May 28, 2024

Jackson Lyons’ Granada Hills High jersey was covered in dirt from a head-first slide in the fifth inning after his two-run triple gave the Highlanders the lead against Birmingham on Thursday.

“We had worked so hard for that moment,” he said. “That slide captured it all.”

Granada Hills’ three-run fifth-inning rally carried the Highlanders to 4-2 victory, giving them a fourth consecutive West Valley League championship and the likely No. 1 seed for the City Section Open Division playoffs when pairings are released Saturday. Birmingham (12-3) ended up losing its final three league games and finished in second place.

Birmingham had opened a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a wild pitch and a ground out. Juan Tirado hit a home run for Granada Hills (13-2) in the third. Then the Highlanders got Lyons’ clutch triple to right field, followed by an RBI single from Jack Donohoe. Collin Azoy closed with two scoreless innings.

Granada Hills pitchers Easton Hawk, Alex Schmidt and Azoy came on strong to win the league title. The Highlanders closed the regular season with a 5-0 win over Cleveland, a 2-0 win over Birmingham and Thursday’s triumph.

Now they must figure out how to do better in the playoffs. They have yet to make it to Dodger Stadium the last three seasons. Lyons knows what he’d do with his dirty shirt.

“If I make it to Dodger Stadium, this shirt is getting dirty and I’m putting it on a plaque,” he said.

Birmingham is back where it likes it — in the underdog role. For 18 years under coach Matt Mowry, the Patriots have never won a league title but won five City titles. Both teams think they could meet again on May 25 at Dodger Stadium. But Birmingham has some pitching issues, having lost its No. 2 pitcher to an arm injury. The Open Division playoffs begin Tuesday, with the top four seeds getting a first-round bye.

Cleveland 3, Taft 0: Joshua Pearlstein threw a two-hit shutout. Taft finishes in third place in the West Valley League, El Camino Real fourth and Cleveland fifth.

Softball

Garden Grove Pacifica 13, Oaks Christian 2: Kaniya Bragg had four hits and five RBIs and Brynne Nally allowed two runs in six innings for Pacifica. Bragg hit a three-run home run in the fourth. Pacifica will play JSerra in Saturday’s Division 1 semifinals.

Orange Lutheran 7, Anaheim Canyon 4: Zara Mineo finished with three RBIs and Olivia Oskorus had three hits to lead Orange Lutheran, which will play Murrieta Mesa in the semifinals. Sam Gresham had a three-run home run for Canyon.

JSerra 2, Great Oak 0: Abby Ford struck out 13 with one walk to lead JSerra. Angelina Jimenez hit a solo home run for the Lions.

Murrieta Mesa 12, Huntington Beach 0: Lilly Hauser had five RBIs and also struck out 12 and allowed one hit for Murrieta Mesa.

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