East County Sports

Top-flight Broncos topple Eagles for now



By Bill Dickens
© East County Sports.com

CHULA VISTA (3-20-16) — The winner of Saturday’s (Mar. 19) Hilltop-Lolita’s Tournament Championship could arguably stake ownership to the No. 1 ranking in the San Diego Section’s baseball ratings.

If such is the case, Rancho Bernardo – by virtue of a 4-1 victory over the Granite Hills Eagles at Hilltop – could lay claim to the section’s top spot.

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Granite Hills’ Dillon Shrum covers first during the Eagles’ tournament game with Rancho Bernardo on Saturday.

Right now this is pure conjecture as the next poll will not be published until after next week’s 65th Annual Lions Tournament, which begins on Monday.

Granite Hills (4-2) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning as ANDREW BROWN singled and advanced to second with two outs. After a walk to TREVOR HAZELHURST, BLAKE ST. CLAIR slashed a sharp ground ball to second base that the Broncos booted for an error, allowing Brown to score.

Granite Hills would not collect another hit until St. Clair singled in the sixth inning, but was stranded at third base. He would become one of the Eagles’ 10 runners left on base.

“We certainly had a bunch of scoring opportunities,” said Granite Hills coach JAMES DAVIS. “But we couldn’t get the key hit.”

The Eagles’ second-best chance to score came in the bottom of the seventh inning when DILLAN SHRUM hammered a deep fly ball to left field.

“I thought it was going out but the wind blows in down there, left to right,” said Davis.

Shrum was modest in his evaluation.

“I didn’t get all of it,” said Shrum who has three home runs on the season. “I hit the ball a little bit closer to the handle than I wanted to and that’s why I was sure it was going to be caught.”

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Rancho Bernardo plates a run during Saturday’s game against Granite Hills.

In addition to his hitting, Shrum was a gem on the hill. He allowed one earned run and five hits over 6 1/3 innings while striking out four and walking three.

But most of the damage came in the third inning, when the Broncos tied the game on a triple by Mason Pelio and a base hit by Nick Coast.

At that point the Granite Hills defense committed one key error, two wild pitches and a hit batter. Shrum quickly regained his poise to blank the Broncos in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

Reliever JOSH VERDON ended the game with one out in the seventh and picked a Rancho Bernardo runner off at second base.

But the Broncos bounced back in the final frame to score on a base hit by Connor O’Brien.

“This tournament gets you ready for the playoffs,” said Davis. “Heck, it gets you ready for the Lions Tournament because we’ll see a lot of the same teams next week. So playing good, tight games can only get you ready for what’s to come.”

As a matter of fact these same two teams will meet on Tuesday (Mar. 22) in the second round of the Lions Tournament at Rancho Bernardo at 3:30.

Sat., Mar. 19

Hilltop-Lolita’s Tournament
Rancho Bernardo (5-1) 003 000 1 – 4 7 2
Granite Hills   (4-2) 010 000 0 – 1 2 3
Pelio, Penn (4) and O’Brien. Shrum, JoVerdon (7) and Fenn. 
WP-Penn (1-0). LP-Shrum (1-1).

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