East County Sports

Eagles’ Smith wins, crushes; Hillers win



ECS staff report

SANTEE —- Granite Hills pitcher Austin Smith fired six innings of shutout ball, yielding just two hits in carrying the Grossmont Hills League-leading Eagles past West Hills, 7-2, Monday (May 23) at Wolf Pack Park.

Smith, who improved his record to 7-2, struck out 11 batters without issuing a walk, retiring the final 10 batters he faced.

In addition, Smith, the leadoff batter, slugged a pair of home runs to support his efforts on the mound.

Smith opened the scoring in the fifth inning. Following a Hudson Beamon double, Smith sent a two-run shot to center field. The six-run rally also included a two-run homer by Tanner Vielguth to cap the outburst.

“It was a great feeling,” Vielguth said of his home run shot. “But it was even better to see Austin throw a great game and go yard twice.”

An inning later, Smith went deep to right field.

“It was a great day but more on the mound for me than at the plate,” Smith confided. “But doing what I did on the mound and hitting two home runs felt great. I dominated with my fastball and threw some curveballs when I needed to.

“We are meshing together as a team and getting better and better each game. It’s going to be fun to see what we do in the playoffs.

West Hills pitcher Jacob Villanueva matched Smith for four innings in also throwing a shutout, although the Eagles stranded runners in scoring position in three of those frames before the Eagles came through in the fifth.

For sixth-ranked Granite Hills (19-6 overall, 10-1 GHL), Smith finished with three hits, while Cody Macias and Beamon had two hits each.

West Hills (11-14, 1-10 GHL) tallied twice in the seventh against the bullpen, as Aaron Peterson doubled in a run, then scoring on a base hit from Villanueva.

Grossmont 12, Valhalla 2

RANCHO SAN DIEGO —- The top-ranked Grossmont Foothillers couldn’t shake off upset-minded Valhalla for five innings, holding onto a slight 3-2 advantage. However, the Hillers maintained their pennant hopes by rallying for seven runs in the sixth inning to finally down the Norsemen, 12-2, in GHL action on Monday (May 23).

The triumphs set the stage for a possible elimination game on Wednesday when second-place Grossmont faces third-standing Steele Canyon to see which will get a chance to engage Granite Hills for the GHL crown.

Noah Barnes and Barron Zamora (5 RBI), both juniors, hit homers for Grossmont, while Barnes also doubled in driving in two runs and scoring three times from the No. 2 slot in the batting lineup.

Mason Dirkes pitched the first four innings to collect the victory. He struck out three Norsemen without yielding a walk to give him a 3-1 record.

For Grossmont (23-4 overall, 9-2 GHL), Justin Brown registered three hits.

Valhalla (5-19, 1-10 GHL) was limited to three singles. Both runs were unearned.


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