East County Sports

Eagles advance to D1 championship game




By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

GRANITE HILLS —- All was quiet in the middle of the fourth inning, especially after visiting Westview tallied three times to snap a ballgame locked at 3-all.Indeed, the visiting Wolverines were feeling relatively well, then they retired the first two Granite Hills batters in the fourth.

Then something terribly, terribly wrong changed; the destiny of both ballclubs suddenly swapped.

Over the next 40 minutes, despite two down and no one on base, Granite Hills posted not just any “crooked number,” but the ultimate crooked number.

An amazing nine runs later, the Eagles owned a lead of a half-dozen runs, going to wallop Westview, 12-7, in the playback final of the CIFSDS Division I baseball championship.

Granite Hills (24-10 overall), the top seed, will battle Point Loma in Saturday’s title game, to be held at Poway High at 4 p.m. The Pointers prevented Poway from playing in the title tilt in its own house with a 6-1 playback victory on the peninsula.

Westview’s pitchers tossed only two types of pitches following the first two outs: balls that were really wide of the strike zone, and balls that would’ve been strikes, but were instead pounded by the Eagles bats.

Consecutive walks to Austin Smith and Hudson Beamon brought the potential game-tying run to the plate, but that would prove to be the least of the Wolverines’ problems.

Grant MacArthur, the walk-off home run hero from Tuesday, and Ethan McNish-Heider followed with back-to-back RBI singles, then Camden Sos reached on a dropped third strike (passed ball) to re-load the bases.

Westview pitchers followed by going in complete self-destruct mode. Among the next four batters, three were hit by a pitch and one walked, allowing the game-tying run, the go-ahead run, and a pair of insurance markers to literally slowly trot home.

Then the house of cards finally completely collapsed. With the bases still loaded, Sos’ second trip to the plate saw the shortstop clear the bags with a three-run double to right field and a 12-6 advantage.

With the triumph, Granite Hills becomes the fifth East County program to reach a San Diego Section title contest — all in different divisions.

The others feature West Hills (Division IV), Christian (III), Steele Canyon (II), and Grossmont (Open) going for the crown of the best ballclub among schools in San Diego and Imperial counties.

Westview (18-14) saw early home runs by Darren Cho and Kainoa Williams. Cho hit a solo shot in the first, then Williams posted a game-tying, two-hut blast in the third to make it 3-all.

Then the wild see-saw fourth inning saw the Wolverines tally three times, one on a Josh Mapel double, followed by a two-run single by Luke Warrington.

Warrington capped a three-RBI outing with a largely cosmetic, solo homer in the seventh. Otherwise, Eagles pitcher Austin Smith did his job with a complete-game effort, allowing the team’s remaining arms to be fully rested for the finale against Point Loma.

For the Eagles, if you divide the batting order into three segments, you found few holes against Westview.

The top third led by Smith (2-for-3, three RBI), batted 4-for-9 with four RBI and scoring five times. The middle third sawMcNish-Heider bat 2-for-2, with two RBI and two runs. The bottom third saw both Cody Macias and Alex Gibaud drive in a pair of runs.


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