After losing to California on Wednesday for its first loss, Granada responded with an 8-4 win over De La Salle to clinch at least a share of the East Bay Athletic League. Oregon commit Casey Soltis went 2-for-3 with a double and a triple.
The pitcher's duel from the first meeting turned into an offensive display on Friday. Granada got the scoring started when Solits knocked a triple into the right field corner and plated two runs, which both reached base on Spartan errors. Craig Woolson drove Soltis home on a groundout to second base. De La Salle countered with two in the bottom of the first highlighted by a triple from Hunter Mercado-Hood. He came around to score on a single from junior left-fielder Ben Polshuk and Chris Williams added a sacrifice fly.
"Our philosophy is you can't be scared to hit with two strikes," Granada head coach Corrigan Willis said. "In a two strike count, you just have to battle." Granada scored six of their eight runs off two strike at-bats.
Granada pushed its lead to 5-2 in the fourth inning behind RBI singles from Matt Richards and Jordan Thraikill in knocking out De La Salle starter Alex Ross. De Salle stayed close in the bottom of the fourth when ninth place hitter Justin Flatt had a two run single to left field.
The Matadors surged ahead in the fifth when Vince Fernandez and Dan Whitney had back-to-back RBI doubles. Leading 7-4, Granada starter Anthony Olmo settled in and ended the game with three scoreless innings. Granada added an insurance run in the seventh with a RBI single from Whitney.
"This team responded very well. That was a tough loss. We played kind of on the defensive on Wednesday. Today, we came out the opposite," Willis said. "I love the way we responded today. That's an indicator of what kind of team we've got."
Granada (21-1) ends the year with Monte Vista and Livermore next week while De La Salle (15-7) finishes up the regular season with Livermore and California. The winner of the Spartans and California on May 16 should have the inside track for the No. 2 seed in the North Coast Section Division I playoffs.
Olmo threw a complete game in tallying 120 pitches. He gave up nine hits, four runs, a walk, a hit batter and two strikeouts. The senior righty has the stuff starting with a fastball with some velocity and a big breaking ball. All of his pitches have movement, but harnessing it is the big question. He threw 74 pitches through four innings before settling down.
Soltis showed his pull power with two extra base hits to right field and made a nice play coming in for a ball to end the second inning.
In an outfield with three Division I recruits, Fernandez is tabbed as the centerfielder. He had a double to a deep dead center at De La Salle in going 1-for-3 with a strikeout and walk. Nice pickup for UC Riverside.
Mercado-Hood (San Diego) had a well struck ball to left field for a triple to lead off the game for the Spartans. He added a sliding catch in right field and went 1-for-4 at the plate.