-4, Dominic Morace 2-for-3, James Schmidt 2-for-2 and Aaron Shackelford went 2-for-3 for the Nighthawks. Schmidt and Shackelford doubled. Ben Mora was the losing pitcher.

Vista Murrieta will take on Murrieta Mesa this week as the Rams look to try to spoil things for the Broncos. Game Times are at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.

  • Chaparral – 6 : Great Oak – 5
  • Great Oak – 4 : Chaparral – 3

Last Tuesday the Pumas beat the Wolfpack for the second time this season to dim Great Oak’s hopes of staying in the race for first place in the Southwestern League.

Chaparral went all out in the win against the Wolfpack. The Game was a real nail biter as Chaparral battled back time and again against Great Oak. Trailing 4-3 in their last at bat, the Pumas came from behind in the seventh to tie and send the game into extra innings.

The Wolfpack came back and scored the potential winning run in the ninth but Chaparral clawed back once again to tie the game. The Pumas had 14 hits in the game and scored in the 10th inning to win the game and beat the Wolfpack on their turf, 6-5.

On Thursday the Pumas were at home and couldn’t put much together against Great Oak starter, Senior Brad Wegman, who got the win and pitched 4 scoreless innings before giving up 3 runs in the 5th as the Pumas bats came to life late in the game.

Great Oak (17-6, 7-4) would score it’s only runs of the game on a pair of two run home runs by Junior Mitch Hayes, which plated Eli Lingos in both trips.

Lingos would pick up the save on the mound for the Wolfpack, helping them avoid the sweep from Chaparral as he shut down the Pumas by getting the last 6 outs on 17 pitches.

Chaparral is now 10-12 overall and 3-8 in league and face Murrieta Valley this week. Great Oak is all alone in second place and face league leading Temecula Valley this week, which is sure to pack the stands at both fields. Game times are at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.

  • Temecula Valley – 5 : Murrieta Mesa – 4
  • Temecula Valley – 6 : Murrieta Mesa – 0

The Golden Bears managed to sweep the Murrieta Mesa Rams in all 3 games they played this season, but not without a fight as two out of the three games they played against each other, Temecula Valley only beat the Rams by 1 run.

Last Thursday the squad from Temecula put senior Brandon Koch on the mound, and with the Boras Classic State Championships on the Horizon, the Bears seemed to be the most focused they had been all year. Koch posted a one hitter through five innings to shut out the Rams and senior Matt Ferris and junior Isaiah Moten combined to throw a shutout inning apiece as they helped Temecula Valley improve to 17-4 overall.

The Golden Bears scored once in the first inning and then exploded for five more runs in the third to take a 6-0 lead. Kyle Plantier was 2-for-3 with an RBI and scored twice for TVHS. AJ Sawyer doubled, scored, and had two RBIs while Alec Green knocked in two for the Golden Bears.

Koch was named Player of the Game by Coach Tony Nobiensky. Temecula Valley takes a commanding lead in the Southwestern League with a 8-3 record with the victory and though they traveled to the University of Pacific this past Saturday and lost 6-1 to Elk Grove in the Boras State Championships, they are back in the saddle this week to take on Great Oak twice this week to wrap up a 3 game series on the year. Game times are at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.

  • Southwestern League Standings

Team – League – Overall

Temecula Valley – (8-3, 17- 4)

Great Oak – (7-4, 17- 6)

Murrieta Valley – (6-5, 16- 6)

Vista Murrieta – (6-5, 14- 9)

Murrieta Mesa – (3-8, 8-14)

Chaparral – (3-8, 10-12)

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