With spring break beckoning, members of the Menlo School baseball team would have earned their vacation after a busy week of baseball that was capped with the championship of the 53rd Cupertino Host Lion's Club Tournament on Friday night.
The Knights, however, have only time to wash their uniforms and re-pack their bags for their annual trip next week to the Bishop Gorman Classic in Las Vegas.
Menlo's mettle and depth will be tested once again as the Knights often face some of the best teams in the nation -- host Bishop Gorman was No. 1 in the country just a few years ago.
Menlo (10-3) certainly is prepared for the trip and will be riding the momentum of its thrilling 7-6 come-from-behind victory over Monterey in the Lion's Club finale at PAL Stadium in San Jose. It was the Knights' fifth straight win.
Trailing 6-0 heading into the final two innings, the Knights capped an amazing comeback in the bottom of the seventh as Sam Crowder delivered a two-out, two-strike single to right field that scored the tying and winning runs.
Monterey pecked away through the first 5 1/2 innings while taking advantage of six walks and some timely hitting, led by its freshman shortstop Carter Aldrete, to open up the big lead.
Menlo, however, came storming back in the last two, scoring four in the bottom of the sixth as the Knights were aided by three walks and an error to go along with two Menlo hits -- although the Knights did leave the bases loaded.
All this set the stage for the seventh. Austin Marcus led off with a walk and took second on a groundout by Jared Lucian. Kevin Jacques walked to put the tying run on base, but Will King lined out to left for the second out.
The next two Menlo hitters, Mikey Diekroeger and Graham Stratford, walked to for make it a one-run game and set the stage for Crowder.
Crowder delivered, just as teammate Adam Greenstein had done the year before in a 6-5 Menlo win in eight innings. Diekroeger easily beat the throw to give the Knights the victory and the championship in the oldest tournament in the Central Coast Section.
In SCVAL De Anza Division action, Palo Alto won its ninth straight and held on to a share of first place with an 8-2 win over visiting Los Altos. The Vikings (7-1, 12-4) got six solid innings from pitcher Danny Erlich, who allowed four hits and struck out six.
Erlich got the win and improved to 3-2 while reliever Chris Smith threw 11 pitches in the top of the seventh to close out the game.
Paly's Austin Poore hit a solo homer, Rowen Thompson tripled and Bowen Gerould doubled and drove in three runs to lead Paly.
The Eagles got a two-run homer from Max Wilber in the fourth inning while falling to 3-4 in league (7-8 overall).
Elsewhere in the De Anza Division, Gunn (0-8, 4-12) continued to struggle while dropping a 2-0 decision to host Mountain View. Chris Rea held the Spartans to just four hits, but the Titans also had just four.
Mountain View bunched its hits, getting two in the first as both runners eventually scored on wild pitches.