LIVERMORE -- Granada High baseball player Ryan Kirby was helping tidy up the infield this week before practice, when he was asked to discuss another work of art:

The Matadors' season.

Granada, which last won an East Bay Athletic League baseball title in 1992, or before any of the current cast was born, is off to its best start ever.

The Matadors are 13-0 overall, 3-0 in league and have enough confidence to fill two dugouts. They outscored their first 13 opponents a combined 105-12.

"It's come on a lot," Kirby said of the program. "From the year I got here, every year it seems to build even better. The guys we've got now, everyone contributes. Down at the lower levels, everyone knows what they've got to do to come up on varsity. It's pretty amazing."

Kirby, a 6-foot-2 180-pound left-handed hitter who is headed to the University of San Diego, is the senior-laden Matadors' only four-year varsity player. Though 12 games, he had a team-best .444 batting average with 16 hits, 14 RBIs, four doubles and a home run.

Granada is taking aim at a first North Coast Section title after advancing to the Division I semifinals last year, the second round in 2011 and the first round in 2010.

Last week, Granada won the Alhambra Easter Classic with an 11-1 rout of the host Bulldogs in the championship game, but the EBAL competition will be fierce. The Matadors will face California, De La Salle -- which has eliminated Granada in the NCS playoffs in back-to-back seasons -- and Monte Vista in their next three games.


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"We come out here every day just like we're 0-12," senior shortstop Miles Mastrobuoni said. "We come out here to get better. We never take days off. That one day you might take off, the next thing you know you're going to get bit in the butt."

That's not to say the Matadors aren't expecting big things.

"Always want to be the best," Kirby said. "Everyone says we want to win the EBAL and the NCS title, but this team, we want to go undefeated. We don't want to lose. That's the goal, not to lose any game."

The Matadors' potent starting lineup boasts seven seniors, along with quality starting pitchers in Anthony Olmo (5-0, 0.75 ERA) and Jacob Payne (6-0, 0.21).

Granada boasts six or seven left-handed hitters, the best of whom is Kirby, a dedicated outfielder.

"What a hitter," Granada coach Corrigan Willis said of Kirby. "The guy has worked his butt off to make himself into a great hitter. He's a leader -- not a real vocal leader but leads by example. He's one of the main reasons we're having such a successful year."

Kirby gets his work ethic from home.

"My dad (Patrick) always instilled that in me," Kirby said. "He played Division II baseball for Cal Poly. He always said to work harder than everyone else and success will come. I've always taken that to heart."

Kirby is part of a star-studded outfield that also features Vince Fernandez, a UC Riverside signee, and Casey Soltis, a junior Oregon commit.

Olmo believes Granada's big run stems from a lot of little things.

"We can play every position," he said. "We can hit. We can hit with power. We can contact hit. We can get plays down. We can field. We can do all the small things, and our pitching's been outstanding so far."

Added Willis, "This has been a special group. They've been playing together for a long time, and it's just kind of coming together right now."

East Bay baseball poll

Rec. Pts. LY

1. Granada (5) 12-0 75 10
2. Amador Vly. 9-3 66 NR
3. De La Salle 7-4 63 2
4. Campolindo 5-6-1 57 1
5. Acalanes 9-4 50 6
6. College Park 8-3-1 45 4
7. Newark Mem. 9-3 40 9
8. Alhambra 9-4 35 NR
9. Washington 9-3 33 NR
10. Clayton Vly. 8-3 31 12
11. Heritage 8-5 27 NR
t12. California 8-3 20 5
t12. Deer Valley 9-4 20 8
14. Dough. Vly. 8-5 14 3
15. St. Mary's 7-3 8 t13
Also receiving votes: Foothill (6-6, 7 points), Freedom (8-4, 4), El Cerrito (10-4-1, 3), Berkeley (9-4, 1), San Leandro (10-3, 1). The East Bay Baseball Poll is voted on by the prep sports staff of Bay Area News Group East Bay. Records are through Saturday.