Rancho Bernardo pitcher Matt Osborne and catcher Alex Jackson celebrate the Broncos’ Open Division title. Osborne, who is 12-0 this season, recorded the save. Jackson homered for the game’s first run.
Casey Henderson had been in a San Diego Section baseball championship three times before Saturday night, winning two and losing in 12 innings last season.
“I’ve been on both sides, winning and losing,” said Henderson, the starting pitcher in top-seeded Rancho Bernardo’s 4-2 Open Division title-game win over Granite Hills at USD’s Fowler Park on prom night for both schools.
“I know what it feels like to lose. Winning feels a lot better.”
Henderson, who improved to 7-1, worked the first six innings before giving way to staff ace Matt Osborne.
Osborne, who is 12-0 on the season and made his first relief appearance of season, set the second-seeded Eagles (25-10) down in the seventh to record the save.
“This wasn’t the time to hold back,” Osborne said. “I had to go all out. This was the last inning of my senior year, and I was going to walk off a winner.”
Alex Jackson’s 14th home run of the season started the scoring.
The RB junior banged a ball off the right-field foul pole in the first inning, which after much discussion among the umpires, was ruled a home run.
Television replays and Granite Hills right fielder Josh Rose confirmed the call.
“It felt good off the bat,” Jackson said. “I thought it had a chance to get out.”
Jackson’s bases-loaded infield single and a throwing error in the second accounted for two Rancho Bernardo (30-5) runs and a 3-0 lead.
Granite Hills battled back on a Daniel Vazquez RBI single in the fifth and Jayson Rose’s RBI single in the sixth.
RB made it a two-run lead in the sixth when Preston Sands doubled and Drew Davis drove him in with a single to right.
“It was hard to control my emotions,” Henderson said. “But I was able to settle in and relax.
“I left a couple of balls up in the zone, but in the end, I knew I had Osborne behind me. He has been great all year. I was absolutely comfortable with him finishing up.”
The win was Rancho Bernardo’s seventh championship under coach Sam Blalock, who won four titles at Mt. Carmel.
“Before the season, I thought these were the two best teams in the county,” Blalock said after winning the season series over Granite Hills, two games to one.
“Granite Hills is tough, very well-coached.
“But we had Casey Henderson ready, and Casey is a clutch baseball player. He’s not afraid to come inside. Osborne said he had an inning in him, so we asked him to finish.
“Winning never gets old, but it means a lot to win with this team. It’s a great group. And I have a great staff.
“We were able to uphold the RB tradition.”