La Jolla High School baseball thrives during March tourneys

La Jolla High School varsity baseball team opened the 2015 season by winning the Bully’s East Tournament for the first time in the 11 years the school has competed in the non-league tournament. Bully’s East started March 10, with La Jolla’s Vikings taking win after win (and one loss) to make it to the championship game against Santa Fe Christian, March 21. La Jolla High School defeated Santa Fe Christian, 9-7.

Santa Fe Christian overcame a 5-1 Viking lead by scoring six runs in the fourth inning to make it 7-5. But the Vikings rallied right back in the sixth inning with a two-RBI single by Sean Hofmann and a home run by Thomas Zlatic, bringing the score up to 8-7. James Whelan drove in an insurance run in the seventh to seal the deal at 9-7.

Weston Clark and Tim Holdgrafer were named the tournament’s co-MVPs. Clark had a 1.56 ERA and Holdgrafer hit 421 throughout the tournament with six RBIs and four stolen bases. Zlatic was also commended for his excellent hitting, including two doubles and

four RBIs. Coach Gary Frank praised the Vikings for their “resiliency in

coming back to get the victory after a very good Santa Fe Christian team took the lead.”

The Vikings continued their winning streak into the first half of the March 23-27 City Conference Tournament – defeating Mira Mesa 5-1 and Patrick Henry 6-0, before losing to Scripps Ranch 4-3. The City Conference Tournament resumed April 6, with a Championship game April 11.

The City Conference Tournament is split into the two parts to accommodate the Lions Tournament, “the biggest high school baseball tournament in the country,” said Coach Frank that always occurs the week before Spring Break.

During the March 30-April 2 Lions Tournament, the Vikings defeated Mission Hills 5-0, Birmingham 10-4 and Patrick Henry 2-1. On April 2, La Jolla took on Desert Oasis High School, but lost 10-3.

The Vikings baseball regular season starts 3:30 p.m. Monday April 13 at home against Madison. 750 Nautilus St. Full schedule:

— Howard Frank contributed to this report