East County Sports

A walk is a walk, except to Grante

2022 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL
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By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

EL CAJON — Several interesting strategy decisions tilted the way of Granite Hills High on Wednesday (Mar. 26), earning the Eagles a berth for the championship of the Bill Dickens Memorial/GMC Tournament following a 6-3 triumph over visiting Bonita Vista.

The title-game appearance will be the second of the season for Granite Hills, although the first one — in the Aztec-Foothiller event was rained out and probably won’t be re-scheduled in a meeting against Grossmont Hills League rival Santana.

Except for an early blurb on the radar, Eagles pitchers Chandler Henry and Tanner Chandler Henry were stellar, allowing just one hit outside of the third inning. The frame saw the Barons garner two hits, an error, plus four walks– two with the bases loaded — for the Eagles to fall into a 3-0 pit.

However, the brain works of the two head coaches came into play when Granite Hills got even at 3-all in the fourth.

With two runners — Tanner Vielguth (double) and Cody Macias (walk)– in soring position, Kasey Regala hit Eagles leadoff batter Jacob Embleton with a pitch. sending slugger Grant Msc Srthur to the plate and no where to put him.

“Of course I walked Grant,” noted Barons head coach Dave Palet, who once assistant at West Hills under the late Mickey Deutschman. “Like Mick (Deutschman) always said, ‘Never let the big bat beat you.'”

Regala, owning a shutout through 3.2 innings, now needed to face Mac Arthur, who is well-known for his ability to smash the ball long distances . So instead for possibly forfeiting the lead to a grand slam, the Barons tried to pitch around.

Following two balls, Mac Arthur took a swing at a high fastball, fouling it off, which made the next two pitches extra wide and impossible to hit. The “unintentional-intentional” walk forced in a run.

Fortunately for Granite Hills, the cover man batting next behind Mac Arthur was Spencer Davis, who promptly hammered a 2-run, game-tying double to the gap against the Barons bullpen.

The rest of the way belonged to the Eagles, which moved into a possible tournament title game berth in thr  premiere division — named for legendary Granite Hills coach Gordie Thompson — which is slated for Saturday. The pairing will be officially announced on Friday morning for the 10:30 a.m. weekend start.

The Eagles’ string of seven unanswered runs continued with another 4-run rqlly in the fifth.

The table was set by Ethan McNish-Heider (lead single) and Brenden Lewis (hit by pitch).One out later, Macias’ RBI ground single through the left side gave Granite Hills the lead.

The string of consecutive RBI hits was continued by Hudson Beamon (single) and Embleton (double) made it 6-3.

In the sixth, shortstop Camden Sos opened with a single, instantly came home on a McNish-Heider triple to right.

Meanwhile, Vielguth retired six of the seven batters he faced to gain credit for the save for Henry (5 Ks).

.For the Eagles (7-2 overall), McNish-Heider (2-for-4) was the lone players for either ballclub with multiple hits. Bonita Vista fell to 4-5-1.

Following the tournament, Granite Hills will open GHL play on Mar. 22 with a home-and-away series with Grossmont.

Santana 10,
Cathedral Catholic 0

SANTEE — Buoyed by a 2-hit shutout by Koda Alto and Ethan Moutaw, the Santana Sultans posted their fourth blanking of an opponent this season in a 10-0 thumping of Cathedral Catholic in Wednesday’s (Mar. 16) final pool play affair in the Bill Dickens Memorial / GMC Tournament.

Not only was it another premiere pitching performance by Alto in his six innings of work, the bats of the Sultans (8-2 overall), which posted double-digit scoring for the second straight outing.

Advancing to second base is Santana’s Elijah Reberat 2n(front) / Ken Todd

Setting the table was Sultans leadoff batter Elijah Reber, who went 3-for-4 with two RBI, as the hosts scored in each of the first four innings to build the 10-run margin.

“Scoring 26 runs over the last two games feels great going into league,” said Reber. “The whole team has got going into league and we’re gonna keep working hard in practice to keep it that way.”

Alto needed a mere 65 itches over his six innings, forcing the Dons to keep hitting the ball into the ground, Also only had two strikeouts, but he again avoiding issuing any walks.

Moutaw then fired a 1-2-3 at “Uni” to close out the seventh.

“Our pitching staff has been phenomenal to start the season,” added Reber. “Those guys grind and it really shows.”

As for the Santana bats, there were many stadout aganst a rather young CCHS pitching staff.

“I want to shout-out Caden Corderman who has been killing it at the plate and really helping with the success we have been having,” added Reber of the player who bats behind him. “We’re gonna keep applying pressure to our opponents and do what we do to win.

Corderman belted a triple and scored twice, setting up a perfect day at the plate for cleanup hitter Caleb Harris, who went 2-for-2 with two walks and a pair of RBI.

For Santana, freshman Cody Cappelleti, the designated hitter and a recent call-up from the JV squad, posted an RBI double, then drove in another run with a ground ball up the middle. In three appearances, the frosh is batting ,400 (2-for-5).

Steele Canyon 7, Madison 2

RANCHO SAN DIEGO — In a match-up between a pair of ballclubs entering their final GMC Tournament contest with parallel records — both 6-4 — each with comparable pitching and batting statistic — even the uniforms are the same shade of navy blue.

However, despite all of those similarities, Steele Canyon was far more consistent in stopping the Madison Warhawks, 7-2, in their final contest before opening GHL action.

The Cougars (now 7-4 overall) seemed to score one run in almost every inning, and the batting order received one hit from almost every member of the starting nine.

“I had an aggressive approach coming into my ywo RBI,” said second baseman Isaias Plascencia.”I had guys in scoring position and I just knew there wasn’t an option to give up an at bat knowing our team is best and most strong when it comes to beginning of the game with aggression.”

The mindset led to a 3-1 lead in the third inning, then 5-1 by the fifth.

“I was looking for a fastball in the first at-bat,” he added. “(The Madison pitcher) gave me a high fastball which I knew that wasn’t in my zone where I could do the most damage.”

“Next pitch, h then gave me another fastball low, which I aggressively drove to where it was located. It was an inner strike that I hit towards the left field line.”

All season long, many of Steele Canyon’s hits always seem to come with two down.

“Will James had a huge 2-out, 2-RBI single after Madison walked Weston Clark to load the bases ahead of him,” noted Cougars head coach Jesse Evans. “Isaias gave us a spark off the bench in a start at second base, too.”

“For some reason, we seem to play better when we face high-level arms.”

They better be prepared — the GHL opener is against the top-rated pitching staff entering league place, Santana, in a 2-game, home-and-away series by hosting the first contest on Tuesday.


Eastlake 8, Grossmont 5 (8 inn.)

FLETCHER HILLS — Two weeks ago, the Grossmont Foothillers were among the top-ranked ballclubs in the CIF-San Diego Section.

Today?

A brain trust of the Hillers must be pulling out what’s left of their collective hair after falling to Eastlake, 8-5, in a re-match of last season’s CIFSDS Open Division championship.With it, the G-House is on an Improbable 5-game, non-winning skid (0-4-1).

The hair-pulling was prompted by a 3-run rally by the Titans in the 8th inning to break a 5-all deadlock.It was the lone setback by GHL ballclubs on the day following a 1-4 mark on Monday.

Another fantastic finish for Grossmont saw both ballclubs score twice in the seventh inning, with the Hillers runs coming when the bats arrived (again) just in time.

With one down, Anthony Box-Augustine stroked a double, coming home on consecutive basehits by J Tucker and Noah Barnes (RBI).

Eastlake sent for a relief pitcher, but his wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position, allowing J Carranza to lift a fly ball to center, allowing Tucker to trot in with the game-tying run on the sacrifice fly.

But this eight inning didn’t go way of the Hillers — and they did it to themselves.

The Titans loaded the bases on three walks (with an sacrifice bunt mixed in the middle), setting the stage for Isaiah Lane to drill a 2-run double to right field.

Titans cleanup man Matthew Duran added a sacridice fly for a 3-run cushion.

Eastlake relief pitcher Nico Libed survived a lead error by retiring the next three batters to collect the win. He pitched 1.2 innings of no-hit ball, first escaping the jam he inherited in the seventh to force extending the contest in anther thriller at Gizoni Field.

For the Titans (6-3), Ben Melendrez batted 3-for-6 with an RBI, while Nico Libed and Lane added two hits each.

Grossmont managed just six hits, including a home run by Barron Zamora. The blast  capped the first Hillers comeback to make it 3-all, as his leadoff shot came right after the defense turned an inning-ending double play.

Scripps Ranch at Helix, ppd.
LA MESA— Of course, the Scripps Ranch ballgame at Helix in the Bill Dickens Memorial/GMC Tournament was postponed until Thursday.

Why? As every fan of the Highlanders will tell you, it’s always lucky to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day!

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