Locals made it official at NLI day
- Updated: November 22, 2020
2020 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL
By Nick Pellegrino
EL CAJON – It’s not only Major League Baseball that is looking for these key attributes – colleges and universities across the nation also scan for the very same ingredients.
Indeed, if you are left-handed and can fire a fastball at 90-plus miles per hour, scholarship opportunities abound, including three student-athletes from East County high schools who were called to sign during National Letter of Intent Day last week.
In baseball, six were recipients of collegiate scholarships, including a trio of left-handers: Tyler Glowacki of Santana; Austin Smith, Granite Hills; and Evan Vasiliou, Grossmont.
Dozens of other local student-athletes were inked papers in a wide variety of boys and girls sports.
All three lefties are ticketed for NCAA Division I programs.
Glowacki, who plays in the outfield when not on the mound, was a slugger in his younger years. In fact, he once hit four home runs in a single game when playing for Lakeside National Little League in 2015.
Glowacki hopes to follow the shoes of former West Hills pitcher and future World Series champion Stephen Strasburg (LINK: (https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/strasst01.shtml) and make his way to the Majors by going through San Diego State.
“We always love keeping the best players in San Diego home, and Tyler is one of the best players in the county,” said Aztec skipper Mark Martinez. “He has a pure left-handed swing and the arm strength to help us on the mound as well.
“More importantly, he is a great teammate and makes people around him better. No doubt he will have a great career as an Aztec.”
Smith, who also patrols center field on the side, will join the new Division I program at UC San Diego.
The Tritons had been a D-2 power over the past two decades, but will now step forward with the big boys in the Big West Conference.
“I chose UC San Diego because the school has a great baseball program and is a great academic university,” said Smith, the No. 16 outfielder in California by Prep Baseball Report. “I am blessed to be able to stay and play baseball in San Diego where my family can watch.”
Tritons skipper Eric Newman added, “Austin will have a chance to be an impactful freshman both on the mound and in the outfield. He does two things we really like: he hits and pitches from the left side. His high school coach (James Davis) has called him one of the best centerfielders he has coached. He has been compared to Trenton Brooks, a former two-way player out of Granite Hills who is currently playing AA baseball.”
Smith’s other sport was football, helping Granite Hills to a Grossmont Hills League championship in 2018.
Vasiliou, meanwhile, will attend Big West rival UC Irvine, a program which twice advanced to the College World Series since the Anteaters program was revived in 2002. The scholarship was arranged through both Foothillers coach Jordan Abruzzo and the Perfect
An earlier incarnation of UCI Baseball saw the program claim the College Division national championship in 1973 and the Division II national championship in 1974.
Steele Canyon was the lone program with multiple scholarship honorees in baseball. They feature the battery of catcher Jacob “Jake” Entrekin and right-handed pitcher/shortstop Sebastian Granadso.
WATCH Granados on the East County Sports Report, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK2pozJ6UHM&feature=emb_logo
In a game story from 2019, Granado once said, “Jake Entrekin is just my best friend behind the plate.
“He’s a great catcher. He helps me out a lot and makes me feel confident about myself, so if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be throwing how I’m throwing right now.”
However, they are teammates no more; Granados is headed for CSU Northridge (another Big West outfit); Entrekin will stay local at D-2 Point Loma Nazarene.
Also headed to the C-SUN Matadors is Braeden Ross from the Christian Patriots. Ross bats left-handed yet is a right-handed pitcher when not at first base.
Another student-athlete with East County ties is Ariel “Ari” Armas of St. Agustine High in North Park.
Armas, a catcher who can play mulitple positions (mainly second base when not behind the plate), will join the USD Toreros of the West Coast Conference.
In 2016, playing for Emerald Pony League of El Cajon, he helped the 13-year old All-Stars capture the association’s Pony-13 International World Series championship. LINK: https://eccalifornian.com/from-the-little-league-world-series-to-pony-13-world-series-champions/
A year earlier, his Sweetwater Valley Little League team placed third in the United States division of the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa.