El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Mary York

Summers do not mean vacation for everyone. San Diego’s football programs have commenced summer session training and East County schools are doing their part to keep their teams in shape for a competitive season come the new school year.

Games are held all summer, all over the county. On Friday, July 7, two-dozen teams rolled into Southwestern College in Chula Vista for a two-day tournament, with Grossmont Conference schools like Helix, Valhalla, and El Capitan ready to scope out the competition.

Slender fingers pick at the strings on her guitar as she pulls out the trusty crowd favorite, tossing back her tangled mane of golden hair, as her rich earthy voice ripples through the heat of the afternoon, singing the first weeping words of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”

Like the classic boyhood stories of baseball underdogs becoming victors, the Cajon De Oro (CDO) Little League’s very own Dodgers team rose from obscurity to take the District 41 Tournament of Champions (TOC) President’s Cup.

Majors Dodgers manager and coach TJ Flannery said his team had a surprisingly good season.

Baseball is a family affair. And while San Diegans of all ages find themselves enjoying Padres games or the local high school playoff match, most baseball lovers find their beginnings on a Little League field.

That is why Cajon De Oro Little League’s new T-ball field is such an exciting addition to the community, said Cory Thiem, a board member of CDO. A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new field took place on June 10 and christened the beginning of the next generation of Little Leaguers.

It has been a good year for East County baseball. Actually, most coaches will say every year is a good year for this particular region of San Diego, but this spring they knocked it out of the ballpark. 

On May 29, 2017, the Grossmont Griffins made San Diego history by being the first community college in the county to win the California state championship. It is a victory that has been 67 years in the making, with other community colleges like Southwestern and Palomar coming close but never quite closing the deal. 

School is winding down, students are heading into finals and prom nights and graduations, and that means the last few fiery games of baseball are being played around San Diego County.

Playoffs have been fierce this season, but East County is holding its own with five teams heading into the fourth-round next week. Helix (No. 7) will play Cathedral Catholic (No. 2) in the Open Division on Tuesday, May 30, 2017. The Highlanders, who finished at the top of the Grossmont Hills league this season, were 9-3 in league and are 21-10 overall.

If there is a roar coming from East County this week, it is the sound of battle as the fiercest of Grossmont conference’s softball teams fight their way towards the CIF championship. 

East County has always been a force to be reckoned with on the softball diamond, but this year they are leaving their dominance undisputed as they take over playoffs. 

The rise and fall of the Grossmont boy’s volleyball playoff campaign embodies what is best loved of high school athletics: high hopes, a lot of heart, and the refusal to quit. 

Statistically, Grossmont should not have made it out of round one. The 11-seed Division-II team hit Montgomery, 6 seed, on Wednesday night, May 10, 2017, and simply refused to say ‘die.’ 

The Sultans must have been sleeping when El Capitan’s Vaqueros scored the first point in the first inning of their game at Santana on Friday, May 5, 2017. But when the yellow-jerseyed runner crossed the chalky home plate and a bright red number one blinked on the “guest” side of the scoreboard, the Sultans woke up. Refusing to allow the Vaqueros another run, Santana claimed the ‘W’, 13-1.

Dozens of homegrown cowboys and cowgirls lined the soft, thick dirt of Lakeside’s rodeo on Friday evening, April 28 for the beginning of three days and five performances decked in silver brimmed hats and sitting proudly on their wooden-stick horses. Yes, the children’s stick-horse race on the opening night of Lakeside’s 53 Annual Rodeo was not just an entertainment highlight, but a symbol of why the rodeo even exists.