Green Valley pounds Coronado in ‘control game’

Green Valley baseball coach Nick Garritano knew it was a little early to be plotting playoff strategy, but he couldn’t help himself Wednesday.

The coach reminded his players that they controlled their postseason destiny, and they responded with a convincing 16-6 home victory over second-place Coronado.

Sophomore Brett Harrison went 4-for-4 with a home run, a double and three RBIs to lead the Gators, who improved to 13-10 overall and 8-1 in the Southeast to retain first place with the six-inning win.

“This was sort of a control game,” said Garritano, whose team moved to 2-0 against the Cougars this season. “We let the kids know that this game had big playoff implications on the No. 1 seed. I know there are still a lot of games to play, but you need to beat the teams on top.”

The Gators wasted no time in sending a message, scoring six runs on five hits to go ahead 6-1 in a first inning capped by Bobby Shiroky’s two-run homer.

Green Valley starter Nick Libonati, who struggled in the first, silenced Coronado the next three innings. His teammates helped with four runs in the second inning and four in the third to stretch the lead to 14-1.

But Garritano sent reliever Andrew Hendrickson onto the mound in the fifth, and the Cougars responded with five runs to cut the deficit to 14-6.

Green Valley’s Shawn Gordon came on in relief to stop the rally, and Shiroky and Anthony Uran had key RBI singles in the sixth to end the game.

Harrison, who opened the third inning with a solo home run, said he came into the game focused on doing his part to help the Gators, who won their fifth in a row, remain in first place.

“I was just seeing the ball really good today,” he said. “Everything seemed to go my way. This kind of gives us some breathing room.”

Shiroky went 3-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs to help Green Valley, and Uran went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs.

Cody Giordano was 2-for-3 with a double to lead Coronado (9-12, 6-3).

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