East County Sports

Eagles order another game with Big Mac





By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

GRANITE HILLS —- For no particular reason, the Westview Wolverines own an eminently superior record against Grossmont Conference opponents during the CIF San Diego Section playoffs, all in decidedly close ballgames.

In recent seasons, they defeated West Hills in extra innings and nipped Grossmont 1-0 for the 2019 section championship. Even this year, they posted a 1-run triumph over Granite Hills.

All of that was shattered on one swing of a hot bat.

Granite Hills slugger Grant MacArthur, who may be the hottest batter in postseason play among East County schools, came through in the clutch once again. The senior bombed a walk-off, three-run home to power the Eagles to a thrilling 5-4 triumph in the CIFSDS Division I tournament.

“It was a great feeling,” MacArthur said. “(Westview starting pitcher Luke Ritter) threw a fastball up and in and he threw it all game. I was 0-for-3 going into that at-bat, so what he was doing was working. He was challenging me but I knew what was coming and I didn’t miss it.”

MacArthur’s blast to left field will force a playback final between the ballclubs on Thursday, again at Granite Hills, with the victor gaining a berth into Saturday’s championship affair.

“I’m just hoping we can get a team win on Thursday and get an opportunity to win a championship,” MacArthur added. “We need to put pressure on (Westview) early.”

In the other half of the draw, Poway and Point Loma will also go to an extra game in the double-elimination phase of the event after Poway took a 6-3 win on the peninsula.

MacArthur’s clout saved the red-faced bullpen, which dropped the ball on a 2-1 lead entering the seventh, only to watch Westview tally three times to grab a 4-2 lead.

Included was a go-ahead, two-run homer from power-hitting second baseman Kainoa Williams, then Gerrit Erickson posted an RBI single, as the first five Wolverines reached base.

However, Granite Hills (23-10 overall) fought back.

Austin Smith grounded the ball up the middle on the first pitch for a one-out single, then late-inning substitute James Taylor turned the 100-plus degree temperatures in rain after getting hit by a pitch.

Then on a 1-0 pitch, MacArthur — despite the difference in the prefix — made like Mark McGwire (who once held the MLB record for home runs by a rookie) and sent the ball skyward to left field to leave the Eagles bouncing at home plate.

Eagles relief pitcher Tanner Vielguth, who entered to register the final two outs in the seventh, gained the pitching win.

Shortstop Camden Sos batted 2-for-3 with an RBI for the Eagles. Westview (18-13) received two hits each from designated hitter Darren Cho and first baseman Lucas Anderson.

Granite starter Noa Ponciano allowed one run over six innings, striking out eight.

“One thing that helps me go deep into games is mentally wanting to win every game for my team,” Ponciano said. “My fastball and curveball combination has been working for me.”


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