East County Sports

LIONS: Eagles’ Davis records win No. 400

2018 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

 

EastCountySports.com staff report

 

EL CAJON – Granite Hills head coach JAMES DAVIS notched his 400th career victory as leader of the Eagles with a 4-2 Lions Tournament consolation win over Silverado, of Las Vegas, on Thursday afternoon.

It was a moment of reflection following the contest for the coach that has kept Granite Hills among the elite teams in the county since taking over an Eagles’ program that another legendary coach, GORDY THOMPSON, who passed away before this season, put on the county baseball map.

Davis couldn’t help think of a couple of influential Eagles who also died recently in stars TREVOR BARNES and WILLIAM BURTON.

“I don’t know how to say it, but I would trade all those wins to have those guys back,” said Davis, who, like Thompson, has led Granite Hills to three section championships.

“Really, it just means I have had the great opportunity to coach a lot of good players over the years.”

Recent Eagle greats TRAVIS TAIJERON, JOHNNY OMAHEN, TRENTON BROOKS, ANDREW BROWN and BRIAN HUMPHRIES have turned Davis’ mentorship into professional baseball careers.

Many a Granite Hills star has parlayed their prep careers into college scholarship opportunities and in some cases, collegiate baseball stardom.

Guys like NOAH CUMMINGS, JORDON VERDON, DILLON SHRUM, JUSTIN MITCHELL, DANIEL VASQUEZ and JAYSON and JOSH ROSE have made the Eagle coach proud.

Davis has even turned one of the county’s most beautiful ballparks into a makeshift evacuation center for large animals during fire disasters.

The Eagles lost to Rancho Bernardo, 5-1, in Davis’ head coaching debut on March 8, 2001, but since has passed Thompson’s 379 wins and then some, as well as, captured or shared nine Grossmont League titles.

It’s Davis’ attention to detail that gives everyone around him a greater chance to realize their own potential for success.

And that’s surely what has motivated him to reach this milestone with plenty of well-paved roads ahead.

On Thursday, ERIC HOGAN was the latest Eagle star, as he allowed three hits and one run over five innings, striking out four and walking none.

“I’m just glad that I get to work with one of the best coaches out there in this program,” Hogan said of the skipper. “I felt like I could have (pitched) better (today), but lucky I have my teammates with me to the end.

“Silverado was a very good team to face.”

Granite Hills (8-4) got all of its runs in the third, as TK PARKER (2-for-3) singled to left for a 1-0 lead, then SEAN MCGREW doubled home to runs to cap the rally.

“Hogan did a great job for us today,” Davis said.

JAKE FENN threw two innings in relief to earn the save, striking out three. He worked out of a seventh-inning threat, which resulted in just one run, after allowing a walk and a double to start things off.

 

CHRISTIAN 5, GREEN VALLEY (Nev.) 4 (12 innings) – Sophomore TRACE RAMOS provided the host Patriots with a walk-off sacrifice fly in the 12th to win the Lions Tournament consolation game on Thursday.

Christian High senior LUKE RYNKOFS threw a complete game, of sorts, delivering seven innings of four-hit relief of effective starter BRAD JEREMIAH.

Rynkofs struck out four and walked just one, but offered no formula for his strong start to the season, which included a no-hitter, just a diet of hard work.

“I’d say the secret is not really a secret at all,” Rynkofs said. “It has been a lot of reps over summer and in the pre-season and it is paying off. And my slider was a huge pitch this afternoon, had great command of it.”

The Patriots’ TRENT NIELSEN and JAKOB BECK each had three hits, while GARRET NIELSEN had two hits and walked

Christian improved to 4-8.

The Patriots host Steele Canyon in a closely-rated matchup of East County teams on Monday in the GMC Tournament at 3:30 p.m.

 

HELIX 14, VISTA GRANDE 7 – The Highlanders jumped on the visiting Spartans from Casa Grande, Ariz., with six runs in the bottom of the first, then six more in the last of the fourth, on Thursday morning in a Lions consolation contest.

Highlander junior GRIFFIN ZAMORA drove in a pair of runs to put Helix ahead 5-0, while sophomore teammate JORDON THOMPSON singled in the sixth run.

Helix seniors BRANDON PETERSON and ZACK OWENS both doubled home two runs in the Scots’ sixth-run fourth.

Helix junior left-hander ERICK SMELKO pitched 4 1/3 shutout innings, striking out three and walking none.

Helix improved to an EastCounty-best 9-3 heading into Monday’s GMC renewal with Scripps Ranch on the road at 4.

 

SCRIPPS RANCH 9, SANTANA 2 – The Falcons won the Lions Tournament Premier Division semifinal at Coronado High, but the Sultans were still the only East County team to qualify for a championship bracket.

Scripps Ranch scored three times in the bottom of the first and eventually led 9-0 before the Sultans scored two runs in the top of the seventh.

Senior Jalen White drove in two runs for the Falcons and junior Harrison Rodgers got the win.

Santana, which won two Lions tourney games, fell to 3-9 overall.

Next up for the Sultans is No. 1 Eastlake on the road on Tuesday at 4 as the Grossmont-Metro-City Tournament resumes.

 

ELK GROVE 9, GROSSMONT 1 – The Foothillers’ wild swings continue as they were matched up with the 26th-ranked team in the state in the Sac-Joaquin section’s Thundering Herd in a Lions consolation game at Gizoni Field on Thursday morning.

Although Grossmont failed to qualify for the Open Division semifinals, the Hillers were coming off a no-hit win on Wednesday over a Bishop Gorman team out of Las Vegas that was ranked as high as third in the country.

Elk Grove caught the Foothillers napping, racking up six runs in the second to lead 9-0 after three innings.

Grossmont’s ZAK FARRIS doubled in AUSTIN ODOM in the fourth inning for Grossmont after Odom drew a two-out walk.

Senior left-hander HAYDEN WHITE pitched two innings of perfect relief for Grossmont, striking out one.

The Foothillers (6-5-1) are back in action on Monday at Bonita Vista in the GMC tourney at 4.

 

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