The regular season in the PAL Bay Division has come to a close, yet there's still plenty of baseball left to be played with the first annual postseason tournament that begins on Tuesday.
Menlo School will be playing after closing its campaign on a positive note on Friday.
Sam Crowder's two-out base hit with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth plated two runs as the Knights broke their six-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over visiting Half Moon Bay.
The Knights (5-7, 14-12) were led the stellar pitching of senior righthander Wyatt Driscoll. He was matched pitch for pitch by HMB senior lefthander Bret Berghammer, who was the hard-luck loser as he threw a complete game -- allowing only five hits while walking three and striking out four. The day, however, belonged to Driscoll, who threw a six-hit shutout, walking only two and striking out five.
Menlo's winning rally started with a two-out double by Jared Lucian and was followed by a walk to Mikey Diekroeger and an infield single by Carson Gampell. On a 2-1 pitch, Crowder hit a soft line drive into center field to drive in the deciding two runs. The Cougars threatened in the seventh when, with two out, they got three straight hits to load the bases, but Driscoll got a fly ball to left to end the game. Menlo next will play in the PAL playoffs this week.
Less than a mile away, Sacred Heart Prep snapped a 1-1 tie with a nine-run explosion in the bottom of the fifth inning, then added another run in the sixth to defeat visiting Menlo-Atherton, 11-3, Friday afternoon.
The loss moved M-A's overall record to 14-11-1 and final PAL Bay Division mark to 6-6. Despite the defeat, the Bears clinched third place in the division thanks to Menlo's win over Half Moon Bay (5-6) and Buringame's (4-7) lost to Terra Nova.
Half Moon Bay visits Burlingame on Saturday with a chance to clinch fourth place with a win over the Panthers (4-7). Even if Half Moon Bay wins, M-A will finish third by virtue of sweeping the Cougars in two games this season.
Only two of SHP's 11 runs were earned on Friday as M-A committed six errors. Senior starting pitcher Erik Amundson took the loss, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits and four walks, while striking out two. AJ Lemons, Colin Martell, and Jordan Long did not allow an earned run over the final two innings.
The Bears had six hits in the game, led by Long's 3-for-4 performance (including two triples) and 2 RBIs. Amundson (RBI single), Daniel Kollar-Gasiewski, and Leo McCabe also had hits for the Bears.
M-A will play again on Wednesday in the PAL postseason tournament against an opponent to be determined based on results of the tournament's first-round games on Tuesday. The Bears clinched a first-round bye by finishing in the top four teams in the Bay Division.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Saratoga knocked first-place Los Gatos out of next week's playoff championships with an 8-0 victory on Friday in the third game of the series.
The fourth-place Falcons (19-8) will face third-place Palo Alto (15-12) for the playoff title beginning Tuesday on the Vikings' field at 4 p.m. The best-of-three series shifts to Saratoga on Thursday with a third game, if necessary, set for Paly on Friday.
Palo Alto defeated Saratoga twice during the regular season. The Vikings are coming off a two-game sweep of second-place Wilcox last week.