East County Sports

Henry climbs hurdle, retires 12 straight

2022 EAST COUNTY PREP BASEBALL

 

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

GRANITE HILLS — A laundry list of East County’s pitchers all fought through a “moment of truth” to survive and gain important victories, as Grossmont Hills League action opened Tuesday (Mar. 22).

The most egregious display came from Granite Hills right-hander Chandler Henry. Being a sophomore, many coaches might have pulled the 6-foot-5 after allowing five runs in the third inning.

However, Eagles head coach James Davis elected to stay with his No. 1 pitcher — and was rewarded.

Henry closed with 4.1 innings of shutout ball, allowing Granite Hills to rally for a 9-6 victory over visiting Grossmont.

Eagles’ third baseman Grant Mac Arthur also shined, belting a pair of 2-run homers. His bid for a third homer came with the bases loaded but just fell short, but the sacrifice fly gave him five RBI for the contest.

“I was definitely down after the third, but fought and kept grinding for the next four,” said Henry. “I didn’t know Grossmont was on such a big losing streak because they played well and are a team we had to dig deep for this win.”

“It was awesome to go all seven — I knew I had it in me.”

The Foothillers entered on a 5-game non-winning streak. After sweeping five contests in the first tournament of the season, they went winless (with one tie) in tournament No. 2, so they came out with a major chip to avoid falling to the .500 plateau.

A big, early effort placed Grossmont into position to end its skid, tallying five times in the third inning, capped by a 3-run homer by River Diaz De Leon to left field, followed by a walk.

However, Henry quickly regrouped and was almost untouchable, retiring 12 consecutive Hillers batters and 13 of the final 14 to close the come-from-behind triumph.

“The difference was the attitude in the dugout after getting down by three midway into the game,” noted Henry. “We were all frustrated and would do anything to come back and win.”

.With Henry now dominating, Granite Hills reclaimed the lead with four runs in the fourth, then a pair of insurance markers in the sixth.

You want every to contribute, you got it in the fourth for the Eagles: two singles, then an out, two additional singles then a sacrifice fly, then two more singles as the Hillers couldn’t get anybody out.

The sacrifice fly came off the bat of MacArthur, who just fell short of a grand slam on his drive to center field. Still, the senior, who is headed to the University of Hawai’i in the fall, finished with five RBI.

“Our whole team has contributed this season — it’s no solo effort,” added MacArthur.

In what may be the most competitive league in the CIF-San Diego Section, one triumph does not make a pennant. However, Granite Hills looks forward to its remaining meeting with Grossmont, the defending GHL champion.

“We have the team to hold off everyone in our league,” added Chandler. “There’s a lot of baseball to play but we can do it.”

Chandler struck out six Hillers batters, and despite the big inning, easily managed to stay below the pitch count.

“Chandler’s one of those guys that no matter what happens you can’t count out,” noted Mac Arthur.”He always finds a way out of things. He had that rough inning, but with him, we never gave up.”

Grossmont (5-5-1 overall, 0-1 GHL) received a Jose Carranza triple in the first, coming home on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Noah Barnes.

Granite Hills (8-2, 1-0 GHL) countered on a 2-run homer by Mac Arthur in the first, then an unearned run in the second on an error and a sacrifice fly by No. 9 hitter Hudson Beamon. The senior batted 3-for-3 and scored twice.

Grossmont’s big inning also included a 2-run single by Barnes, then the bomb by Diaz De Leon.

The Eagles’ late insurance runs saw MacArthur slugged his second 2-run homer, this time to center field.

Despite Grossmont’s six runs, they finished with just five hits. Barnes and Diaz De Lon each collected three RBI.

Granite Hills saw leadoff batter right fielder Jacob Embleton score three times, while second baseman Brenden Lewis reached home twice.

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