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By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

Warriors one seed shy of baseball playoffs


Last updated 6/6/2019 at 12:56pm

The 12 highest seeded Division III baseball teams participated in the CIF playoffs, and Fallbrook High School finished the regular season as the division’s 13th seed.

“I’m disappointed,” Fallbrook coach Pat Walker said of missing the playoffs. “It was one of those seasons where we couldn’t quite click.”

Fallbrook held the 11th seed entering the Warriors’ final three games of the year, but the Warriors lost twice to Escondido High School and once to Mission Vista High School.

“It was a tough finish,” Walker said.

A May 1 home win against Escondido gave the Warriors an 8-4 league record along with an overall mark of 13-12. The victory was the fifth in a row for Fallbrook and provided the Warriors with a winning record for the first time in 2019.

Since 1990 pitchers have been limited to 10 innings a week, defined as 30 outs, so Fallbrook starter Harrison Brown was removed after five innings in case he was needed for subsequent games during the week. Brown allowed a run, three hits and three walks while striking out seven Cougars. Blake Caron threw two shutout innings, allowing two hits and four walks while striking out one.

One of the runs against Escondido was scored by Josue Navarro, who had three singles and a walk in his five plate appearances. Tristan Smith had two hits and scored the other run. Fallbrook’s only run batted in was off the bat of Zach Allegro.

The loss gave Escondido a 4-8 league record, but the Cougars won their final two games against Fallbrook. The May 2 game in Escondido saw the Warriors score three runs in the top of the third to take a 3-0 lead, but the Cougars scored twice in the fifth and twice in the sixth for a 4-2 victory. Allegro pitched a complete game, and three of the four runs he allowed were unearned. Allegro allowed five hits, did not walk a batter and struck out seven in the six innings he pitched.

The May 3 game in Escondido was scoreless until the Cougars scored twice in the sixth for a 2-0 victory. Brady Hoff pitched all six Escondido batting innings and allowed three hits, a walk and a hit batter. Only one of the two runs was earned, and Hoff struck out four. Fallbrook had eight hits with Smith providing singles in all three of his plate appearances.

May 7 was Senior Night for Fallbrook as the Warriors closed out league play – and their season – at home against Mission Vista. The Timberwolves entered the game with a 3-11 league record. The game was scoreless through eight innings. Mission Vista scored four times in the top of the ninth, including two runs from Billy Schassberger’s second double of the game. Caron drove in Grant Knox in the bottom of the ninth, but Mission Vista ended the game on the preferred end of the 4-1 score.

Brown threw the first six innings and concluded his high school career with six shutout frames. The senior allowed three hits and two walks while striking out four. Allegro allowed three hits and three walks in his three innings, and only one of the four runs he allowed was earned. Allegro struck out four Timberwolves in the season finale. Caron, Knox, Allegro and Hoff had Fallbrook’s four hits.

“It’s baseball. We played hard all the games,” Walker said of the Warriors’ losses in their final three games. “We really played well.”

Seven of the 10 runs the Warriors allowed in those three losses were unearned.

“Our pitchers threw well,” Walker said.

The losses finalized Fallbrook’s overall record at 13-15. The 8-7 Valley League record was worth third place in the final six-team standings with a 9-6 record giving San Pasqual second place and Escondido posting a 7-8 mark for fourth place.

“I’m proud that they fought,” Walker said.

Fallbrook entered Valley League play with a 4-6 record. The Lions Tournament, in which the Warriors won one of three games, took place between league games.

“We had to learn to put the pieces together,” Walker said. “Just proud of how they battled.”


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