East County Sports

Eagles clear itinerary with semifinal rout

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

CIF STATE DIVISION III REGIONAL SEMIFINAL

GRANITE HILLS 13, CLEVELAND 3

 

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

GRANITE HILLS —- It was the best day of the high school baseball season for the Granite Hills Eagles.

Not only did the ballclub advance to the CIF Southern California regional championship in Division III, some nifty tap-dancing by head coach James Davis allowed three of his standout players to also participate in the area All-Star Game at Petco Park on the same day.

Thus, strong performances abound at both sites, with Saturday hopefully providing additional thrills.

On Thursday (June 24), top-seed Granite Hills run-ruled visiting Reseda-Cleveland, 13-3, in a contest moved up to noon from its original 4 p.m. scheduled start. The four hours and a shortened contest allowed selected ballplayers to steal the show in the Gaslamp Quarter.

The featured performer in the major league ballpark was Grant MacArthur. He not only captured the Home Run Derby, he was also tabbed MVP of the All-Star Game.

Also making the trip downtown were pitcher Noa Ponciano and a versatile Austin Smith, who announced last week that he will attend UC San Diego (now an NCAA Division I program) unless he is selected high in July’s MLB first-year player draft.

“Everyone did their job today,” Smith said. “The Petco game was such a cool experience. Playing on a big-league field like that is something you dream of so getting to do it was a blast.”

Against Cleveland, Granite Hills defeated its second straight opponent from the West Valley League in Greater Los Angeles, scoring three times in the fifth to trigger the run (mercy) rule.

The contest ended on consecutive RBI hits by Ethan McNish-Heider (single), Camden Sos (single), and Tanner Vielguth (walk-off double).

For Vielguth, the double capped a 3-solid for-4, five-RBI performance, including a home run.

Also smacking homers for the Eagles were Austin Smith and Alex Gibaud, both coming in the first inning. Smith, the Eagles’ first batter for the noon start, hit a leadoff shot to right field. Vielguth went to left with his 3-run liner to left and a 4-0 advantage.

An inning later, Gibuad struck his leadoff shot to left. The Eagles would score twice more in the frame for a 7-0 lead, eventually scoring on all five trips to the plate.

“Today was a great win for the team,” Vielguth said. “All of us were hitting great today. Smitty and Alex hitting home runs were awesome.”

Once the outcome was decided early, Granite Hills skipper James Davis used his pitching sparingly to same his arms for the title game against Arlington.of Riverside. The Lions (23-12) nipped Hart (22-4) of Santa Clarita, 1-0.

Chandler Henry pitched the first four innings to gain the victory. Vielguth went the final frame.

“The run support was amazing,” Henry said. “I really only had a fastball all day because my offspeed was off. My biggest thing was hitting sports and getting outs.”

Should Granite Hills (27-10) defeat Arlington, they would equal the school record for victories in a season (28 in 1998, 2005,’07).

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