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Panthers Fall to Granite Hills in Final

By David A. Willauer
Contributing Writer

San Diego CA— Vista fell short of the Division I CIF Section Baseball Champion losing 4-2 at the hands of the Eagles of Granite Hills at Torero Stadium-University of San Diego, Friday night. After two key wins over Poway, 12-9 in the first game and trailing 2-0 until the bottom of the seventh inning in the second game, Vista reached the CIF finals on a 3 RBI triple by Matt Ornelia to win 3-2. It is first time since 2012 the Vista Panthers reached the CIF finals and the first under second year head coach Ricky Imperiali. 

The Eagles (23-12) scored first in the bottom of the second as Darien Cosso doubled and scored on Sean Ross’s sacrifice fly to left field to go ahead 1-0.

The Panthers (27-7) came back in the visiting 3rd as Ethan Morris led off with a walk moved to second on a sacrifice fly and scored on Matt Ornelia’s single to the game at 1.

Granite Hills came back scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the third on RBI singles by Blake St. Clair, Josh Verden and Sean Ross as they led 4-1.

The Panthers came back again in the top of the fourth as Ivan Luna walked, moved to 2nd after the 2nd wild pitched Ivan Luna scored the second run to make the final score 4-2 in favor of Granite Hills who won their 6th overall CIF Section Title.

“We didn’t play our best game today and Granite Hills threw their two best pitchers. They were tough on us today. We didn’t swing the bats well today and just didn’t play well.”  said coach Ricky Imperiali, “In the Granite Hills  2nd and 3rd innings we scored one run in the visiting third to tie the ballgame but in the bottom of the third we hit their batter along with a couple of bloop hits that is the won the contest.”

“We needed a clutch hits to reach the bases and we had key hits in the second seventh third and fourth but that is baseball.” continued coach Ricky Imperiali  “Mike Rishelbarger has had a good year and I am very proud of him along with Andrew Geisler in relief. Granite Hills is a good ballclub. They defeated us in the Open Division last year’s CIF playoff round. I respect Coach James Davis as they always seem toreach the CIF Playoffs every year.”

Dillon Shrum was the winning pitcher for Granite Hills as his record improves to 8-3. He pitched 5 innings gave up 1 hit 2 runs 2 earned 1 walk and 4 strikeouts.

Mike Rischerbarger took the loss for Vista at 9-3 as he pitched 3 innings gave up 4 hits 4 runs 4 earned 0 walks and 2 strikeouts.

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