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Broncos senior dominates with arm, bat

04/17/2014, 7:43pm PDT
By John Maffei

Pitcher throws shutout, gets three hits as RB wins Lions Tournament Classic Division title


Rancho Bernardo senior Casey Henderson walked one, struck out one and needed just 66 pitches to defeat Granite Hills.

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— Good players have good days more often than average players.

“And Casey Henderson is a very good player,” said Rancho Bernardo High baseball coach Sam Blalock.

Henderson — a shortstop and pitcher — didn’t just have a good day Thursday, he had a fantastic day.

The senior hurled a three-hit shutout, had three hits and scored twice as the No. 2-ranked Broncos beat Granite Hills 6-0 at Cal State San Marcos in the Classic Division championship game of the 64th annual Lions Tournament.

Earlier in the day in a semifinal game, Henderson hit a two-run homer, then came in to pitch, getting the last two outs on a strikeout and fly to right with the tying and winning runs on base in a 3-2 win over Otay Ranch.

“I knew I was starting the second game, but the coaches told me in the fifth inning of the first game that they might need me to close,” said Henderson, who hit a home run and earned a one-inning save against St. Augustine earlier in the week.

“That home run was one of the better balls I’ve hit.

“My arm and legs were both a little dead at the end from hitting, pitching and playing shortstop for five games.”

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Henderson walked one, struck out one and needed just 66 pitches against Granite Hills (11-5). He lowered his ERA to 1.01 over 34 2/3 innings in running his record to 3-2 with three saves.

“I don’t know if he was using pixie dust or what,” said Granite Hills coach James Davis. “We’ve struggled with him before. He throws three pitches for strike.”

RB and Granite Hills have played five times over the last two seasons with the Broncos holding a 4-1 advantage.

Henderson was the winning pitcher in last year’s San Diego Section Open Division title game, a 4-2 decision over the Eagles.

Henderson retired the first 11 Granite Hills hitters Thursday before Jordan Verdan singled. Henderson got the next seven hitters before he walked Robert Bostedt to open the seventh.

Henderson got the next hitter to rap into a double play, allowed two singles before getting a grounder to end the game.

He got nine outs on ground balls and got some help from center fielder Tora Otsuka, who ran down two balls headed for the gaps.

“Control, control, control,” Blalock answered when asked about Henderson’s secret to success.

“He locates his pitches and he changes speeds. And pitches at a good pace, so his fielders are always ready.

“He’s our best shortstop, but he’s also our best pitcher.”

Rancho Bernardo (16-3) had 14 hits against Granite Hills, including a long, two-run homer by Alex Homick.

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