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Sam Garewal’s shutout scores CIF DII baseball title for Canyon Crest

Canyon Crest Academy's catcher Ethan Swidler jumps into the arms of pitcher Sam Garewal after winning Division II title.
(Hayne Palmour IV/For The U-T)

La Costa Canyon takes Open, Mission Bay wins Division IV

Sam Garewal struck out 16 Torrey Pines hitters in one game. He threw a one-hitters against Open Division finalist La Costa Canyon and La Jolla Country Day in the playoffs.

But the Canyon Crest Academy left-hander has never been better than he was Friday afternoon in the San Diego Section Division II championship game.

Pitching before a full house at UC San Diego, the Northwestern-bound Garewal allowed just one hit — a clean single to center by Khalyl Perez in the third inning — struck out 11, didn’t walk a batter and shut out No. 2-seeded Montgomery 2-0.

Garewal had just one three-ball count, needed only 77 pitches and retired the last 15 Aztecs (22-8) he faced.

“I felt pretty good,” the 6-foot-5 Garwel said. “I think this was on par with some of the special games I’ve thrown.

“Everything was working — slider, change up, even mixed in a few slurves.”

His fastball velocity was 89-91, which is also on par for him.

“This is special,” Garewal said of winning the championship. “We’ve got a bunch of crazy guys on this team … and I love it.

“This group has been together since Little League. We have a great vibe.”

Garewal’s record improved to 6-2. He now has 130 strikeouts in 692/3 innings. He lowered his ERA to 1.30.

Garewal had a strikeout in every inning but the third, and struck out two in the first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Fittingly, the last two outs of the game were strikeouts.

“Sam was firing on all cylinders,” said CCA coach Ryan Mikkonen. “That’s what we’ve seen all year.

“The moment wasn’t too big for him.”

Canyon Crest (24-8), which won the first baseball championship in school history, got all the runs Garewal would need in the fourth inning.

After two were out, Mark Selecky walked and Andrew Becker singled to center. That brought up light-hitting Marco Lombardi. Batting eighth in the lineup and hitting .220 on the season with just two extra-base hits to his credit — both doubles, Lombardi drove a fastball over the center fielder’s head, driving in two on a stand-up triple.

“No. Never,” Lombardi said when asked if he had ever had a bigger hit. “The bottom of the lineup clutched up. This was our moment. I got a fastball down the middle and put my best swing on it.

“Sam was amazing. He’s so special. Such a great guy.

“Yes, 100 percent, I knew once we scored we didn’t need much more offense to win.

“Sam is kind of bigger than life. He’s able to do what he wants on the field.”

Canyon Crest advances to the Southern California Regionals with the pairings announced late Sunday and play starting Tuesday.

“That should be fun,” Mikkonen said. “Sam won’t be ready to pitch, but we won a bunch of games he didn’t pitch, so we’ll be OK.We’ve had a lot of different guys step up during the season and the playoffs. So we’ll enjoy this and see what happens next week.”

Open Division

La Costa Canyon 10, Granite Hills 3 (8): La Costa Canyon got a dramatic game-tying HR in the top of the seventh inning, then scored seven runs in the top of the eighth to stun top-seeded Granite Hills and win the San Diego Section Open Division championship.

LCC’s first five batters in the eighth reached base on two hits, a walk and a pair of Granite Hills errors. Caden Goldman drove in one run, Dylan Fishbough drove in two and Paul Jacob three in the inning.

Roni Chute, who threw 26 pitches in the first inning, giving up three runs, pitched 71/3 innings before yielding to Gabe Camacho, who got the final two outs of the game.


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