East County Sports

Granite Hills claims ‘Battle of Champions’



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

EASTLAKE—.The “battle of champions” went way of the Granite Hills Eagles. Buoyed by four hits from senior standout Grant Mac Arthur, s the defending CIFSDS Division I champions took a gate-to-wire triumph over reigning Open Division titlist Eastlake, 10-6, Wednesday (Mar. 9) in this eastern Chula Vista community.

The Eagles (5-1 overall) led all the way, but a pair of rallies by the Titans made things interesting, attempting to climb out an 8-0 hole after the first two innings.

Granite Hills saw the game’s opening five batter reach base, then the ensuing sixth batter recorded an RBI on a ground out. In all, four hits — including RBI doubles by Camden Sos and Tanner Vielguth — and a pair of walks paved the way for a 5-0 lead.

An inning later, Ethan McNish-Heider drove in a run on a single to left,which was booted to allow an additional rtwo runs to come home for an 8-run cushion.

That was enough for a trio of Eagles pitchers, who protected the lead by pumping fastballs.

Eastlake took advantage some of the plain assortment of pitches, including a 2-run homer by shortstop Isaiah Lane (2-for-3) in the third and a 2-run single by Nico Libed in the fifth, but the lead was too great.

Mac Arthur capped his 4-hit, 3-run performance with a solo home run in the seventh.

Also for Granite Hills, Brenden Lewis pitched the final 2.1 innings for the save.

In other action involving some Grossmont Hills League teams:

Steele Canyon 2, Scripps Ranch 1
SCRIPPS RANCH —.In another of several pitchers’ duels on Wednesday (Mar. 9), Steele Canyon junior Branden Jackel lasted just long enough to gain a victory in a 2-1 decision over the Scripps Ranch Falcons.

Ray Marrero drove in the winning run in the sixth for the Cougars (6-1).

Despite pitching a 4-hitter over 5.1 innings, Jackel trailed all afternoon until the Cougars plated single run in the fourth and fifth innings.

Relief picthed Cannon Restine registered the final five outs in a distinushied battle of ballclubs entering with just 1-lose each,

“It was a great battle against a high-level arm,” said Jackel. “And the defense behind me was amazing and allowed us to get a big road win.”

“I just went fastball-curveball-change-up and just tried to pitch to my strengths and locate. Our catcher, Tommy Molina, who has called a great game behind the plate, so I need to give him a ton of credit.”

Trailing 1-0 entering the fifth, the Cougars got even when Caleb Entrekin drilled a leadoff double to center off the Falcons bullpen, He scored on a one-out, line single to center by Owen McCless.

An inning later, Will Janes lined a triple over the head of the senter fielder, scoring what proved to be the winning run on a clutch two-out single up the middle by Marrero.

Connor Restine tossed the final 1.2 innings without allowing a hit to garner the impressive save.

“There is so much fight in my team this year — we grind it out,” said Steele Canyon head coach Jesse Evans. “We’ve performed better this year when we’ve known, seeing a high-level arm.”

As for the Cougars pitching, the coach added, “Jackel is announcing his presence this year. Restine has been awesome for us late in games, closing out another high-leverage situation.”

Santana 6, Bonita Vista 0

SANTEE — Santana Sultans senior pitcher Koda Alto fired a 6-hit shutout, finishing off the Bonita Vista Barons on a complete game, 6-0, in tournament action of Wednesday (Mar. 9). The ground ball specialist did record three strikeouts, otherwise, the visitors pounded the ball into the grass all afternoon.

Meanwhile Jaylen Agramont equaled a school batting record.

A potential difficulty was pitching to a pair of different catchers,ye it didn’t prove to be an obstacle.

“I trust both of our guys behind the plate and they each bring their own style to the game,” said Alto, who again did not walk a batter. It’s a blast watching them develop their craft along with me.”

“As far as pitch selection goes, I’ve really taken pride in being able to throw competitive pitches no matter what actual pitch may be.”

Alto (2-0), a 3-year member as a regular in the Santana rotation,has yielding just four earned runs in three starts this season.

“I’ve worked hard these past past years on all of my pitches and it’s really starting to show,” he added. “The defense is a big reason why I have the success that I have, but it doesn’t effect what pitch I throw or how I throw it.”

Alto’s complete game effort came on a mere 71 pitches.

“omplete games are hard to come by especially shutouts so you always have to take advantage of the opportunities you get and I believe we capitalized on the opportunity today.”

The Sultans bats found a school record-tying three doubles by junior shortstop Jayden Agramont..Included were 2-base hits in the third, fifth and seventh for the No. 9 hitter. He collected a pair of RBI and scored twice.

Meanwhile, Bonita Vista (3-4 overall) received a nice pitching performance from Anthony Lovato, who allowed just four hits in 4-plus innings.

Santana, which moves its record to 5-2, closes the homestand on Friday against Scripps Ranch.

The doubles record was first set last century by CIF-San Diego Section player of the year Jimmy Tatum — now a well-known umpire —  in 1984. The section record of four is shared by five ballplayers including Christian’s Jim Hunter (vs. La Jolla Country Day in 1977) and Kevin Nultonof El Capitan (vs. Valhalla in 1997).

Nulton, the 2000 Easty County player of the year,  remains in the top five for total hits in section history.


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