After rough start El Cap’s Lady Vaqueros pitch to retain division title

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Lakeside – “What happens in Vegas,” does not stay in Vegas for the El Capitan High School softball team, continuing its return to San Diego County.

Following a miserable 0-6 start to the season, the defending CIF Division III champion Vaqueros are flying high, winners in 13 of their last 14 starts, including all five at last week’s Charger Invitational at Big League Dreams Las Vegas Sports Park.

Lakeside – “What happens in Vegas,” does not stay in Vegas for the El Capitan High School softball team, continuing its return to San Diego County.

Following a miserable 0-6 start to the season, the defending CIF Division III champion Vaqueros are flying high, winners in 13 of their last 14 starts, including all five at last week’s Charger Invitational at Big League Dreams Las Vegas Sports Park.

“Nothing crazy happened to us when we were in Vegas, but it was exciting,” said El Capitan pitcher Delanie Gourley. “And it was the first time out school ever won the tournament’s Gold bracket. We came out ready to play.”

With the bull’s-eye firmly implanted, the Vaqueros now need another victory this afternoon to gain a berth in Friday’s championship of the Grossmont Conference Tournament. They enter the day battling defending champion Santana for the title game berth among Grossmont Valley League schools.

In a pair of 3:30 p.m. starts, Santana closes pool play by hosting Helix, while El Capitan is headed on the road to meet Valhalla, a team they defeated in the Charger semifinals.

“It’s kind of funny that we played Valhalla so far away from home, and now we’re meeting them again,” said Gourley. “We came out ready to play them, so I’m sure they’ll be even more ready to play us again.”
El Capitan (14-7) downed the Norsemen in the semis, then Wilmington-Banning in the title contest, both by 4-1 counts.

A year ago, an average El Capitan ballclub was performing at expectations with a .500 record.
“We went into Las Vegas not playing well at all,” added Gourley. “But then out team figured it out and eventually won CIF.”

Of course, fielding the University of Florida bound senior in the pitching circle helps. Gourley pitched in four of the five contests, spinning a no-hitter, a pair of 1-hitters and a 3-hitter — five total hits allowed in four complete-game victories. Katie Carmichael collected the other pitching win.

Along the way in her 23 innings pitched, Gourley posted an amazing 55 strikeouts, increasing her CIF San Diego Section career record to 1,178 Ks. When she reaches the 1,300 plateau, the left-hander will rank among the top 10 strikeout artists in California state history according to the CalHiSports record book.
The Vaqueros, including Gourley, also discovered their collective bats while in southern Nevada.

“I was in a hitting clump, too,” Gourley said. “So I told coach (Joe Cota) that I was going to get a hit on my next at-bat, no matter where it goes.”

Gourley ended up hitting one of her two home runs during the 2-day event, a shot deep over the right-center field fence.

“The way things were going with my bat, I was surprised I got dinner,” she said.
Hosted by the winner among four Grossmont Hills League schools, the Grossmont Conference Tournament finale is slated for Friday at 3:30 p.m.

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