With the SCVAL El Camino Division softball championship on the line, host Gunn came through like a champion and defeated rival Palo Alto, 9-5, on Thursday. The Titans (11-1, 17-5), who shared the division title in 2010, now have their first outright crown.
Junior Irish Chin limited the Vikings (4-8, 14-13) to five hits with all of Paly's runs being unearned. Paly got to within 6-5 in the top of the fifth before Gunn answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame to put the game away.
Megan Ostrom got on board thanks to an error and Kanchan Potter single. Natalie Oda singled to center to load the bases and Chin blooped a single to right for one run. Emma Wager followed with a grounder that was misplayed for an error, allowing two runs to score.
Chin finished with six strikeouts, four straight coming over the second and third innings. She retired the first two batters in the fifth inning before plunking Hannah Bundy with a pitch. That led to Paly's three-run outburst, which saw the Titans commit two key errors that allowed the runners to score.
Six Paly seniors played their final game -- Kate Marinkovich, Julia Saul, Tori Destefano, Shannon Fee, Emma Noroian and Bundy -- while Gunn honored its lone senior, Maddy Thomas.
Senior Erik Amundson fired a complete-game five-hitter with 10 strikeouts Thursday afternoon as Menlo-Atherton defeated host Terra Nova, 6-2, to advance to the Peninsula Athletic League Tournament championship game.
The Bears will meet Menlo School -- a 14-1 winner over Capuchino in the other semifinal -- for the tournament title at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon at Half Moon Bay High.
Amundson was dominant as M-A improved its overall season record to 16-11-1. The UC San Diego-bound righthander didn't allow his first hit -- an infield single -- until the bottom of the fourth inning. Amundson (7-5) was especially tough on the first four hitters in Terra Nova's lineup, who went a combined 1-for-12 with seven strikeouts.
As if his pitching weren't enough, Amundson also sparkled with the bat, going 3-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. His RBI came on a squeeze bunt that scored both Matt McGarry and Charlie Cain in the top of the fourth inning. It was the second consecutive day that the Bears managed to score two runs on a successful squeeze bunt with Cain scoring the second run on both occasions.
Cain also had a memorable day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a solo homer, ground-rule double, two RBI, and two runs scored. Lawson Joos, Jordan Long (double), Daniel Kollar-Gasiewski (RBI single), and McGarry also contributed to M-A's nine-hit attack.
In San Bruno, Menlo School (16-12) advanced to the inaugural PAL tourney finals with its big win over Capuchino. Menlo senior Wyatt Driscoll was once again dominate on mound as he threw a 92-pitch complete game seven-hitter, while giving up no earned runs and walking none.
But, the real story was the offensive explosion by the Knights as they pounded out 14 hits, including eight that went for extra bases. Leading the way was sophomore Jared Lucian, who went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer and five RBI.
The Knights will enter the Central Coast Section playoffs next week for the 11th consecutive year and 26 out of the last 27 years as they look to advance to the CCS Division III championship game for fifth consecutive year.
In other baseball action:
Palo Alto will play for the SCVAL De Anza Division playoff championship on Friday after blasting its way into the best-of-three title game with a 19-4 romp over host Saratoga on Thursday. The victory evened the series at 1-1 and set the stage for the Vikings (16-13) to claim a share of the overall title. First pitch is 4 p.m.
Paly fell behind after one inning but scored three in the second and six in the third to grab a 9-2 lead. Senior Jack Cleasby drove in three runs for Paly -- he hit a two-run homer and got a bases-loaded walk -- with Nick Beason, Anthony Lim and Austin Kron all hitting doubles. Bowen Gerould, Owen Plambeck, Justin Hull, Noah Phillips and Kron all had two hits as the Vikings pounded out 16. Kron and Laurence Han each scored three times to support the solid pitching of senior Chris Smith.
"Smith threw well," said Paly coach Erick Raich. "They got some chopper base hits early on in the game but it seemed like he didn't really get warmed up until the third Inning. Once we got a little lead he was able to pitch much more aggressively."
Sacred Heart Prep advanced to the championship match of the West Bay Athletic League lacrosse playoffs following a 19-7 victory over visiting Mitty on Thursday. The top-seeded Gators (18-5) will face No. 2 seed Menlo School in a rematch of last year's title match, won by SHP, on Saturday at Harker School (Saratoga campus) at 9 a.m.
The Gators were led by Ally Mayle and Brigid White, each with six goals and adding one assist. Libby Muir finished with three goals and one assist while Allison Harman and Caroline Cummings added two goals.
Just a short distance away on Thursday, three proved to be a charm for host Menlo School as the Knights rolled to their third victory over Menlo-Atherton this season in another semifinal. The No. 2-seeded Knights (16-5) got five goals from sophomore Nikky Price and two from sophomore Indie Varma in a 13-2 romp over the visiting Bears (9-12-1), who got both of their goals from Amanda Wiseman.
Price scored twice for Menlo in the last 1:30 of the first half to give the Knights a 5-0 halftime lead. Menlo came out firing in the second half and grabbed a 9-0 lead with 18:36 left to play on goals. With Menlo holding a 10-0 lead, Wiseman scored both her goals to bring the Bears to within eight.
Menlo freshman Sophia Donovan scored just once, but earned six of Menlo's 11 draw controls, seven (of 17) caused turnovers, four contested ground balls and was involved in nearly every play from the center draw. She has compiled 61 goals, 22 assists and 98 draw controls this season on a team that has outscored its opponents 311-161.