Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - April 9, 2010

Menlo wins, loses in Las Vegas

Palo Alto maintains hold on first place with 18-9 rout

Like plenty of gamblers before it, the Menlo School baseball team won't leave Las Vegas without losing. That was assured Thursday when the Knights fell to Newbury Park, 5-3, in the second round of the 15th annual Bishop Gorman Easter Classic.

In a great game, which saw both teams have excellent opportunities, it was Newbury Park getting the key two out hits in the top of the ninth to defeat the Knights.

Menlo did get a standout pitching performances from junior Jake Bruml and sophomore Freddy Avis, but it was not enough as Southern Section power Newbury Park got a pair of two-out walks in the ninth and then an 0-2 base hit by the ninth hitter to drive in the go-ahead run. Newbury Park's leadoff hitter followed with another single for an insurance run

The Knights (9-3) had taken the lead in the fourth on double by Phillip Anderson and fielder' choice by Jake Batchelder, but Newbury tied in the top of the fifth on two Menlo errors and a clutch two-out triple. In the seventh, both teams had their chances to win the game as the Panthers missed a squeeze in the top half of the inning before Menlo loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom half but failed to score.

Menlo returns to action Friday with a 5 p.m. winners'-bracket consolation game against the loser of the San Benito- Vluxhall (Canada) loser.

On Wednesday, Menlo opened the tourney with an 11-4 win over Bishop Manogue of Reno. Sophomores Dylan Mayer, Avis and Batchelder all stood out.

Batchelder was stellar on the mound by throwing a complete game while allowing only three earned runs. Only a missed-played line drive that turned into an inside-the-park home run deprived him of a shutout.

Mayer and Avis did their damage at the plate. Avis had three hits and three RBI while Mayer had two hits, including a double. Senior Matt Crowder shined on defense as the Knights turned three double plays.

In the PAL Bay Division, starting pitcher Patrick Moriarty hurled six shutout innings and Menlo-Atherton cracked a season-high 16 hits to defeat visiting Woodside, 12-0, on Wednesday afternoon.

Junior shortstop Casey Eason went 4-for-4 with three RBI, senior catcher Jeff Keller raised his season batting average to .551 with a solo homer and two doubles (two RBI), and junior Myles Brewer had three hits and two RBI as the Bears improved their season record to 9-6 and PAL Bay Division mark to a perfect 3-0. Junior second baseman Kyle Zirbes and Moriarty also added two hits apiece as Menlo-Atherton won its third consecutive game.

Moriarty limited Woodside to just five hits, striking out five and walking two to improve his season record to 3-1 (2-0 in league play). Moriarty now owns a string of 13 consecutive scoreless innings, and has permitted just one earned run in his past 19 innings pitched. Brewer pitched a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Moriarty, striking out one.

M-A returns to action on Friday afternoon (3:15 p.m.) with a PAL Bay Division contest at Woodside.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto (9-0, 14-3) looked like it was taking batting practice against host Homestead on Wednesday during an 18-9 rout. The Vikings' lineup produced runs evenly throughout the game, with nearly every player contributing.

USC-bound senior outfielder Joc Pederson had the most outstanding performance, going 3-for-4 with a 420-foot home run, two doubles, three RBI and six runs scored as Palo Alto held on to first place in the division.

Christoph Bono also slammed a home run and led the team with four RBI. Scott Witte added three hits while Wade Hauser contributed two hits and three RBI and now has 10 hits in his past 12 at-bats. He leads the team with a .532 batting average.

Paly will host Homestead on Friday at 3:30 p.m., before hosting Sobrato on Saturday afternoon in a nonleague matchup.

In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn edged visiting Santa Clara, 7-6, on Tuesday to complete the series sweep in division play. Gunn (4-3, 6-8-2) trailed by 5-3 before scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by a two-run RBI single by the eventual winning pitcher, Graham Fisher.

Santa Clara scored once in the top of the seventh and had the tying run on base but a nice play by shortstop Jon Rea ended the comeback for Santa Clara. The Titans' offense pounded out 12 hits with Jon Rea (2B, 3B), Jake Verhulp, Travis Bowers and Tyler Harney all having two hits.

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