East County Sports

Eagles advance to regional semifinal





By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer
GRANITE HILLS —- On almost any other ballclub, Granite Hills right fielder Alex Gibaud would typically find his name listed near the top of the batting order. However, there is so much balance in the Eagles’ lineup, the junior usually is situated in the No. 7 or 8 spot.Which is fine when you’re winning.

Batting in the 8-slot on Tuesday (June 22), Gibaud paced Granite Hills with two hits and a pair of RBI, downing and visiting Birmingham, of the San Fernando Valley, 6-2 the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern California Division III championship.

The top-seed Eagles (26-10), which will keep playing at home as long as they keep winning, are on pace to equal the school record for victories in a season should they claim the Southland title. The mark is 28, set three times (1998, 2005, ’07).

On Thursday, the top-seed Eagles will host fourth-seed Reseda-Cleveland — a league rival of Birmingham — after the Cavaliers nipped Palos Verdes, 9-8.

Granite Hills led 3-0 in the blink of an eye against a Patriots ballclub which somehow gained a regional bid despite more than 20 losses on their resume.

Spencer Davis lined a one-out single to center field, scoring when Grant MacArthur lined a double to the gap in left-center.  Moments later, Ethan McNish-Heider drilled a third consecutive line, this time to right field for a 2-0 lead. A wild pitch would produce another run.

Gibaud then was heard from in the third, drilling a two-run double with two outs for a 5-1 cushion. The blow brought home Camden Sos and Tanner Vielguth, who tagged consecutive one-out singles.

“It was a great team win, Gibaud said. “We got the job done again and Grant MacArthur is continuing to do his thing.”
In the fourth, the final Eagles run came home on a double play.Meanwhile, Granite Hills was able to save their top two starters for the semifinals and, potentially, the final after allowing Andrew Stinnett to start. He struck out 10 Patriots batters over five solid innings to collect the victory.

“Stinnett has been nasty lately,” MacArthur said. “We’ve just been playing good team baseball and it’s been really fun.”

Out of the bullpen, Ryan Krushensky went 1 1/3 frames before a serious injury caused him to be removed from the game. Krushensky may have suffered a fractured arm or major dislocation during the delivery of a pitch. He reportedly underwent surgery on Tuesday evening.

“I really want to mention Ryan Krushensky and the way he pitched,” MacArthur said. “It really sucks to end the season like that. That injury was terrible and everyone’s thoughts and prayers should go out to him.”

Davis moved over from second base to register the final pair of outs, ending the contest on a strikeout.

For Birmingham (12-22), four of the team’s six hits went for doubles, including a pair of senior shortstop Robert Pitts.


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