East County Sports

Five teams go for title in five divisions

West Hills and Granite Hills in a game on May 1. / Vic Marano
2021 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

SAN DIEGO CIF CHAMPIONSHIPS

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

POWAY —- Over a two-week period in mid-April, Grossmont shocked, stunned, and stymied Eastlake with a series of three walk-off victories.

The Foothillers twice scored two times in the bottom of the seventh inning to steal games, including a tournament championship contest, while the middle game went into extra innings before the hosts won yet again.

Because of the losses, Eastlake barely advanced into the Open Division field of the CIF San Diego Section baseball championship, but they made it — and gained a deeply-desired re-match with the Hillers.

However, the Titans needed a playback final to slide past top-seed San Marcos, meaning the pitching advantage goes to Grossmont, which is 3-0 this postseason with a fully rested Evan Vasiliou (11-0), a CIFSDS Pitcher of the Year candidate,  ready for the mound.

Eastlake slugger Marcelo Mayer is expected to be a CIFSDS Player of the Year finalist and both teams love to hit the long ball. In fact, Grossmont needs one more homer to equal the school record of 51.

Grossmont is one of a record five East County schools to advance to the championship finale, one in five of the six San Diego Section tournaments (all except D-5).

Granite Hills was barely bumped out of the Open Division field by both Eastlake and Santana, instead gaining the top seed in Division I. The Eagles will meet a soaring Point Loma ballclub which has won 10-of-15 since getting pasted by Eastlake, 11-2.

The Eagles blanked Point Loma, 5-0, on April 12, when Noa Ponciano fired a 4-hit shutout. Ponciano tossed six innings against Westview on Tuesday, so has four frames remaining. But since both teams participated in playback finals to capture their respective bracket on Thursday, second-tier pitching may need to decide this one.

Steele Canyon is making its first title game appearance, meeting Carlsbad in Division II.

The No. 4 seed Cougars equaled a school record with their 22nd win in the winner’s bracket finale over top-seed St. Augustine, 10-4, so they won’t be easily intimidated by the second-seeded Lancers.

In Division III, Christian seeks to cap the second-best season in school history, second only to the remarkable 29-2 ballclub from 2015 which captured the D-3 crown.

The Patriots will meet San Dieguito Academy, the lowest seed from any of the six divisions to advance to a final as a No. 10 seed.

Sure, advantage to the C-Pats, but remember: in the last CIF tournament (2019 because of COVID-19), Westview captured the D-1 title as the No. 11 seed, so anything is possible.

West Hills, East County’s least successful postseason ballclub, gains its first-ever finals berth following a 3-0 march in the Division IV tournament. Ace pitcher Kyle Dobtns will be on the mound.

The top-seed Wolf Pack meet the Mission Vista Timberwolves, a newer school located on the north side of Oceanside next to Camp Pendleton. The T-Wolves once made the 2014 final when the school first opened, but lost the D-5 title game in an 11-inning, 5-4 setback to the Classical Academy Caimans — but at least they’ve been there before.

OPEN DIVISION
Sat., June 20 — At Poway, 7 p.m.
#3 Grossmont (29-5) vs. #8 Eastlake (24-8)
2021 meetings:
April 10: Grossmont 10-9 (GHS scored twice in B-7th)
April 21: Grossmont 4-3 (8 inn.)
April 24: Grossmont 5-4 (GHS scored twice in B-7th)

Series History:
Last Decade: Tied 7-7-1

Previous CIF titles:
Grossmont (13): 1977, ’90, ’91, 2001, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’10, ’13, 14, ’17, ’18

Eastlake (3): 1999, 2002, ’17.

DIVISION I
Sat., June 19 — At Poway, 3:30 p.m.
#1 Granite Hills (24-10) vs. #2 Point Loma (20-12)

2021 meetings:

April 12: Granite Hills 5, Point Loma 0

Series History:
21st Century: Tied 1-1
Previous CIFSDS titles:
Granite Hills (6):1977, ’94, ’98, 2007, ’14, ’16.
Point Loma (2): 1973, ’82.

DIVISION II

Sat., June 19 — At Poway, noon
#4 Steele Canyon (22-10) vs. #2 Carlsbad (20-9)

2021 meetings:

None.

Series History:
Carlsbad 2-0 (2008, ’18)

Previous CIFSDS titles:
Steele Canyon (0).

Carlsbad (1): 1989.

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DIVISION III

Sat., June 19 — At Eastlake, 4 p.m.
#1 Christian (25-4) vs. #10 San Dieguito (20-13)

2021 meetings:

None.

Series History:
San Dieguito 2-1 (all in 2013 playoffs)
Previous CIFSDS titles:
Christian (7). 1976, ’77, ’78, 97,2003, ’09, ’15
SDA (0; one by its predecessor in 1964)
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DIVISION IV

Sat., June 19 — At Eastlake, 1 p.m.
#1 West Hills (15-17) vs. #3 Mission Vista (22-10)

2021 meetings:

None.

Series History:
West Hills 1-0  (5-4 in 2019)
Previous CIFSDS titles:
West Hills (0).
Mission Vista (0; lost the D-5 title game in 11 innings in 2014)

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