East County teams sew up playoff berths in Hilltop Softball Tournament

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The finals of this year’s Hilltop High School softball invitational tournament are scheduled April 28 at Chula Vista High School. Three East County teams have already reserved spots, with a fourth pending.

The tournament was originally scheduled to end last weekend.

The finals of this year’s Hilltop High School softball invitational tournament are scheduled April 28 at Chula Vista High School. Three East County teams have already reserved spots, with a fourth pending.

The tournament was originally scheduled to end last weekend.

“We had to move everything back because of the rains,” Hilltop coach Juan Reyes explained. “This last weekend we finished up pool play. We had to schedule the finals on April 28 because some of the teams had commitments in other tournaments.”

Sixteen teams entered in this year’s tournament. Eight teams advance to the playoff round.

Six of those eight playoff qualifiers have already been decided based on the results of pool play.

West Hills, Santana and Granite Hills have all secured playoff berths, joining Bonita Vista, Otay Ranch and Scripps Ranch high schools.

Clairemont, Hilltop and El Capitan are battling for the final two playoff berths. Hilltop will host Clairemont on Friday, March 30, in a rescheduled pool game to determine which teams advance.

Hilltop finished runner-up to Steele Canyon in last year’s championship game. 

Reyes said the quality of this year’s Hilltop tournament is top notch.

“We have some better teams (participating) this year,” the Hilltop coach said. “We’ve gotten several of the top teams in East County to come down. Santana is a top-10 team and Granite Hills could be a top-10 team by the end of the season.”

“Bonita Vista is an Open Division team. Clairemont is the surprise team after beating Mater Dei Catholic in the Cougar Classic. El Capitan will probably finish high in Division III.”

Santana is off to a 9-2 start to the current spring season.

In tournament games on Saturday, March 24:

•West Hills’ Ashleigh Hartwig slammed three home runs, including a grand slam, to account to 10 RBI in a 27-1 win over Montgomery. The Wolf Pack set a new section record with eight home runs in the game.

•Later in the day, Santana received three RBI each from Lakaila Aquinignoc-David and Nicole Madrigal in a 13-1 win over West Hills. Both players recorded inside the park home runs. Krysten Service scored three runs in the game for the Sultans.

•Hayley Johnson and Bailey Wallace each stroked triples in Granite Hills’ 11-0 win over Southwest San Diego. Wallace drove in three runs in a 6-0 win over Otay Ranch later in the day.

•El Capitan pounded out 16 hits in its 15-3 win over San Diego. Brooklyn Fukushima and Hannah Davis each drove in three runs while Alexa Williams, Kylie Mead and Taylor North each had two RBI.

All Hilltop tournament playoff games will take place on April 28. Quarterfinals are scheduled at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., followed by semifinals at 1 p.m. The championship game is scheduled at 3 p.m.

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