on a roll
Palo Alto city champ
wins 20 of its final
21 games and title
by James Huber
Healthy Pets put up a fight, but it wasn't long before All Out asserted itself as the dominant team in Palo Alto Little League. All Out rode its powerful offense and the pitching of left-hander Griffy Byer to a 10-2 victory in the championship game of the Palo Alto Little League City Tournament last Saturday at Middlefield Ballpark.
All Out dominated the competition in the city tournament, winning all five of its games and outscoring its opponents by a combined score of 44-16. After a slow start to the season, All Out won 20 of its last 21 games.
"Winning the tournament has been our goal all year," said All Out infielder Miles Tention. "We knew that we were the best team, but we just had to go out there and prove it."
After seeing Healthy Pets cut its lead to one run, All Out put the game out of reach with a six-run fourth inning. Byer and first baseman Pete Snodgrass both hit run-scoring singles and later were driven in by consecutive two-run doubles from third baseman David Clarke and second baseman Niko Lillios.
"The bottom of the lineup was key," said All Out manager Alex Byer, who won his first city title after being in the finals four of the past six years. "Miles Tention was great and Jeffrey Heidenreich's bunt was a pivotal play in the game because it set the table for the big hitters."
In addition to getting on base all four times and driving in three runs, Griffy Byer kept the Healthy Pets lineup off balance all game long with a slew of curveballs and changeups.
"All I wanted to do was throw junk to the big hitters and strike out the guys I knew I could easily get by," Byer said.
Byer pitched a complete game, striking out seven batters while only surrendering one walk.
"He pitched the game of a lifetime," Alex Byer said of his son. "He's worked so hard for this and this season he's really learned how to utilize his off-speed pitches."
It was a fitting end to the season for All Out's talented 12-year olds, many of whom have been playing together for multiple seasons.
"We have six incredible 12-year olds that have been with us for a long time," Alex Byer said. "They work hard every practice and I'm so incredibly proud of them."
"Playing with Jeff (Heidenreich), Miles (Tention), Charlie (Racz), Pete (Snodgrass) and Griffy (Byer) has been so much fun," said catcher Alec Olmstead, who had three hits and three runs scored on the day. "We've been playing together for so long and we're all really good friends."
The All Out players' careers are not done yet, with Middlefield Ballpark hosting the District 52 Majors 11-12 all-star tournament starting June 24.
In other city tournaments:
Peak Performance won its third straight Alpine/West Menlo championship with a 10-4 victory over Home Field Advantage at Ford Field in Portola Valley. Harrison Armsby hit a three-run homer in the third. He added a two-run double in the fourth to finish with five RBI.
In the Menlo-Atherton finale at Burgess Park on Saturday, Left Bank captured the title with a 3-1 victory over Sharon Heights Shell. Connor Nathan and Bret Rodrigues combined to limit Sharon Heights Shell to just four hits while striking out 13.
Peak Performance and Left Bank will face off for the Menlo Park City Championship on Friday at Burgess Park at 6 p.m.