East County Sports

Granite scores 26; no-hitter for Helix

Helix's James Whitman.
2021-22 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL
By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

EL CAJON — The CIF-San Diego Section baseball record book was opened quite a few times on Monday (Feb. 28). No new marks were established, but some schools came close.

The nearest came after top-ranked Granite Hills tallied nine runs in the first inning, taking out the Classical Academy Caimans of Escondido, 26-4.

The scoring lone for the Eagles through three frames went “9-5-8” for a 22-0 bulge, leaving one to wonder what is the Grossmont Conference record.

It seems the CIF Record Book doesn’t have the correct information. The online file states a mark of 30 by Helix in a 1988 contest with Valhalla. However, deeper research in the archives from late ECS senior editor Bill Dickens finds a higher standard from 2011, when West Hills whipped ECVHS, 34-1.

For those wondering, the East County and section record is owned by Christian High, which placed a 48-run beat-down on La Jolla Country Day in 1977. The game took place two years before the Patriots joined the Grossmont Conference for one school year before they returned to independent status.

Also surpassing 30 runs include Borrego Springs (three times), Julian (twice), and Mountain Empire (twice).

The unofficial “large-school” mark is 37 by Rancho Bernardo in a 2011 drubbing of district rival Mt. Carmel.

As for Granite Hills, the 26 runs slaughtered the school’s 1st Century mark of 21 in a 2009 shutout of Mount Miguel. The ensuing school year — by coincidence? — the Grossmont Conference split into more competitive leagues — the current Hills and Valley alignment.

Granite Hills 26, Classical 4

EL CAJON — At least in softball, to avoid blowouts of mammoth proportions, third-base coaches will inform the base umpire that a baserunner will lead off just before the next pitch — that’s illegal in softball — to gain an automatic out to quickly end an inning.

For the visiting Caimans (a type of lizard), there was no such relief in suffering the biggest loss in the 10-year-old, Escondido-based program which had a 6-year run of more than 19 victories per year until the pandemic hit.

Well, Classical though it had earned its shot to play the big boys in this tournament affair. Let’s just say it didn’t work out well.

For the unbeaten Eagles (3-0), the boxscore shows 10 players with hits, including a game-best three by No. 9 hitting center fielder Hudson Beamon.

After the score hit 22-0, Classical (1-1) scored its runs in the fifth, only to see Eagles pinch-hitter Parker Vance answer with a grand slam to center field.

The 17-hit attack also saw both Hudson Beamon and Grant Mac Arthur belt a pair of doubles.

The winning pitcher was Tanner Vielguth, who tossed four innings of 2-hit, shutout ball before the bench was cleared.

The 26 runs by Granite Hills is the most by the ballclub in the 21st Century.

Helix 12, San Ysidro 0

LA MESA — Helix first baseman James Whitman pumped a second-inning grand slam to push the Scotties (3-0) to an early 5-0 cushion to remain unbeaten in Monday’s (Feb. 28) tournament action.

Highlanders pitchers Layton Wirschem (4 innings) and Isaac Cota (1) both struck out one batter per frame in combining for a 5-inning no-hitter of San Ysidro.

Ballclubs from the Grossmont Hills League continue outstanding starts. All five schools — Steele Canyon re-joins this season — own a composite mark of 13-1; Santana (2-1) fell in extra innings to Point Loma for the lone blemish.

After the Cougars yielded an unearned run in the first, the next inning started with a pair of Helix strikeouts. Then the fireworks started.

No. 9 hitter Cameron Tarling lined a basehit to center, David Blome was struck by a pitch, then Ben Haar loaded the bases with a sloop single over the San Ysidro first baseman.

Whitman followed with a screaming liner to left field to effectively make a winner of Wirschem. The batting order tandem of Haar-Whitman begs the question: which batter owns the advantage.

“I don’t know — it’s a dangerous 1-2 punch we have set up,” said Whitman, who will play of NCAA Division II Biola next spring. “Ben will do something and I won’t get any pocthes, or the other way around.”

A good example came in the season opener against Mater Dei Catholic.

“Ben hit a homer, then I saw six straight curveballs,” he mused. “But today, Ben gets on to load the bases, so San Ysidro had to pitch to me.”

Helix added two runs in the third, then five more in the fourth. Three Cougars outs later, the contest was called.

For Helix, Wyatt Laub, Blome, Haar, and Tarling each recorded two hits. The Scotties are one of the four unbeaten ballclubs in the GHL play.

“We’re going to have a nice, competitive year, but can come out on top if we continue to improve,” he added. “We’re trying to set a tone on what Helix baseball is.”

In other Helix baseball news, the Scotties JV squad also pitched a no-hitter against the Cougars, winning at San Ysidro, 16-0.

Grossmont 13, Mater Dei Catholic 1

CHULA VISTA — In a score that could actually hurt the Foothillers among tie-breaker applications, the Grossmont Foothillers remained unbeaten in pool play with a 3-0 mark after whipping host Mater Dei Catholic, 13-1, Monday (Feb. 28).

However, the score could prove to be hurtful. Last week, MDC was downed by Helix, 16-1, meaning the Scotties now have a 3-run advantage over their GHL rivals in order to determine which ballclub advances to the championship game.

Still, no one on the Hillers was complaining by keeping the Crusaders winless in three starts after Grossmont scored in six of their seven trips to the plate.

Meanwhile, senior left-hander Mason Dirkes, coming off an Opening Day performance of one unearned run over six innings, limited MDC to an unearned run in five frames to lower his ERA to a stellar 0.64 over his two starts.

An array of underclassmen continue to stroke hot bats. Included are junior River Diaz De Leon and sophomore Jacob Lanza with three hits each. For Diaz De Leon, his 3-for-4 outing included three RBI and a pair of runs scored.

Mater Dei Catholic has now been out-scored, 34-4, in three starts.

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