The Grossmont Griffins baseball team (17-1) has an excellent opportunity to extend its two-game lead in the Pacific Coast Conference Standings by going for their second consecutive sweep in a three-game series against bitter rival, San Diego City College (7-8).
Stepping up to the mound for Coach Abshier in game one was trusted arm, Tim Holdagrafer in his 10th start of the year. Holdagrafer currently posts an ERA of 2.86 with 52 strikeouts over 56 and two-thirds innings.
Looking to improve from his last start in which he allowed six runs in five innings against San Diego Mesa, Holdagrafer did that and more. The freshman put a smile on his coach’s face by pitching into the eighth inning and only allowing one runner to cross the plate for the City Knights. Holdagrafer would end up getting his fifth win of the year and sending six batters back to the dugout shaking their heads.
This series was unlike others for the Griffins in that there was not the normal blow-out win. Along with that, the Griffins weren’t as sure-handed as usual, having three errors in game one.
However a couple things happened right on cue. Noah Strohl was able to put the Griffins up early in the bottom of the first inning, sending a two-run rocket over the left field wall, his eighth of the year.
Second baseman Reece Hernandez did his job in the lineup, going 3-4 on the day while scoring twice. Trevor Beard also had a nice day himself with two hits and an RBI.
With help from reliever Hayden Shenefield who notched his first save of the year, the Griffins beat the San Diego City Knights 4-1 in game one.
Game two was quite the pitchers duel, perhaps one of the best outings of the year for the Griffins and Knights pitching staffs. Hayden Shenefield started his first game of the year for Grossmont while City Knight starting pitcher Garret Yocum met the Griffin batters 60 feet, six inches.
Hayden Shenefield was like fine wine, getting better as the innings passed. It turned out that Trevor Beard’s two-RBI single was just enough for the Griffins to have the advantage in game two.
Shenefield tossed a complete game, three-hit-shutout while striking out 16 batters, yes sixteen batters. To end the game, Shenefield struck out the side twice, five of the batters he faced were sent down looking and the other flailed on a fastball.
One of the most amazing aspects of Shenefield’s game was the fact that he didn’t allow a single walk in the 30 batters he faced.
Yocum was just as good for the Knights as well. It’s a shame that such a stunning performance was not aided by his hitters. Beard’s hit was one of his only flaws in his outing, going the distance for a complete game and giving up five hits.
The Griffins take game two of the series with a 2-0 win thanks to the remarkable performance of Hayden Shenefied with his third win of the year. I imagine that Abshier might use Shenefield later on in the season as a starter due to the eyebrows he raised.
Following up Shenefield was McCrystal’s stellar performance. For the second consecutive game, Abshier didn’t need to gesture toward his bullpen as McCrystal tossed a complete game.
The Griffins took the upper hand again in another pitchers duel. In inning one, Reece Hernandez was able to score after a throwing error by the Knight infield. Hernandez put his name in the stat book again in the second inning singling to left field with the bases loaded to score Michael Diffley.
The Griffins two runs was enough for McCrystal which was no surprise. Despite giving up a RBI double, it was smooth sailing for the UNLV commit. Sophomore McCrystal earned a win while striking out five batters over nine innings.
Starting pitcher Frank Lopez for the Knights was just as, if not more impressive. Lopez would end his day wth nine strikeout but his inconsistency seemed to be his achilles heel, walking five batters.
The Griffins with their second series sweep in a row after their 2-1 win now have a 17-1 conference record, firmly in first place in the PCAC with no signs of budging.
At home, the Grffins are nearly indestructible with a 10-1 record.
The next home contest for Abshier’s ball club is a non-league game against West LA on Tuesday, April 11 at 2 p.m.