East County Sports

Granados, Cougars shut down Saints




By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

KEARNY MESA —- There was nothing to fear for Steele Canyon senior pitcher Sebastian Granados.

Facing top-seeded St. Augustine, the right-hander plowed through the Saints batting order to the tune of registering 14 of his 17 outs on strikes, helping the Cougars to an over-powering 4-1 triumph in Friday’s (June 11) winners bracket final of CIF-San Diego Section Division II baseball championship at Hickman Field.

Granados yielded just a pair of base hits over his 5 2/3 frames before the pitch-count limit ended his day on the mound.

“It’s great to beat a team as good as the Saints,” said Granados.”The defense played great, especially my catcher, Jake Entrekin, on a great strike ’em out, throw’em out play.”

The ballgame remained scoreless through three innings thanks to Entrekin. With a runner at first and one out, Granados registered one of his strikeouts. But when the runner strayed a little too far from the bag, Entrekin fired the ball behind the runner, where first baseman Tommy Molina applied an inning-ending double play.

And like in so many other late-season and postseason contests this season, a great defensive play was followed with an array of offense.

In this case, it was a 3-run rally in the fourth inning, with Steele Canyon second baseman Nate Custeau driving in the first run.

The tie-breaking rally was set up by Molina (lead walk) and Issac Vargas (one-out walk), with Travis Eccher then entering as a pinch-runner for Molina.

Custeau followed on the first pitch with a hard grounder down the right-field line to score Eccher. The play must’ve rattled the Saints defense, which turned an inning-ending ground ball into a pair of throwing errors to score two more runs for a 3-0 Cougars lead.

“It was all around a good team win,” Vargas said. “Sebas (Granados) came out strong on the mound and the whole team was loud and had each other’s backs today. Now we’re focusing on the next game.”

Both ballclubs scored in the seventh.

Steele Canyon’s insurance run was tallied by Taylor Corella, who singled to center and moved to second on a wild pitch. Another ground ball was again booted — the third different Saints infielder charged in the contest — allowing Corella to make it 4-0. Corella (2-for-3) was the lone player on either ballclub with more than one hit.

St. Augustine counted with an unearned run in its final chance at the plate, but Cougars relief pitcher Cannon Restine coaxed a fly ball to center fielder Will James to cap the combined three-hitter.

“Sebastian was absolutely dominated with the 14 whiffs,” said Entrekin, who batted 1-for-2 and was walked twice. “Two more to go.”

Steele Canyon (22-10 overall) moves to Tuesday’s winner’s bracket finale against Carlsbad (23-8-1). The second-seeded Lancers tipped La Jolla Country Day, 9-2, in the other semifinal of the double-elimination tournament.

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