Home World How Granada held off St. Mary’s-Stockton to win Division I title

How Granada held off St. Mary’s-Stockton to win Division I title

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LIVERMORE — When pitcher A.J. Hattaway retired the final batter in Granada’s 6-4 win over St. Mary’s-Stockton, the packed crowd at the Livermore school’s home field rejoiced with happiness. 

In what ended up being a dogfight until the very last out, Granada capped off its magical season by hoisting a CIF NorCal Division I championship trophy and becoming the first public school to win a Division I regional championship in its three-year history. 

“It was a great way to end the season, for sure,” said Granada senior and East Bay Athletic League MVP Parker Warner. “I wouldn’t want to do it with any other group of guys. I’ve been playing with these guys since I was 7 years old. It’s a great feeling.”

Granada's A.J. Martinez #24 hoists the NorCal Division I championship trophy after a 6-4 victory over St. Mary's-Stockton at Granada High School in Livermore, Calif., Saturday, June 1, 2024. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Granada’s A.J. Martinez #24 hoists the NorCal Division I championship trophy after a 6-4 victory over St. Mary’s-Stockton at Granada High School in Livermore, Calif., Saturday, June 1, 2024. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

Warner had an RBI double that knocked in two runs. Tommy Brown and Nate Brown each had an RBI single. 

In his 16th year as Granada’s head coach, Corrigan Willis has reached the mountain top.

In just one season, Willis has led Granada to an EBAL championship, North Coast Section Division I title and a win in the NorCal D-I regional final in what will be remembered as one of the greatest seasons by a Bay Area high school baseball team.

“We had talent,” Willis said. “This team had great senior leadership. Guys accepted lesser roles than they were used to. When you put all those things together, good things are going to happen.”

Early on, Granada looked like it was going to run away with the game. 

In the second inning, the Matadors capitalized on three St. Mary’s errors. 

With two outs and the bases loaded, Nate Brown brought home Riley Winchell on an RBI single to center field. A.J. Martinez was stopped at third, but after a throw went past the St. Mary’s catcher, Willis signaled the second baseman home to give Granada a 2-0 lead. 

In the next at-bat, Peyton Richards scored on a throwing error by the St. Mary’s third baseman, pushing the Granada lead to three. 

Warner capped off the inning by doubling down the right-field line to score Nate Brown and Tommy Brown, making it 5-0 heading to the third inning. 

At that point, the Granada crowd broke out the “this game’s over” chants while the Matadors celebrated in their dugout. 

But St. Mary’s wasn’t going to lay down. 

In the top of the fourth, the Rams scored their first run of the game when Alex Escalante’s single drove in Dax Hardcastle. In the next at-bat, Tanner Grove’s RBI single scored Escalante and catcher Tyson Reis to cut the Granada lead to 5-3. 

Things didn’t get better for the Matadors in the fifth. 

St. Mary’s shortstop Brady Errecart hit a single that put Rolen Reyes on third base with no outs. 

With the game hanging in the balance, Granada made the decision to relieve starter Jake Sekany. 

Left-handed pitcher Luke Palma came into the game for Sekany and recorded an out on one pitch. Then, Willis inserted senior reliever A.J. Hattaway to close out the rest of the game. 

Hardcastle’s sacrifice fly brought home Reyes to cut the deficit to 5-4, but it would get any closer. 

In St. Mary’s two previous NorCal playoff games during the week, the Rams withstood deficits, halted comeback attempts and made late rallies against Valley Christian and Archbishop Mitty. 

But Granada was determined to not let that happen on Saturday. 

“We knew we had to come together as a team,” Tommy Brown said. “We just had to stick together if we were going to win this game.”

After Hattaway retired three straight batters in the sixth, the Matadors found a way to score one last time in their half of the inning. 

Tommy Brown found a gap in center field to drive in Tyler Kardy from third, giving Granada a 6-4 advantage going to the seventh. 

Granada's Tommy Brown #9 drives in the Matadors final run with a sixth inning, RBI single against St. Mary's-Stockton in the NorCal Division I championship game at Granada High School in Livermore, Calif. Granada won 6-4. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Granada’s Tommy Brown #9 drives in the Matadors final run with a sixth inning, RBI single against St. Mary’s-Stockton in the NorCal Division I championship game at Granada High School in Livermore, Calif. Granada won 6-4. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

Needing three outs to seal the win for his school, Hattaway started to feel the pressure of the moment.

“I was nervous,” the senior reliever said about entering the seventh inning. “But me and pitching coach Jason Sekany talked about the batters before I got out there. We just did what we needed to do.”

Hattaway made the final inning look easy. He retired the first two batters he faced and recorded his final out when St. Mary’s lined out to Warner in left field.

When Warner caught the final out of the game, the Matadors rejoiced. Granada finished the season with a 32-1 record with its only loss coming to Amador Valley in April. 

In what will go down as one of the most dominant high school teams in the Bay Area, Granada beat the likes of De La Salle, Clovis-West, Acalanes, James Logan, Pittsburg, College Park, San Ramon Valley, Cardinal Newman and Liberty — all of which made the section or regional playoffs. 

“There’s no better feeling than right now,” Winchell said. “We grinded through every single part of the season and we just worked our tails off all the time.”

Granada High Principal Clark Conover is surrounded by by the school's baseball team after they won the NorCal Division I championship game against St. Mary's-Stockton, Saturday, June 1, 2024, in Livermore, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Granada High Principal Clark Conover is surrounded by by the school’s baseball team after they won the NorCal Division I championship game against St. Mary’s-Stockton, Saturday, June 1, 2024, in Livermore, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
Granada celebrates their 6-4 victory over St. Mary's-Stockton in the NorCal Division I championship game at Granada High School in Livermore, Calif., Saturday, June 1, 2024. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Granada celebrates their 6-4 victory over St. Mary’s-Stockton in the NorCal Division I championship game at Granada High School in Livermore, Calif., Saturday, June 1, 2024. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
Granada starting pitcher Jake Sekany throws over to 1st base on a pick-off attempt against St. Mary's-Stockton in the NorCal Division I championship game at Granada High School in Livermore, Calif. Granada won 6-4. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Granada starting pitcher Jake Sekany throws over to 1st base on a pick-off attempt against St. Mary’s-Stockton in the NorCal Division I championship game at Granada High School in Livermore, Calif. Granada won 6-4. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
St. Mary's-Stockton's Rolen Reyes slides safely into 2nd base ahead of the tag of Granada's Jake Sekany in the fifth inning of the NorCal Division I championship game at Granada High School in Livermore, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
St. Mary’s-Stockton’s Rolen Reyes slides safely into 2nd base ahead of the tag of Granada’s Jake Sekany in the fifth inning of the NorCal Division I championship game at Granada High School in Livermore, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
Fans watch through and above the left field fence as Granada's Tyler Kardy fields a hit by St. Mary's-Stockton during the NorCal Division I championship game at Granada High School in Livermore, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Fans watch through and above the left field fence as Granada’s Tyler Kardy fields a hit by St. Mary’s-Stockton during the NorCal Division I championship game at Granada High School in Livermore, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 



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