Yucaipa’s deep pitching, hitting leads to another CBL title; CIF championship run looms

Yucaipa High School’s Tyson Heaton fires a strike in the fourth.

Junior pitcher Bradley Heacock followed the lead of senior aces Tyson Heaton, Julian Alvarez, and Cody Westphal as the Yucaipa High School baseball team defended its Citrus Belt League championship at Cajon last Thursday. Heacock limited Cajon to four hits, struck out nine in six scoreless innings as America’s No. 8 ranked team defeated the Cowboys 10-1. The Thunderbirds totaled 15 hits, improving to 21-4 and 11-2 in CBL. It was Yucaipa’s 10th straight win. Anthony Gibbons went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Heaton and Joseph Lomeli both had two hits and two RBI. Danny Garcia went 3-for-3. Four days earlier Heacock yielded one earned run in six innings in a 12-5 nonleague win over Murrieta Valley.

Heaton set up Yucaipa’s title run by hurling three consecutive shutouts including a perfect game. Named by sports writers as 2018 player-of-the-year, Heaton improved to 9-0 with a 1.12 ERA, with a total of five shutouts and six complete games. His 30 career wins surpassed Johnny Torres’ YHS all-time mark set 20 years ago. Yucaipa’s No. 2 starter, left-hander Alvarez, notched league wins over Redlands and Redlands East Valley to improve to 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA. Westphal has been effective all season, his latest came when he threw six shutout innings in a 5-1 win over Murrieta Valley. Catcher Michael Carpentier leads the Thunderbirds with a .403 batting average. The Major League prospect is tied for a team-high 22 RBIs with Jordan Andrade, who owns a .387 batting average.

Likewise, the Mesa Grande Academy baseball team in Calimesa is starting to regain its winning ways. The small Division 7 school had won only two games in the past three years, but has improved to 10-2 and is in second place in Victory League at 8-2. First-year coach Travis Johnson has six freshmen on his 12-man roster, led by pitcher Tyler Soren who has a 5-1 record to go with a batting average over .400. Sophomore Walker Johnson leads the team in most offensive categories and is 3-1 on the mound.

Senior Julian Parks gives the team a good defensive catcher who can hit for power. Senior team leaders Joe Herling and Chace Nelson have stayed with the team through lean years and play an important role as middle infielders.

The MGA softball team has forfeited the rest of its season after losing its first 13 games. The Cardinals were Victory League champions last season and not long ago were the CIF champions. MGA athletic director Justin Serns said the decision was a result of a few events. All-league pitcher K.D. Reynolds moved to Florida and was hard to replace. Serns indicated that poor grades and discipline contributed.

“We’ll sort it all out and get ready for next year,” said Serns.

The YHS softball team’s bid to win an eighth straight CBL title is in jeopardy after a 2-1 loss at Redlands and a 3-1 loss at Carter. YHS almost assured itself of playing in the postseason with an 11-0 win over REV two weeks ago. YHS is 6-2 in league, one game behind first place Redlands with two regular season games remaining.

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