© East County Sports.com
SAN DIEGO (4-30-11) — The Helix baseball team boasts one of the top records – 17-5 – in the San Diego CIF, yet the Highlanders are no better than a long shot to capture the Grossmont Hills League championship.
With eight games remaining in the regular season, the No. 7 ranked Highlanders trail front-running No. 8 ranked Grossmont by three games despite having beaten the Foothillers in 2 out of 3 meetings.
How frustrating is that?
However, these teams will meet one more time, on May 9th at Grossmont.
In the meantime, senior stalwart JAKE REED stepped to the forefront to help curb the Highlanders’ downward spiral by spinning a complete-game three-hitter in a 1-0 GHL victory over Steele Canyon Friday (Apr. 29) at Petco Park.
“(Steele Canyon) crushed some balls deep into the outfield but our guys (KACY SMITH) and (RASHAD HARLIN) ran them down,” said Reed, who rolled his record to 6-0 and lowered his ERA to 0.34. “Our defense was running under those balls in the big gap and making the plays.”
Reed finished with seven strikeouts and two walks and clearly would have been in jeopardy had the game been played on a high school diamond rather then the home of the San Diego Padres.
“They smoked some balls,” said Reed. “I said thank God we’re playing at Petco.”
“Playing here is so electric,” said Helix center fielder Smith. “Two or three of the balls that were hit my direction would probably have been home runs on a high school field. But I just kept running, hoping I’d be able to get a glove on them, and I was able to do that.”
Helix right fielder Harlin made a brilliant catch to take a potential double away from Steele Canyon ’s JESSE JENNER in the 6th inning.
“Playing in a big ballpark like this gives you an opportunity to actually chase down a fly ball,” said Harlin, who drove in the only run of the game on a ground ball in the 1st inning. “It’s nice to be in the outfield and not have to worry about getting bad hops. I like playing on a big field.”
That’s why Harlin is considered a prime prospect in the June draft.
Helix catcher DIEGO REYNOSO admitted that the Highlanders’ pitching approach was a lot different playing in a major league stadium than a high school field.
“Because this is a bigger field we went after guys mostly with fastballs,” said Reynoso, whose 1st inning single helped Helix score the only run of the game.
Helix pitching coach BRIAN SCHROEDER noted that 70 percent of Reed’s pitches were fastballs, which is higher than normal.
“Reed has done a good job of cleaning up his mechanics,” Schroeder said. “He has control of the strike zone instead of command in the strike zone. Rather than just knowing it’s going to be a strike, now he knows where it’s going inside the strike zone. That’s been all the difference for him.”
Steele Canyon coach TODD SNYDER was pleased that he was able to insert 17 players into the game at the major league site.
“Because this was such a special deal, my game plan was to play as many players as I could,” said Snyder. “But at the same time I have to ask myself if I only played nine guys, does it change the outcome of the game.”
The Cougars (11-9, 3-4) had their chances but produced only three hits.
“Going against Jake Reed, who will probably be a Top 5 round draft pick, is going to be tough. We all know that,” Snyder said. “But I like to think if we played on our field or at Helix that we would have had three or four home runs.”
Despite the defeat Snyder found positive vibes.
“Today was a big momentum builder for us,” he said. “It was tough to lose 1-0, but I believe by playing 17 players we built the confidence of our team and left with an emotional high. I hope that carries over to the rest of our season.”
“There’s no way you can explain it – I mean there’s nothing you can put in words to tell people what an amazing experience it was to play here,” Reed said of Petco Park.