East County Sports

Rose blooms Eagles to SoCal semifinals



By Adam Paul

EL CAJON (5-31-22) – Behind 12 hits including a trio of home runs and strong pitching from Taylor Rose, the Granite Hills Eagles claimed a 9-1 victory over the Calexico Bulldogs in CIF SoCal Division III regional quarterfinals on Tuesday afternoon.

The Eagles, who were coming off the school’s second CIF championship after claiming an 8-4 decision over the Poway Titans, were awarded the top seed in the regional bracket.

The Calexico Bulldogs, who were coming off of a 4-2 victory over the Holtville Vikings in Saturday’s CIFSDS Division IV championship, were awarded the eighth seed and riding a 10-game winning streak. However, they were no match for the Eagles as they were limited to one run and three hits.

Granite Hills got their bats going early thanks to back-to-back singles by Sofia Mujica (3-4, 2 R, RBI, HR) and Kailey Sandoval (3-4, 3 R, RBI, 2B, HR) who had the clutch hit on Saturday against the Titans. Both would come around and score when Audrey Smale (2-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2B, SB) roped a double to center field to make it 2-0, a couple of batters later Kamryn Flath (1-3, 2 RBI, 2B) would double in both Smale and Chloe Knepp (1-2, R, RBI, 2B) to extend the lead to 4-0 and later with two outs Kaleigh Baugher (1-3, RBI) would drive in Taylor Rose (1-3, R) to round out the scoring.

They would add another pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning to push their lead to 7-0. The first run came when Mujica with one out launched her 15th home run of the season over the center-field fence and later in the inning with two outs Knepp would double in Sandoval.

Granite Hills leading by a comfortable margin in the bottom of the fourth inning would add to their lead when Sandoval and Smale each belted their first homers of the season to make it 9-0.

Calexico not wanting to be shut out would finally get on the board in the top of the sixth inning with a solo home run.

Anahi Lopez would take the loss for the Bulldogs. She surrendered four runs on five hits over three innings, striking out one and walking none. Starting pitcher Valeria Ruiz only lasted an inning in which she allowed five runs on six hits while striking out one and walking one on the day.

For the Eagles, Rose would earn her complete-game pitching victory…She would allow one run on three hits and fanning nine Calexico batters..

The Calexico Bulldogs with the loss finish their season 24-8 and are eliminated from the playoffs.

Granite Hills (20-12-1 overall) moves on to the regional semifinals, hosting the Saints of Long Beach-St. Anthony, who defeated Burbank-Burroughs, 4-2, in their first-round contest. The Saints are out of the Del Rey League and finished as the champions with a record of 9-0. They also lost their CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championship contest to Tesoro. 9-1.

The CIF SoCal regional semifinals will be played at Granite Hills on Thursday at 4 p.m. Should the Eagles win, they will also host thte title game opn Saturday.


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