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Granada blanks Acalanes in NCS D-I semifinals behind solid pitching performance from Parker Warner


LIVERMORE — Granada has the ability to score runs in the double-digits in any game it plays in.

But during its North Coast Section playoff run, the Livermore school has leaned into its superb pitching and rangy defense, and Acalanes saw that first-hand on Tuesday

Granada put on a stingy defensive performance and defeated the Dons 5-0 in the North Coast Section Division I semifinals to advance to the school’s first section title game in school history. The Matadors will play De La Salle in the section championship on Friday at Livermore High. 

“It’s awesome,” Brown said about advancing to the NCS title game. “It’s the perfect group of guys to do it. There’s no other way we wanted it to happen.”

Granada senior pitcher Parker Warner allowed two hits and struck out six in six innings while senior shortstop Nate Brown totaled two hits, two RBIs and a run.

Acalanes had its chance to put runs on the board in the top of the second inning. 

With an one out and a runner on second, Warner struck out Acalanes’ Ando Butner but the call was reversed to a foul tip as the first base judge ruled Butner’s bat made contact with the ball. Butner was eventually walked and one batter later, second baseman Mason Zirkel hit a single to load the bases. 

Warner got the Matadors out of the jam by striking out the ensuing batter and fielding a lineout straight to the pitcher’s mound in the next at-bat to end the inning. 

“We just kept our composure,” Warner said. “We had that strike three call switched to a foul ball. We just had to flush that frustration out and go to the next play.”

In the bottom of the inning, Granada capitalized off of Acalanes’ defensive miscues. 

Junior Peyton Richards scored the first run of the game for Granada, crossing home plate after Acalanes overthrew first base on a bunt attempt. Later in the inning, junior center fielder Tyler Kardy scored from third after the Dons failed to pick him off to give the Matadors a three-run cushion. 

Granada took a 4-0 lead going into the third inning. 

A scary moment happened in the third when an Acalanes runner slid into Brown who was covering second and trying to make a throw at first. The senior limped off the field, but eventually returned to the game and made a big impact. 

In the next inning, Brown hit a single to get to first base. He stole second and eventually reached home on a Mikey Boyd single to center field that gave the Matadors a 5-0 lead. 

The final nail in the coffin came when Brown’s single in the sixth inning knocked in Richards, giving Granada a six-run advantage. 

“I thought we had a good game plan coming into today’s game,” said Acalanes coach Connor Hornsby. “We were close to breaking it open early, but couldn’t get the timely hit we needed. Hats off to Granada. They’re a fantastic program and they’re tough to get to.”

In three section playoff games, Granada’s defense has allowed nine hits and one run. Granada’s pitchers have struck out 16 batters in that span. 

“Our pitchers have been working really hard for us,” Brown said. “We’re getting ground balls and they’re making their pitches happen. At the end of the day, it’s all on them.”

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