SPRING VALLEY — When Rob Phillips took over the Monte Vista High School baseball program, which won just five games last season and finished last in the nine-team Grossmont League with one victory, he knew there would be some tough days ahead.
Tuesday was one of those days.
Granite Hills, a traditional league power, crushed Monte Vista, 17-0, on a five-hitter by Jon Rice at Monte Vista. The game brought the young Monarchs back to the reality of baseball in the always-tough Grossmont League.
Monte Vista (8-7 overall, 1-2 in league play) won four straight games last week to reach the AAA division semifinals of the 38th Lions tournament. The Monarchs lost, 10-3, in the semifinals to eventual champion Mt. Carmel, but the tournament victories helped Monte Vista surpass its victory total for all of last year.
The tournament was a positive sign for the Monte Vista program, especially considering that the Monarchs started three sophomores and three juniors against Granite Hills. But Monte Vista's youth and inexperience showed Tuesday.
"We had a really good tournament, but we have to be able to bounce back," Phillips said. "Being able to bounce back is the sign of a good team. Especially after an embarrassing loss like this."
Granite Hills (8-4, 2-1) started its onslaught in the first inning when catcher Pete Stacey hit a three-run homer to center field off sophomore Vern Mullis. Granite Hills added three more runs in the third on just one hit as Mullis walked two and the Monarchs committed two errors.
Granite Hills finished Mullis off in the fourth with two more runs to take an 8-0 lead. Senior K.C. Schueffer came on in relief but didn't fare much better. Schueffer gave up seven runs in the fifth inning on five hits and two errors and two more runs in the sixth to complete the scoring.
Granite Hills was led by Mike Raskind, who was 3 for 3 with a triple, 2 RBIs and a walk.