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Steve Randel
San Diego, California

  News of Ex Piranhas  

Ex Piranha Helps his High School Team win the Title
Ex Piranha   Brant Rustich   Win the Grossmont North Title.

   La Mesa- It all came down to one game on Tuesday afternoon. All the blood, sweat, and tears of the 2003 baseball season in the Grossmont North Conference. It was the perfect setting for what promised to be a knock-down-drag-out barn-burner which would go right down to the wire. Then came the bottom of the first Inning. It’s disheartening enough when you’re facing one of the best pitchers in the county. It’s disastrous when your club is down. 7-0, while facing him.
             Plating a septet of tallies in that fateful frame, four of which crossed on a two-strike Grand Slam by sophomore Matt Passanisi over the right centerfield fence, the grossmont Footfillers crushed the Santana Sultans at home, 11-4, to take command of the tighter-than- tight North Conference. When news came that El Capitan had demolished West Hills, 24-6, the squad assured themselves of at least a tie for the pennant.   “ We just knew that if we threw Brant Rustich, we had a good chance to win this game,” said Grossmont skipper Rob Phillips. “When we started out 1-3 (in league competion) and are know at 8-4, and clinched a title, everything’s a bonus. Wins in May are worth more than a good start in March.      
             Rustich, who recorded six conference wins as well as two saves, was almost single-handedly responsible for his team’s success, but was modest about his accomplishments.   “My defense has been great all year.” He said.   “I can’t say enough good things about them. Every ground ball with a man on they have either cut the lead runner or made the double play. They’ve stepped it up and they’re why we’re here today,” As for 10th grader Passaniai, who cut his teeth in the El Cajon American Little League and Lakeside Pony organization, winning this was a dream come true.   “This Team is great,” he said.   “It’s just amazing.”    By Greg Eichelberger East County Californian Sports Editor

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