East County Sports

Eagles get back at LCC in Hilltop final

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

 

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff report

EL CAJON – Another ballgame. Another hero for the Granite Hills Eagles.

On Saturday (Apr. 10), this time it was third baseman Ethan McNish-Heider in the center of a major comeback attack, driving in three runs and scoring the go-ahead run to secure a 5-4 verdict over visiting La Costa Canyon, 5-4, in the championship game of the 40th Annual Hilltop Tournament.

The triumph avenged an earlier tournament setback to the Mavericks, a club many considered the top ballclub in the CIF-San Diego Section following the first two weeks of the season after downing Grossmont in the Lions Tournament finale.Now, Grossmont (9-1) might be awarded the top spot when the first major media poll is announced.

For Granite Hills (6-4), the Foothillers can wait — they had others reasons to celebrate before preparing for a 3-game series with Grossmont in 30 days,  starting May 10.

Ethan McNish-Heider opened with scoring with a 2-run single in the second inning with the only ball to escape the infield.

Grant Mac Arthur reached base on an error to lead off. An out later, Alex Gibaud walked, with both runners advancing on a balk. McNish-Heider followed with a run-scoring liner to left field.

“In our first game against LCC, we had some errors and weren’t attacking the pitcher correctly,” McNish-Heider said. “But we had some games where we fixed some things and it showed in this game.

“Our pitching was outstanding today and our field – both infield and outfield – was amazing.

La Costa Canyon rallied back to take a 3-2 lead, twice scoring on sacrifice flies, before the Eagles bats displayed some power.

A series of three consecutive doubles — all with two down by Gibaud, McNish-Heider and Cody Macias — gave Granite Hills a 4-3 lead in the fourth.

In the sixth, what proved to be an important insurance run came on an error, a walk, and two Eagles — Hudson Beamon and Austin Smith (RBI) — getting plunked by a pitch.

The marker gave Eagles relief pitcher Spencer Davis the ability to simply fire strikes in the seventh. Although a fastball was turned around by LCC’s Jake Woltman for a two-out, solo home run, Davis pumped a 3-2 fastball for the victory-clinching strikeout.

“I was just trying to not overthrow anything and really locate my fastball,” Davis said. “Other than that, I just let my defense do the rest.”

Davis saved the win for James Taylor, the first Eagles reliever, who tossed 1 2/3 inning of shutout ball.

McNish-Heider and Woltman were the lone players to collect two base hits.

Mar Vista 12, Foothills Christian 8

SANTEE – Moments after the Foothills Christian Knights rallied to catch Mar Visa at 4-all, the visiting Mariners answered with five runs in the fourth inning to take Saturday’s (Apr. 10) tournament ballgame.

The loss snapped the two-game win streak of Foothills Christian (6-3), which had outscored the opposition by a composite 28-1 count against larger enrollment schools earlier in the week. The “mad, mean, menacing Mariners” moved to sea level at 4-4 overall.

Mar Vista was able to avenge a pair of earlier shellackings by the Knights in Imperial Beach — 11-2 on Mar. 20; 5-1 on Mar. 29 — taking advantage of seven errors to post nine unearned runs. They also withstood the second-best offensive attack this season by Foothills Christian, which collected 14 hits.

The tie-breaking rally saw an error, followed by an RBI single by Ryan Lee. A second error was followed by an RBI double from Diego Barquin (3-for-4, four RBI, two runs). Both are seniors. In all, four FCHS defensive miscues doomed the inning.

For the Knights, Taylor Casey batted 3-for-4 with three RBI, including an RBI triple, while Seth Gilbody went 3-for-4 with a double.

In addition, Colby Johnson went 2-for-4 with a double to raise his season average to .464 to lead the ball club.

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