East County Sports

ROUNDUP: Eagles, Knights get wins


East CountySports staff report

SANTEE (5-2-2019) – Ballclubs can change their fortunes, even at midseason. Case-in-point: the Granite Hills Eagles.

Following a less than glorious start into the first season of the Grossmont Hills “Super” League with an 0-4 record, not only have the Eagles moved to within a game of .500 in league play, they are poised to move up in Division I as the playoffs approach following a 5-1 triumph over host Santana.

Senior pitcher Noa Ponciano slipped under the pitch-limit cap by retiring the final six Sultans batters he faced, tossing a complete-game four-hitter. He struck out five batters.

Granite Hills is now near the top ten in the division, as the top eight advance to CIF Open Division competition.

Ponciano’s time on the mound was aided by a fast start by the Eagles bats, producing four quick runs in their first go-round at the plate. And it took a mere eight pitched for Granite Hills to score.

Ryan Fenn led off by reaching on catcher’s interference. He moved to third base on a Parker single, then scored on a base hit by Sean McGrew.

One out later, Grant Mac Arthur and Max Bodtke stroked consecutive run-scoring singles, then Clay Fordham drove in a run on a ground out. Fordham also garnered a pair of hits.

The Eagles also scored a lone run in the seventh on an error.

Granite Hills (12-11 overall, 4-5 GHSL) received two hits each from Clay Fordham and T.K. Parker.

For Santana (10-13, 3-6 GHSL), the lone run was a solo homer by Brandon Glowacki with one out in the third.

FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN 3, MARANATHA CHRISTIAN 2: At Stars Field at Barona, Knights closer Max Merlan bailed out starting pitcher Brendan Campbell by stranding the bases loaded in the 6th inning, then withstood a two-out single in the seventh for the save in a Pacific League victory on Wednesday (May 1).

The decision leaves both teams tied for second place, both one full game behind frontrunning Tri-City Christian.

 While Merlan entered throwing strikes and Maranatha batter Lucas Gordon, a freshman utility player, at the plate with one run already in during the sixth, the visitors elected to try a double steal.


However, Foothills Christian first baseman Jack Wurts fired the ball to catcher Kip Famolaro for the second out.

Gordon then came through with a base hit, which would’ve knotted the contest. However, the lead Eagles runner was held at third base rather than gambling on sending the potential game-tying run to the plate.

Enter Merlan, who registered the third out on a soft line to Corbin Harris in center field.

Earlier, Foothills Christian tallied once in the fourth to get even at 1-all, then twice in the fifth to gain the lead for keeps.

Cade Cabral stroked a lead double, scoring the tying run on a one-out triple by Famolaro.


“It’s been a great couple of weeks,” Famolaro said. “Making playoffs is definitely not out of the question.”

An inning later, Cabral snared a line drive at first base for an inning-ending double play.

“Stats-wise, this game didn’t look like we did much.” Famolaro said. “But we had so many shots that were right at guys. If our bats stay as hot as they are, it’s gonna be hard to stop us from winning league.”


The momentum carried into the inning’s home-half when FCHS garnered the lead with a two-out rally.

Bankhead started with a triple over the center fielder, scoring on a basehit by Jalani Brown. Cabral then sent a hard roller past the first baseman and into the right-field corner for another triple and an RBI.

For Foothills Christian (9-17 overall, 3-3 league), Campbell pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed just seven hits. Cabral finished with two hits.


The Knights will likely need to win their remaining three games to achieve those goals of a league title and a postseason berth.


They face Maranatha again before a season-ending home-and-home with league leader Tri-City Christian.

Maranatha Christian (15-6, 3-3 league) received two hits each from Jackson Ippolito, Mason Sparks and Blake Allred.

SCRIPPS RANCH 8, CHRISTIAN 0: At Mitchell Field, the Western League-leading Falcons went with freshman pitcher Tyler Bremner as the starter and he fired a 5-hit shutout to take Wednesday’s (May 1) game.

Bremner tossed five innings of 2-hit ball, then reliever Connor Nichols struck out half of the batters he faced over the final two frames.


Christian pitcher Alex Markowicz held tough over his 5.2 innings, keeping the score at 1-0 through four frames. However, he finished allowing seven runs — all unearned — on one of the Patriots’ poorest defensive showing all season.


“Not a good day all around,” Christian head coach Mike Mitchell said.Poor approaches at the plate and six errors on defense.  Zero earned runs. Alex pitched well, but we could not make a play behind him.”

For Scripps Ranch (17-9 overall, 8-1 league), Carter Foss had a pair of RBI singles.

Christian (9-17, 0-10 league) saw five players record singles, but only one runner reached third base as the Falcons turned a pair of double plays.

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