Santana baseball is this year’s CIF Cinderella

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To be frank, Santana didn’t have a good regular season. The Sultans went 7-19 (4-8 Grossmont Hills) and were seeded 12 — out of 12 Division I teams — in the CIF San Diego Section Championships.

Now they’re one win away from playing in the final.

“We had it in us the whole time,” junior Brandon Glowacki said. “It was just a matter of finally coming together.”

To be frank, Santana didn’t have a good regular season. The Sultans went 7-19 (4-8 Grossmont Hills) and were seeded 12 — out of 12 Division I teams — in the CIF San Diego Section Championships.

Now they’re one win away from playing in the final.

“We had it in us the whole time,” junior Brandon Glowacki said. “It was just a matter of finally coming together.”

Santana’s 7-6 loss at 4-seed Madison on Tuesday has not turned the carriage into a pumpkin, either. The tournament’s double-elimination means the Sultans and Warhawks play Wednesday to determine which team makes the final.

“We’re just gonna flush this one,” Glowacki said. “We know we can compete with them because we’ve already beaten them.”

Santana beat Madison 3-2 in the first round last Wednesday, one day after winning a play-in game at 5-seed Vista. Saturday, the Sultans upset top-seeded Granite Hills to win their third straight away game. 

Senior Josh Oedewaldt says playing away may be good for the team.

“Honestly, I think we play better on the road,” he said. “We like hitting first.”

Oedewaldt also said he saw some encouraging signs in Tuesday’s loss — after falling behind 7-0, the Sultans went on a six-run rally in the top of the fifth, capped by a three-RBI double from Glowacki.

“That just shows you how we can fight and come back,” Oedewaldt said. “That just shows you the character of the team, we battle no matter what the situation is.”

Head coach Rigoberto Ledezma says Santana’s coaching staff emphasizes recovering from mistakes to limit the damage.

“It’s kind of what we preach,” Ledezma said. “We’re hoping in those situations that somebody will step up and make a big play.”

Still, it is easier said than done. The seven-run deficit was just too much to overcome, and Madison scored five runs in the fourth.

“Today we had a couple mistakes that led to a big inning,” Ledezma said. “You’d like to stay out of those big innings and we didn’t do it today. It kind of cost us.”

The winner of Wednesday’s winner-take-all game at Madison advances to the final, scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at University of San Diego’s Fowler Park.

 

Here is how the rest of East County stacked up in the playoffs:

Helix, the Grossmont Hills champion, exited the Open Division tournament with losses to Cathedral and Eastlake.

Granite Hills entered the Division I tournament as the top-seeded team and beat Bonita Vista in the first round, but was upset by Santana in the second round and eliminated by Madison in the third.

Grossmont lost its first-round game against Carlsbad, but beat Westview and La Jolla Country Day to force a rematch with Carlsbad, which the Foothillers won 9-0 on Tuesday. Grossmont and Carlsbad play again Wednesday, the winner matching up with the winner of Wednesday’s Santana/Madison game.

Christian lost its Division I play-in game against Bonita Vista.

Grossmont Valley champion Valhalla lost its Division II play-in game against Ramona, 6-2.

El Capitan lost in the Division II play-in round against Sage Creek.

Foothills Christian, won its first-round Division IV matchup against Fallbrook, but lost to San Pasqual in the second round and was eliminated by Fallbrook in the third-round rematch.

Monte Vista was eliminated by Kearny in the Division IV play-in round.
El Cajon Valley lost its Division V play-in against Tri-City Christian.

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