Gabe Camacho deals as La Costa Canyon outlasts Torrey Pines, sets sights on No. 1 seed in Open Division playoffs


Gabe Camacho is a dominating pitcher, a strikeout-an-inning left-hander.

Friday, with the North County Coast League title on the line, Camacho struck out just three Torrey Pines hitters, but got 11 ground ball outs as La Costa Canyon edged the Falcons 5-3.

“I have a great defense, and this was one of those games where I let my defense do the work,” said Camacho, who improved to 5-2 and top-ranked La Costa Canyon went to 20-5 overall and 10-4 in the league.

With the wind blowing in off the ocean at Torrey Pines, cutting fly balls in half, LCC center fielder James Theodore ran down several balls.

Third baseman Brady Petit made a highlight play in the second inning and started an around-the-horn double play in the seventh.

Camacho struck out the next batter to end the game and clinch the win, at least a co-championship in the league and probably the No. 1 seed in when the Open Division pairings are announced next Saturday.

Torrey Pines is ranked No. 3 in the county and is the back-to-back league champions. The Falcons, who are 18-6, 9-5, won a Southern California Regional Championship last season.

There is one more league game for both teams.

LCC, which hasn’t won a league championship since 2017, plays San Marcos (10-14, 4-10). Torrey Pines plays Rancho Bernardo (17-7, 8-6).

“This is a really nice win,” said LCC coach Justin Machado. “Torrey Pines battles. Now we face a dangerous San Marcos team, so we have to guard against a letdown.”

Camacho, who hits second in the LCC lineup, and had a pair of singles Friday, said there will be no letdown.

“San Marcos might beat us, but it won’t be because we don’t respect them,” said Camacho, who is headed to the University of the Pacific. “San Marcos is playing really well right now. We’re a confident team, but not a cocky team.”

Fly balls at Torrey Pines carry well to left field, but die in center and right.

“So I worked away to the right-handed hitters and in to the lefties,” Camacho said.

“I had a good change up and slider, moved the ball around, tried to change their eye level.”

Torrey Pines coach Tommy Simis said the emotion of Senior Day and a big crowd might have had something to do with the loss.

The Falcons committed three errors, leading to three unearned runs.

And another run scored on a balk.

“That wasn’t us,” Simis said. “Too many mistakes — mental and physical.

“It certainly wasn’t clean. Senior Day may have had something to do with that. The guys so badly wanted to win.”

One highlight for Torrey Pines was junior right-hander Colin Christensen. Called up from the JV team, he worked 4 2/3 innings, allowing only an unearned run as his 53 mph slider had the LCC hitters guessing.

“Couldn’t be more proud of Colin,” Simis said. “First varsity appearance and he gave us a chance to win.

“He may get another shot in the playoffs.”