East County Sports

Eagles’ co-ace wins key Hills duel




By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

RANCHO SAN DIEGO —- Oh, the choices Granite Hills baseball coach James Davis needs to make.

Davis opened the season with Noa Ponciano as his pitching ace, then Austin Smith came along with three consecutive brilliant starts, including a no-hitter. On Friday, it was Ponciano’s turn to be featured in the spotlight.

In a battle between Grossmont Hills League co-leaders, Ponciano overwhelmed Steele Canyon by striking out nine, tossing a 4-hit shutout against the host Cougars, as the Eagles won, 4-0.

“I was using more off-speed pitching to get ahead early in counts since they like to attack early on fastballs,” Ponciano said.

The 1-2 punch of Ponciano and Smith would bode well when the CIF San Diego Section playoffs commence come the second week of June. But for the present, the Eagles are more interested in claiming its first outright GHL crown since 2015 (they shred the title in ’16).

Davis is currently tied for the school record with his predecessor, the late Gordy Thompson, with eight Grossmont Conference/League titles each. During his run, Davis took five straight titles from 2012-16, a mark Helix head coach Cole Holland is attempting to match this season — not if Granite Hills can do something about it.

In order to break the deadlock between the clubs at the top of the standings, Ponciano and the Eagles needed to best Steele Canyon ace Sebastian Granados. Granite Hills finally got a run in the fourth, then chased the Cougars’ standout with three runs in the fifth, , thnanks mostly to the bottom of the batting card.

With one down in the fourth, the 7-8-9 batters produced consecutive ground-ball singles by Cody Macias, Tanner Vielguth, and Alex Gibaud (RBI) opened the scoring.

An inning later, Camden Sos doubled in a run, then Vielguth lined a 2-run single for the 4-0 advantage.

For the contest, Macias, the catcher, batted 2-for-3 with a double and a walk,

What little success Steele Canyon found against Ponciano saw Weston Clark bat 2-for-3, while Jake Entrekin punched a two-out double in the first.

Granite Hills (15-6 overall, 6-1 GHL) now holds a 1-game lead over both Steele Canyon and Grossmont as the league slate reached the midway point on Monday with the second game of the home-and-home set.


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