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High School Baseball Roundup Monte Vista Brings Helix Back to Earth

JIM LINDGREN. "High School Baseball Roundup
Monte Vista Brings Helix Back to Earth :[San Diego County
Edition]. " Los Angeles Times (pre-1997
  [Los Angeles, Calif.] 4 
May 1989,11B. Los Angeles

Copyright, The Times Mirror Company; Los
Angeles Times 1989all Rights reserved)

Helix High, the defending San Diego Section 3-A champion, had
not lost a league baseball game in two years. The streak had
reached 21 consecutive league victories, including the final game
in 1987, 16 in a row in ’88 and the first four this season.

But Monte Vista, who had already contributed three losses to the
streak, ended it Wednesday with a 3-2 victory behind the five-hit
pitching of Vern Mullis and Ernie Reyes.

"I knew it would end some time this season," said Jerry
Schniepp, Helix’s coach. "There are just too many good teams in
this league."

One is Monte Vista, which improved to 14-6-2 and 3-3 in the
tough Grossmont 3-A League. No. 6 Helix fell to 16-5, 4-1 and into
a first-place tie with El Capitan. Granite Hills, which lost Monday
to Monte Vista, 4-3, is fourth.

"Our No. 1 goal all year long has been to make it to the
playoffs," said Coach Rob Phillips, who took over a 5-21 program
two years ago, improved it to 12-15 last year and has the Monarchs
thinking playoffs this season.

The reason for that turnaround according to Mullis is "Coach
Phillips and Coach (Mark) Smelko believing in us and believing we
could win."

Wednesday, they made believers of Helix.

Mullis (3-3) pitched six strong innings, allowing five hits and
two runs before giving way to Reyes in the seventh. Reyes had two
strikeouts in a one-two-three seventh to earn his second save.

The Monarchs, who were stifled by Rob Ippolito (6-2) through
three innings, finally got to the junior right-hander in the
fourth. Mullis led off the inning with a ground-rule double to
left. Chris Cone drove him home with a slicing double down the
right-field line, and Brian Paul scored Cone with a double to right

Monte Vista got its other run one inning later. With two outs,
Steve Dietz walked, Mullis was hit by a pitch, and Cone had an
infield single to load the bases. Ippolito then walked Paul to
force home Dietz.

Helix got off to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Rich Haar
drove home Jason Ledford, who had singled, with a double to right
center. In the sixth, Ledford scored on Ippolito’s sacrifice fly to

In between, Mullis allowed just one hit and received some
exceptional defensive help. One play in particular was a diving
catch by right fielder Darrin Rucker on a third-inning line drive
by Ledford that appeared headed for the gap.

"Rucker making that catch was the turning point of the game,"
said Mullis. Byline: JIM LINDGREN

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