U-T Coverage of CIF Baseball

Mavericks’ slump could be history

BY JOHN MAFFEI

LA MESA

After a 13-3 start to the season and being ranked No. 1 in the county, the last six weeks have been a 3-10 nightmare of missed opportunities and close losses for La Costa Canyon.

The start, however, was good enough to get the Mavericks into the San Diego Section Open Division baseball playoffs.

Wednesday, LCC overcame four errors as well as leaving eight runners in scoring position to edge Helix 4-3 in a first-round game.

One of LCC’s losses in that stretch was 2-1 to Helix.

La Costa Canyon (17-13), seeded No. 7 in the eight-team field, advances to play Poway on Friday in the double-elimination playoffs. Helix (18-12), seeded No. 2, will play an elimination game against Scripps Ranch on Friday.

“Finally! We got the monkey off our backs,” said LCC coach Justin Machado. “I think we had forgotten how to win.

“We tried to give the game away, but we were able to get some runs and hang on.”

The Mavericks scored a pair in the top of the first with Max Stanley’s single and a sacrifice fly by Garrett Bevacqua driving in runs.

Helix answered in the bottom of the inning when Alonzo Richardson singled and scored on a wild pitch.

LCC scored a run in the fourth on an RBI double by Spencer Jones, back from an elbow fracture, and added one in the fifth when Austin Machado singled, went to second on a passed ball, third on a wild pitch and scored on a Nick Hays sacrifice fly.

Helix got close with a pair of runs in the sixth thanks to a pair of LCC errors.

Mavericks senior pitcher Ross Goldschlag was up to the task in the bottom of the seventh, retiring the top of the Helix batting order on fly balls.

Goldschlag, who went the distance to win his seventh game, allowed just three hits, walked two and struck out four.

None of Helix’s three runs were earned.

“These are the kind of games I like to pitch,” Goldschlag said. “Helix is a really good-hitting team. We knew playing them would be a dogfight.

“When they got the two runs in the sixth, the coaches came to me and said it was my game to finish. They said to go out and get the job done.

“I had some success against the top of their lineup (allowing just two hits in 11 at-bats), so I was confident I could get the job done.”

Goldschlag admitted he had help, though.

In times of trouble, he goes over Missy Elliott songs in his mind, especially “Let It Bump.”

“That’s my go-to song,” Goldschlag said.

He used a fastball, which sits at 82-84 mph, as well as a curve and slider to get 14 Helix hitters on flyballs or popups.

“It was really important to get a lead, get a couple of runs in the first,” Goldschlag said. “We play well with a lead.

“It took a lot of pressure off.”

john.maffei@sduniontribune.com

by DC