East County Sports

Hills: Eagles, Highlanders, Foothillers win



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer


GRANITE HILLS —- There are many aspects to a successful bullpen, such as the closer and the set-up man. One often overlooked spot is the long reliever, who is called upon when the starting pitcher fails to go at least halfway through the ballgame.

Granite Hills possesses one such pitcher, yet because of the ballclub’s winning ways this season, a senior named Andrew Stinnett rarely gets the call. However, Stinnett was needed for a major stint in Monday’s (May 17) featured Grossmont Hills League contest.

After starting Eagles hurler Austin Smith came out after just three frames, Stinnett entered to fire five full innings of emergency relief, giving the Eagles enough time to post a 3-2 walk-off triumph over visiting Steele Canyon in eight innings.

Stinnett yielded just four singles in his outing with four strikeouts relying primarily on his two-seam fastball, and was ready to keep pitching should the contest continue deep into the sunset.

However, there was no need after the Steele Canyon bullpen issued two walks around a hit batsman to load the bases, then sent a wild pitch to the backstop which allowed seldom-utilized pinch-runner Mason Whitehead to score the game-winning run.

Stinnett retired 13 of the final 16 Cougars batters he faced, with only one base-runner reaching second base, courtesy of a sacrifice bunt in his first inning of work.

“I’m glad I could go in and shut them down for five innings until my team could get the walk-off,” Stinnett said. “My team definitely supported me and gave me the confidence I needed to finish the game. Watching the winning run cross the plate was one of the best feelings I’ve had in baseball.”

In the eighth, the momentum started to turn when leadoff batter Tanner Vielguth overcame an 0-2 count to accept a walk, moving to second when Kadin Collier was struck by a pitch. And when No. 9 hitter Alex Gibaud also walked, Steele Canyon was in major trouble.

Smith, who remained in the contest in center fielder, came up when coach James Davis inserted Whitehead at third base to run for Vielguth.  Smith also overcame an 0-2 count to work it to 2-2, including a pair of fouls balls. But when the seventh pitch to Smith scooted beyond the reach of the catcher, Granite Hills maintained its grab of first place in the GHL.

Both teams scored in the first, then Granite Hills took a 2-1 lead on consecutive doubles by Gibaud and Smith in the second.

Steele Canyon countered in the third, as Vencel Kalasho singled, moved to third on a double by catcher Jake Entrekin, then home on a ground out by cleanup hitter Sebastian Granados.

Afterward, the ballgame belonged to Stinnett and Cougars pitcher Kalasho (6 1/3IP, one earned run, seven Ks) by throwing strings of zeroes.

For Stinnett, it was just his third appearance of the season, recording one out against Carlsbad, then lasting 5 1/3 frames of emergency relief against Grossmont.

“I’d love to get the opportunity for a stat and show what I can do,” Stinnett said. “I think we have a team that can do very well in the postseason and if I can help the team, then I’ll do what I can to help.”

Granite Hills (16-6 overall, 7-1 GHL) saw Smith bat 3-for-4.

“Three hits is always nice,” Smith said. “We followed the game plan and Stinnett pitched great.”

Steele Canyon (13-8, 5-3 GHL) falls into third place after Grossmont (20-4, 6-2) blanked West Hills, 10-0.

Helix 9, Valhalla 0

RANCHO SAN DIEGO —- The Perez brothers — Aidan and Jake — combined for four hits and five RBI, while Leyton Wirschem and two relievers combined fr a 3-hit shutout, as visiting Helix skated by blanked Valhalla in GHL action on Monday (May 17).

Both of the Perez’s batted 2-for-3, with Jake gained one additional RBI, 3-2.

However, it was Aidan Perez who lifted a sacrifice fly in the third inning for a 3-0 lead, then the Scotties erupted for six runs in the fourth to secure the club’s fourth consecutive victory,

The big inning featured run-scoring doubles by Trevor Young (1 RBI) and Ben Haar (2 RBI).

Aidan Perez followed a two-run homer to right-center field, although scorekeepers for both clubs indicted that the ball one-hopped the fence in their post game notes. Still, at 9-0, there was little reason to argue.

Helix (10-11 overall, 4-4 GHL) can play both spoiler and gain the first-division placement in the standings when they open a home-and-home series since ancient rival Grossmont, starting Wednesday at home.

Valhalla (5-16, 1-7 GHL) received base hits from starting right fielder Riley Hughes and second baseman Colin Scribner.

Grossmont 10, West Hills 0

EL CAJON —- Caleb Hommel drove in three runs, while Jaden Wilcox and two relievers combined on a 2-hit shutout, allowing Grossmont to remain just one game behind GHL-leading Granite Hills by unwrapping the Wolf Pack.

Hommel batted 3-for-3 with a double and a walk, while Isaiah Gomez and Justin Brown pumped home runs. For Gomez, his two-run shot to center field in the fourth inning was his ninth of the season, moving him into a tie for third place among CIF-San Diego Section sluggers.

This game was decided early when the Foothillers scored three times in both the first and second innings.

Vasiliou lined a lead single to center, then stole a pair of bases. Still standing at third base with two down, Vasiliou scored on a single by Hommel. He scored on Brown’s homer, as all three hits in the inning went to center field.

“We are just seeing the ball really well and swinging it the way we know how,” Brown said. “The (Grossmont Hills) League has a ton of talent this year.”

An inning later, a pair of walks set up Vasiliou’s RBI single, then Hommel doubled to left for a 6-0 cushion.

Meanwhile, Wilcox cruised in his five innings, allowing just two hits while striking out three Wolf Pack batters. Wilcox was followed by 1-2-3 innings by relievers Chris Chrzan and Ethan Dilgard.

“I am very proud of our senior,” Grossmont head coach Jordan Abruzzo said. “To have 20 wins with seven games left to go is a great accomplishment. Hopefully, we can finish strong.”

The lone hits for West Hills (11-11 overall, 1-7 GHL) were by the second baseman Jacob Villanueva and center fielder Connor Evans.

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