Granada Hills baseball stays undefeated in league play in 3-1 win over El Camino Real

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The El Camino Real Royals traveled to Granada Hills on Wednesday, April 19, 2023 looking to snap a four-game losing streak against the league rival Highlanders. Facing a first place Granada Hills team that was undefeated in the West Valley League, the Royals fought hard in a tough road battle against the Highlanders. However, the Royals valiant effort wasn’t enough to overcome the Highlanders, as Granada Hills pulled ahead in the bottom of the 3rd inning and never looked back, winning a close matchup, 3-1. The Highlanders have now won their third in row, improving their record to 16-5 overall and 9-0 in league play. The Royals fell to 8-12-1 on the season and 3-4-1 in the West Valley League.

Junior pitcher Collin Azoy took the mound for Highlanders against senior pitcher Oscar Lopez for the Royals in a battle of two left-handed pitchers. Early on in the top of the 1st inning, Azoy started slowly, allowing a hit and a walk. He was able to weather the storm to get out of the inning without giving up a run, despite two wild pitches in the inning.

The game remained scoreless until Azoy got into a jam in the top of the 3rd inning, changing the tide of the game. Down to the last out of the inning, he proceeded to give up three consecutive walks. With the bases loaded, El Camino Real was able to go ahead 1-0 after junior outfielder Braden Sellz was hit by a pitch. The Royals were only able to come away with one run in the inning after Azoy was finally able to get the last out to close the inning.

Without panic, the Highlanders responded to the early deficit. With junior left fielder Tristan Jennings already on base, junior second baseman Jackson Lyons turned the tide of the game with a double, scoring Jennings to tie the game 1-1. On the next at bat, junior center fielder Diego Monreal brought Lyons home with a single of his own, giving Granada Hills a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 3rd. After Azoy put up another scoreless inning in the top of the 4th, Lopez allowed a walk and a double, which led to a sacrifice fly from sophomore catcher Alex Schmidt, scoring another run for the Highlanders to put them up 3-1.

The Highlanders did not give up another hit for the remainder of the contest, as Azoy added two more scoreless innings & junior pitcher Easton Hawk closed the game in the top of the 7th to secure the 3-1 win. Granada Hills head coach Matthew Matuszak credits Lyons for igniting the turnaround, “Clutch hitting. He’s been a bulldog for us all year”, he said “takes a great team approach at the plate, [he] was outstanding for us.” Coach Matuszak wants his team to understand the importance of consistency as they enter the final strength. “We play really, really good at times, and then we have some lapses. We just gotta put it all together and play a complete game.” These two teams will play each other again on Friday, as the Royals will look to end their skid on their home field against the Highlanders.

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