East County Sports

Granite Hills proves ranking worthy

2022 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

 

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

CARLSBAD — When the Granite Hills Eagles woke up this morning, they found themselves ranked as the No. 1 ballclub in the CIF-San Diego Section by the local media poll.

Later, defending CIFSDS Division I titlists proved worthy.

Following two-out, go-ahead Eagles rally in the fifth inning, relief pitcher Brenden Lewis entered to fire three frames of no-hit ball, stopping 7th-ranked La Costa Canyon, 6-5, in the season opener for both schools.

Lewis struck out half of the 10 batters he faced. After walking the first batter he faced in the fifth, Lewis set down nine unanswered Mavericks in a powerful performance.

“My fastball-to-slider combo was working just like I wanted it to and made it so hard for the batters on the opponent side to know what was coming,” said Lewis. “Coach (James) Davis was calling my pitches and he and I both had a connection on what we were thinking for each batter.”

As far as the ranking, after trailing both sides’ initial trip to the plate, Lewis was proud of his team’s comeback effort.

“I think my pitcher, starter Ethan (McNish-Heider), who did an amazing job keeping them from scoring that much after the first inning, to our offense hitting the ball which then made me realize that our team is special.”

La Costa Canyon, once trailing 5-2, entered the decisive fifth on a high with its own two-out rally in the fourth. The Mavericks parlayed three walks and a two-run single by center fielder James Theodore to pull even.

The momentum-driven Mavs then retired the first pair of Eagles batters, but the visitors found a way.  But here came the Eagles.

McNish-Heider, the starting pitcher, obviously wasn’t pleased with his mound performance in the fourth. So he recovered by drilling a full-count pitch to the fence for a booming double.

Moments later, McNish reached the dish with the tie-breaking run on a clutch basehit by Lewis.

We are never out of any game whether we are losing in the first inning or the last inning,” added Lewis.

Lewis then took the mound to gain the save for McNish-Heider.

Early on, Granite Hills mounted a 3-run lead on a pair of home runs in the third.

Following a lead-off, line double to left by Jacob Embleton, Grant Mac Arthur smacked his own drive to the left side. However, his shot carried over the barrier to grab a 3-2 advantage.

Moments later, Spencer Davis smacked a hard ground single up the middle. McNish-Heider.(2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI) then drilled a home run to cap the 4-run rally.

“All around, it was a great team win glad we could pull it together,” noted Mac Arthur. “There was no way Branden was giving himself the loss on the mound after he came up there and dominated.”

Granite Hills only collected five total hits, yet four went for extra bases.

La Costa Canyon (0-1) saw Theodore drive in three on 2-for-4 hitting. The only other Mavs hit came from shortstop Kaden Bass, as the Eagles pitching combo tossed a composite 3-hitter with 10 strikeouts.

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