With baseball being by its nature a game of superstition, the Palo Alto Oaks approached Game 1 of their doubleheader with Fontanetti's on Sunday at Baylands Athletic Center with a heightened level of nervousness.
Palo Alto's misgivings were fulfilled as the Oaks were unable to hold off Fontanetti's batters in while their opponent's pitcher, Mike Monelo, held the Palo Alto to only three hits in a 12-1 loss.
And there's that number 13 again.
Palo Alto had no problems in a hex-free Game 2 as it posted a 3-0 victory to gain a split and move to 12-2 on the season.
Looking ahead to the postseason, Oaks management exercised several pitchers in the seven-inning second game. Starter C.J. Hillyer claimed the win with four shutout innings, allowing only two hits. Jacob Naval and Brandt Norlander took over the final three innings, completing the shutout and allowing no additional hits.
Gunn High grad Graham Fisher struck the big blow for the Oaks in the fourth inning, doubling over the outfielder in deep center field to drive in Casey Thompson and Danny Ordonez. Ordonez drove in Thompson in the sixth inning for an insurance run. The game ended with a low score more typical for these two teams.
This rivalry is one of the best in Western Baseball Association and one that will no doubt continue in the Western Regional Tournament to be held at Baylands Park at the end of July.
The Oaks return to action this Sunday with a doubleheader beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Sarge Casey Field at Baylands. It will be the Oaks' final regular-season games before the regional tourney.
The Palo Alto 13-year-old all-stars played their second straight mercy-rule game in as many days, advancing to the semifinals of the NorCal State Tournament in Vallejo with a 13-0 victory over Vallejo on Sunday.
Joshua Kasevich pitched the first four innings for Palo Alto, allowing no runs and just two hits. Seattle Hmlar finished the five-inning game with a scoreless fifth.
Robert Lopez had a single and double for Palo Alto, driving in two and stealing three bases.
Palo Alto will tangle with Tri-Valley on Tuesday in the winners' bracket at Wilson Park at 7:30 p.m. Tri-Valley blasted Eureka, 28-5, on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Palo Alto 14-year-old all-stars will have to battle their way through the consolation bracket after falling to favored Tri-Valley, 6-4, in the NorCal State Tournament on Sunday at Clark Field in Woodland.
Palo Alto will play Vallejo on Monday at 7:30 p.m., needing a victory to move on to Wednesday's consolation semifinals. Palo Alto needs to win three straight games just to reach the finals, where it would have to win twice to advance.
Tri-Valley eliminated Palo Alto in this tournament last season.
David Clarke pitched five innings for Palo Alto and took the loss. Kyle Pruhsmeier pitched one inning of relief.
Palo Alto scored a run in the top of the first on an RBI groundout by Ole Erickson, who had two of his team's five hits. Tri-Valley scored two in the second, one in the third, and one in the fifth to grab a 4-1 lead.
Palo Alto scored two in the sixth to get within 4-3, but Tri-Valley answered with two more in the bottom of the sixth to go back up 6-3. Palo Alto added a single run in the top of the seventh.
Tri-Valley will play Woodland, a 9-6 winner over Oakland on Sunday, in Wednesday's semifinals.
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