Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - April 1, 2011

Klausner tosses two gems

Gunn sophomore throws no-hitter and one-hitter in softball to stay on top

by Keith Peters

When it came to picking the top two local softball pitchers last season, the honors went to Castilleja's Sammy Albanese and Palo Alto's Kelly Jenks.

The two standouts were so good that they even pitched no-hitters on the same day, less than a mile away from each other.

Gunn's Claire Klausner was just a freshman last season and toiled in the shadows of the two seniors, who since have graduated.

Klausner now has taken over the top spot vacated by Albanese and Jenks and is doing her best impression while trying to overcome a handful of early season rainouts.

The weather improved this week and Klausner made the best of a good situation by tossing a no-hitter and a one-hitter while leading the Titans to victory.

Klausner pitched her no-hitter on Monday, a 4-0 win over visiting Monta Vista. She struck out 13 in the SCVAL El Camino Division game in addition to having two hits. Teammates Laura Tao, Nicole Grimwood and Taylor Aguon also contributed two hits.

Klausner followed up her no-hitter by tossing a one-hitter on Wednesday in an 8-1 victory over visiting Lynbrook. The Titans (3-0, 5-5) remained atop the division standings by banging out 10 hits, with Grimwood getting three of them. Klausner, who had 10 strikeouts and drove in two runs, got things rolling in the first inning by singling, advancing to second on a bunt by Laura Kidder, moving to third on a single by Casey Maltz and then stealing home. After Lynbrook tied the game in the fourth, Gunn answered with five runs in the bottom of the inning to put it away. Klausner has 23 strikeouts this week while allowing only one hit over 14 innings.

In nonleague action, Lauren Diller slammed a two-run homer among her three hits to propel Menlo-Atherton team to a 14-6 nonleague win over host Alma Heights in Pacifica on Wednesday. Erin LaPorte (4-2) got the pitching win and helped herself with two RBI as the Bears improved to 5-2. Alexis Guitron and Nicole Hernandez each had two hits and two RBI for M-A.

Baseball

Ben Sneider and Sam Maliska combined on a five-hitter and B.J. Boyd had three hits as Palo Alto remained alone in first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division with a 7-1 victory over host Los Gatos on Wednesday. The Vikings (7-0, 10-3) will host the Wildcats (3-3, 8-4-1) on Friday at 3:30 p.m. to conclude their home-and-home series.

Palo Alto stretched its winning streak to eight games, during which the Vikings have outscored the opposition 77-4. Sneider allowed four hits in five innings, giving up a solo homer in the first. Maliska finished up with a one-hitter over the final two innings. Seniors Christoph Bono and T.J. Braff added two hits each, with Braff doubling twice. Paly will visit Westmont on Saturday for a nonleague game before hosting second-place Wilcox next Wednesday.

Sacred Heart Prep opened its West Bay Athletic League season with a closer-than-expected 2-0 victory over visiting Pinewood on Wednesday. Both teams managed just two hits, with Dante Fraioli getting the Panthers' lone singles.

A day earlier, Connor Mather hit a two-run homer and finished with three RBI while Daniel DiGiovanni had a two-run double to spark Priory to a 14-2 victory over host Pinewood. Priory improved to 1-1 in the rain-interrupted season while Pinewood fell to 4-2. Mike Schembri added a bases-loaded double for Priory.

In Atherton, Menlo School senior Jake Bruml picked up his fourth pitching win of the season by allowing four hits while striking out seven in five innings to pace the Knights to a 4-1 nonleague victory over visiting Mountain View on Monday. Menlo was playing for only the third time in 20 days, due to the recent storms and showed some rust with only six hits. Jake Batchelder had two of them, one a double, with an RBI. He also pitched a scoreless sixth before Freddy Avis came on in the seventh to blank the Spartans as Menlo improved to 9-1.

Boys' golf

Menlo School sophomore Andrew Buchanan made four birdies in his nine-hole round and finished with a 3-under-par 33 on the back nine of Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club to lead the Knights to a 207-240 victory over Pinewood in a West Bay Athletic League match on Tuesday.

Senior Bobby Pender shot an even-par 36 while junior Jackson Dean added a 41 as Menlo remained unbeaten in league play heading into Monday's showdown against second-place Sacred Heart Prep at Sharon Heights.

Boys' lacrosse

Menlo-Atherton continued its strong play in the SCVAL De Anza Division with a 15-3 victory over host Los Gatos on Wednesday night. Senior Tommy Cummings led the Bears with four goals while John Athens, Ryan Johnston and Drew Uphoff all scored twice. Defensemen Alec Van Stone, Max Wilson and PJ Titterton helped shut down the Los Gatos attack by forcing a combined 12 turnovers. M-A senior goalie James Buttram had seven saves.

Girls' lacrosse

In a battle for first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division, host Palo Alto grabbed the upper hand and the division lead with a 13-10 victory over Los Gatos on Tuesday evening. Getting four goals from Kimmie Flather, the Vikings improved to 4-0 in league (4-4 overall) while the Wildcats fell to 2-1 (3-2).

Palo Alto took a 5-1 lead in the first half before Los Gatos roared back for a 6-6 tie in the second half. The Vikings moved ahead again on goals by Nina Kelty and Charlotte Biffar and held on to win with solid team play that included eight assists. Biffar finished with three goals while Kelty and Jordan Smith added two each.

Tuning up for a big showdown with perennial champ Menlo School on Friday on the Knights' field at 4 p.m., Sacred Heart Prep remained unbeaten in WBAL play with a 13-7 victory over host Burlingame on Tuesday. Julie Keller had four goals and two assists for the Gators (2-0, 7-2) while Kendall Cody added three goals and two assists with freshman Caroline Cummings contributing three goals and one assist. SHP came up with a superb defensive effort in the second half by holding the Panthers scoreless. Emily Westerfield had seven goalie saves for the Gators.

Boys' track and field

James Strnad won three events (100, 200, long jump) while Andrew Prior won the 1600 (4:26.30) and took second in the 800 (1:59.37) to rank among the top 10 in the CCS in both events to spark the Gunn boys' track and field team to a 77-49 dual-meet victory in SCVAL De Anza Division action Wednesday night.

In the second WBAL meet of the season, host Menlo School won the team title with 186 points as senior Sam Parker won the 400 (53.38) and 200 (2:01.27) and John Shanley took the 110 high hurdles and triple jump. Lawrence Van Hook of Eastside Prep swept the 100 (11.85) and 200 (23.88).

Girls' track and field

Kieran Gallagher ran a CCS-leading 2:16.97 time in the 800, senior Kiana Choroski won both hurdles in top 10 CCS times and junior Julia Maggioncalda also moved among the top 10 CCS marks in the high jump and long jump to pace the Gunn girls' track and field team to a 72-55 dual-meet victory over visiting Los Gatos on Wednesday evening.

In the WBAL Meet No. 2 at Menlo School, the host Knights finished second with 80 points. Eugenia Jernick of Priory was a double winner, taking the 100 in 13.18 and the 200 in 27.20.

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