The Palo Alto Oaks opened defense of their American Amateur Baseball Congress West Regional baseball title with a hard-fought 4-3 victory over the Healdsburg Prune Packers on Friday at Sacramento State.
The victory moved the Oaks to 17-0 this season and earned them a bye into Saturday's second round at Sacramento City College at 2 p.m. The championship game is Sunday at 2 p.m.
CJ Hillyer picked up the win with his seven-inning stint. Hillyer was steady through six innings, but was touched for two in the seventh to tighten the game at 3-2. The Oaks had touched the Packers for run in the third when Sheldon Daquioag launched a home run over the left-field wall.
In the fourth, the Oaks' Gilbert Guerra led off the inning with a triple to deep right-center and, after a ground out, Trevor Demerritt launched a shot off the left-field wall to score Guerra. Maxx Sheehan then singled sharply to score Demerritt.
The Oaks added another run in the seventh when Julio Cortez led off with a single and was sacrificed over to second by Ricky Navarro. Guerra double to shallow right-center to put Cortez on third. Gary Foster walked to load the bases. Demerritt force Cortez at the plate with a grounder to third. With two outs, Sheehan singled to drive in Guerra to make it 4-2.
Guerra was inserted to pitch the eighth and surrendered a run after walking a few Packers. With the score 4-3, Guerra settled down and gave up no hits or walks in the ninth. Cortez made a spectacular play at third base to lead off the ninth, which would have been a double down the line.