East County Sports

Open: Granite Hills takes 1-vs.-2 battle

Photo by Suzanne Whitman



ECS staff report

EL CAJON — Ethan McNish-Heider became the eighth member of the top-ranked Granite Hills Eagles to smack multiple home runs this season, helping the Eagles take a 4-1 triumph over No. 2 Santana in a playoff battle between the top two ballclubs in the CIF San Diego Section.

The Open Division winners bracket final lifts Granite Hills into the championship semifinal, receiving two opportunities to advance to the section title game.

Meanwhile, Santana faces an immediate elimination contest on the road Saturday at 11 a.m, A victory means the Sultans would need to defeat the Eagles twice next week in the double-elimination phase of the tournament in order to play for the single-game, section championship.

Indeed, this was a huge meeting between Grossmont Hills League rivals to determine the region’s top high school baseball team.

In a nail-biting pitchers’ duel between the Eagles sophomore Chandler Henry and Santana’s Caleb Harris, the parade of zeros dominated the scoreboard until the fifth inning when McNish-Heider,a senior left fielder, capped a 4-run rally with his 2-run homer.

The rally featured four of Granite Hills’ five hits, but more importantly, three of the hits went for extra bases. Santana finished with just two base hits.

With one down, consecutive doubles by Jacob Embleton and cleanup hitter Camden Sos opened the scoring. Embleton went to left field, while Sos went to the right side, then scored on a basehit by Spencer Davis — hard ground single up the middle.

McNish-Heider followed by fouling off a 2-0pitch, then delivered the ensuing pitch beyond the barrier in left.

Meanwhile, Henry moved to within an out of a complete game, but then needed some late assistance.

A last-ditch Santana effort in the seventh saw the visitors load the bases with a pair of walks sandwiched around a hit batsman.

No. 9 hitter Jason Gonzalez (2-for-3) followed with an RBI single, which snapped the shutout bid but also turned over the lineup card.

However, Eagles relief pitcher Brenden Lewis garnered the save with a strikeout. Lewis, East County’s runaway leader with six saves, is expected to easily capture the region’s Fireman of the Year award.

Henry finished his 6.2 innings by allowing just one Santana hit, striking out five Sultans batters.

Gonzalez registered his other basehit with a one-out single in the sixth to snap Henry’s bid for a no-hitter. The left fielder also stole a base.

Granite Hills (23-5) overall will host the winner of Saturday’s challenger bracket finale between Santana and Rancho Bernardo. The contest will be held Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

Open Division
Rancho Bernardo 8 Helix 2
RANCHO BERNARDO — Rancho Bernardo’s Ehee Lee and Josh Hartman both batted 2-for-4 with two RBI, powering the Broncos past visiting Helix in a CIF Open Division elimination contest Wednesday (May 20).

The Highlanders (16-12), the runner-up in the Grossmont Hills League and the 8th-seed among the eight teams in the most elite division in the CIFSDS,, were eliminated in two games.

An early Helix run in the first inning were quickly countered by eight straight Broncos runs in innings 2-to-4.

Meanwhile, RB pitcher Tyler Arnold, a sophomore, overcame his slow start to toss a complete-game, 6-hitter. The sophomore struck out six Scotties batters, with one of the run unearned.

Rancho Bernardo (19-11 overall) advances to Saturday’s challenger bracket finale by hosting Santana at 11 a.m. The victory then will meet Granite Hills, needing two wins over the Eagles to gain a berth in the section championship contest.


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