Varsity Upset Victory of 4th Ranked Vista

The Aztec Classic Tournament Game on March 9th pitted the Grossmont Foothillers Varsity squad against the 4th nationally-ranked Vista Panthers. It was anticipated to be a tough road game for the Foothillers and they were looking forward to the challenge coning off their first win of 2013 against Mater Dei earlier in the week. Originally scheduled to be played at Mira Mesa High School, on neutral turf, the visiting Foothillers thought they would have a chance. However, with the inclement weather the last few days, the venue was changed to Vista’s home field and start time delayed from 1:30 to 2: 30. Adding to the challenge of facing Vista at home, the Panthers were throwing their ace starter Billy Roth, a D-I athlete going to Arizona next year. Although these obstacles may have had some of the fans worried, it proved to be of no concern for the players.

The Foothillers got off to a great start and were able to go on the offensive attack against Roth by scoring 5 times in the first two innings and knocking him out of the game. After allowing a couple of unearned runs, the Foothillers lead most of the game 5-2.  The Vista reliever came in and kept the Foothillers attack at bay for most of the remainder of the game. Meanwhile Vista eked out another run making the score 5-3 going into the last inning. With only 3 outs to go in the bottom of the 7th, through a series of walks, hits and errors, the Foothillers opened the door for Vista and allowed them to tie the game 5-5. After no scoring by either team in the 8th inning, in the 9th the flood gates opened for the Foothillers. With a lead off single by Peyton Lindsay, that seemed to spark the team, and a superb bunt by Noah Buchanan for an infield single, the Foothillers opened up the attack. With an intentional walk to Nico Maida to load the bases, Derek Rustich singled home a run followed by a 3-run scoring double by Hunter Stratton capped off the 5-run 9th inning. JT Barnes in relief held the Panthers to no runs in the 8th and 9th, sealing the victory for the Foothillers and earning him his 1st win of the season.