East County Sports

Eagles’ Fordham takes SAT before lowering ERA

2019 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

GRANITE HILLS 2, EASTLAKE 1

EastCountySports.com staff report

CHULA VISTA – Granite Hills head coach James Davis had a bit of a pitching dilemma heading into Saturday’s Grossmont-Metro-City Tournament against third-ranked Eastlake.

With two starters taking the SAT on Saturday, Davis was looking at a possible bullpen game for his staff.

Before the game, however, junior Clay Fordham arrived and took care of everything, including the Titans.

Fordham ended up delivering a complete game four-hitter as the Eagles extended their winning streak to six games with a 2-1 win over the powerful hosts.

“I came into the game from the SAT just hoping to start because I was unsure of the time I would get there,” Fordham said. “Then our (scheduled) starter was still taking his SAT and wasn’t there on time so it turned into a spot start.”

Fordham struck out five and walked two. His only run allowed was unearned.

“Davis told me, ‘throw your hardest for as long as you can and we got guys behind you.'” Fordham said. “It was never in my intention to go only a few innings. My mentality was to make it through the whole game.”

Both teams scored a run in the third inning before Granite Hills snapped the tie with a run in the top of the fifth.

“Early on I was trying to just get after guys,” said Fordham, the son of a former major league hurler. “But as the game went on I certainly got locked in. I was able to be effective with my fastball by keeping everything low and working the corners. My slider, on the other hand, was my go to.

“I had nice, sharp movement today that I was able to pinpoint the location. That was along with mixing in changeups in hitters counts, too, so I could make sure guys wouldn’t get too comfortable even when I fell behind.”

In the top of the fifth, junior Dillon Goins drew a one-out walk then TK Parker followed with a line single to center.

Sophomore Austin Smith drove in the decisive run on a fielder’s choice groundout.

Granite, which started the season 0-2 after being ranked in the preseason top ten, was immediately demoted from the rankings, but could return to the poll this week after winning all three of their tournament games this past week.

“Seeing all the rankings come out I definitely don’t think we’ve gotten the respect we deserve,” Fordham said. “When people see this (win) though they’ll start to open their eyes.

“We’ll only use it as motivation if people would like to continue doubting us. Like I said before, we’re a good team that knows what we’re capable of but that doesn’t come without work, so we’ll just continue to get better so we can approve upon what we have going right now.”

Fordham won his second game of the season lowered his ERA to 0.98. He also owns a save early on.

“Last year definitely gave me the confidence in myself but I set myself up with high standards this year,” Fordham said. “I want to be the best at what I do and that doesn’t come without setting the bar high. I’d say so far it has been a strong start to the season certainly and I expect nothing else.”

Junior Max Bodtke had a sacrifice fly for the Eagles’ run in the third innings.

“It was definitely a great win for us,” Bodtke said. “Our pitcher threw an amazing game and we came out on top at the end of it.

“We have been playing great ever since our first two games beating Cathedral and now Eastlake gives us more confidence in ourselves.

Bodtke is hitting .300 this season and the RBI was his fourth of the campaign. He also singled and walked on Saturday.

“I’ve been feeling really good this year,” Bodtke said. “In my first at-bat I saw a couple offspeed and got a fastball right there and just took it the other way.

“On my second AB, I was just trying to get him in from third and I saw the curve right out of his hand and it was right there for me to take it to center to get the runner in. Overall, a great game for us.”

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