East County Sports

Eagles Claim First League Title Since ’19



By Adam Paul

EL CAJON – In a season that could have gone completely sideways after the head coach that started the season was fired in the middle of the season the Granite Hills Eagles instead turned things around completely and finished off league season defeating the Valhalla Norsemen 9-3 on Thursday afternoon.

The Eagles as a team before the firing of their coach had not played to their potential but were able to stay in the race for the league crown with a 3-1 record with their only league loss coming to Steele Canyon 7-6 on April 11th.

With the coaching change of Katie Salisbury a whole new attitude was unleashed and in the process, the Eagles proceeded to show why they are contenders for a CIF Championship.

Having exacted their revenge on Steele Canyon in the second game and coming from behind to beat Santana the other day the Eagles were on their way in the driver’s seat for league.

All they had to do was beat Valhalla who despite their record were a team that could pull off the victory as they had against Steele Canyon previously.

Granite Hills would strike first on a base hit by Kamryn Flath but in the process, an error by Valhalla would allow McKenna Hines to come in and score to give them a 1-0 lead.

The Norsemen despite the run scored on an error came back in the top of the third inning with a run of their own scored on an Eagles error to tie the game at 1-1.

The Eagles though would retake the lead in the bottom of the third inning on an RBI double by Audrey Smale that brought home Hannah Manoff. Later in the inning, Hines would ground out to score Kailey Sandoval to make it 3-1.

Granite Hills would break things open in the bottom of the fourth inning behind an RBI ground out by Smale, Sandoval driving in Ariana Heninger, Mia Downes following up with a base hit to center that brought home Manoff and Sandoval rounded out the scoring as she raced home on a passed ball to give them a 7-1 lead. A couple of innings later they would add another pair of runs courtesy of an RBI single by Chantelle Gonzalez and Downes would score on throw after Hines singled to center field.

Valhalla though didn’t go down without a fight and would add two runs in the top of the seventh inning thanks to Devyn Mack who belted a two-run home run to right field scoring Avery Voth in the process. The home run by Mack was her fifth of the season.

Mack who started for the Norsemen took the loss. On the day she allowed nine runs on twelve hits over six innings in which she walked two and struck out three.

Ashley Yeargin would earn the win for the Eagles. The starter allowed four hits and one run over four innings in which she walked one and struck out two.

Both Preslee Fink and Voth each tallied two hits for Valhalla.

Valhalla with the loss falls to 6-21 overall and 4-6 in league play. Despite the record, they sit currently in the thirteenth spot of the power rankings in Division II that are used to determine seeding for CIF Playoffs. They sit behind Mar Vista who is currently in the last spot.

Granite Hills winners of three in a row improve to 15-9 overall and 9-1 in league play. They will finish out their regular season tomorrow against Madison.

Since the coaching change in late April, the Eagles have won seven of their last nine.

GAME NOTE: The Eagles with the win claim the outright Grossmont Hills League Crown a feat they hadn’t accomplished since 2019 when they finished 10-0 under Curtis Barnes.


STEELE CANYON 11. EL CAPITAN 8 – Four runs scored in the top of the seventh were the difference as the Steele Canyon Cougars overtook and claimed a back-and-forth affair on the road over the El Capitan Vaqueros on Thursday afternoon.

An error by Steele Canyon on a hard-hit ball by Alanna Christiaens that scored Kylee Frazier would make it 1-0. The following batter Domonique Garcia would extend the lead with a double to center field to bring home Christiaens.

Steele Canyon though would answer with a run in the top of the second inning on an RBI double by Makenzie Myers that allowed Bailey Evans to plate to make it 2-1.

The Vaqueros would score another run in the bottom of the second inning when Frazier drove in Kameron McDaniel to give them a 3-1 lead.

However, the Cougars in the top of the third inning would take their first lead of the game all with two outs. The first run came when Tevia Cohen walked to bring home Hailey Trujillo which was followed by a bases-clearing double by Myers that scored Kayala Hopkins, Danika Lakin, and Cohen to give them a 5-3 lead.

El Capitan though would answer back in the bottom of the third thanks to a pair of home runs by Christiaens to lead off the inning and Alyssa Fierro whose jack to right field tied the game at 5-5. Later in the inning with two outs Ciara Bernardini drove in McDaniel to make it 6-5 and Aubrey Thorne followed by drawing a bases-loaded walk to bring Quinnley Morehouse home which made it 7-5.

Despite trailing the Cougars would scratch back with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth behind a two-run single by Trujillo that brought home both Lauren Becker and Michaela Heinen to tie the game at 7-7.

El Capitan later in the bottom of the sixth inning would again retake the lead 8-7 when McDaniel drove in Sofia Simone.

Down to their final outs, Steele Canyon trailed by a run but that didn’t stop them as Kamea Seunarine led off with a base hit. She would be lifted for Kallan Shaw as a pinch runner, the next batter Becker would hit a ball that was misplayed by the Vaqueros allowing Shaw to advance to third base and Becker to reach safely. With runners at the corners, Marina Gonzalez came up and on a 2-0 count raked the next pitch center field for a base hit scoring Shaw to tie the game and Becker would advance to third base.

Steele Canyon would take the lead on a fielder’s choice by Trujillo and Lakin would lay down a bunt single a couple of batters later that allowed Trujillo to score making it 10-8. They would add another run on an RBI single by Isabella Azevedo.

Marina Gonzalez would come out and despite a lead walk to start the bottom of the seventh inning would retire the next three batters which included two strikeouts to end the game.

Gonzalez would get the win for the Cougars. She would allow seven runs on twelve hits over five innings in which she walked three and struck out six. Bailey Evans tossed two innings in which she allowed one run on one while walking one.

Shelby Vars started for the Vaqueros. She would allow seven runs on eight hits over three innings in which she walked five and struck out two. Alyssa Cole tossed four innings of relief in which she allowed four runs on nine hits while walking two and striking out four.

Steele Canyon with the win has now won four games in a row and moves to 18-6-1 overall and 8-2 in league play while El Capitan falls to 12-12-4 overall and 4-6 in league play.


SANTANA 1, HELIX 0 – An early run scored by the Santana Sultans was all that was needed as strong pitching made it stand up the rest of the way to claim the win over the Helix Highlanders on Thursday.

Ashlyn Darrow would drive in the lone run in the top of the first inning when she grounded out to second base allowing McKenna Miller to race home.

Aurelia Dawson would pick up the win for the Sultans as she allowed zero runs on four hits over seven innings in which she walked three and struck out eight.

For Helix, Lauren Farace would take the hard-luck loss as she allowed one run on four hits over four innings in which she walked two and struck out three.

Kaitlyn Ruckle, Emma Schneider, Delaney Smith, and Darrow each tallied hits for the Sultans.

For the Highlanders, Farace had a pair of hits, and Clarissa Torres and Ta’Tiannah Wright had the other two hits.

Santana with the win moves to 11-15 overall and 3-7 in league play while Helix dropped their sixth game in a row to fall to 8-16 overall and 2-8 in league play.