Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - July 22, 2011

It's a busy two weeks for Stanford Water Polo Club

by Keith Peters

Members of the Stanford Water Polo Club' 18U Red team might be tired of airports after an upcoming busy two weeks. During that time, many of the players will be making two trips to Orange County.

The first excursion is this weekend, where the High School Championships will be held at Capo Valley, El Toro, Newport Harbor and Santa Margarita highs.

Palo Alto will join Menlo School, Menlo-Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep and St. Francis as the only teams from the Central Coast Section. Each team will play two matches per day over the three-day tournament.

The Stanford 18U Red team has players on the Menlo School, Menlo-Atherton, St. Francis and Sacred Heart Prep squads.

After the tournament wraps up on Sunday, the players will head home and regroup — only to head back to SoCal the following weekend for the SwimOutlet.com Junior Olympics from July 30-Aug. 2.

The Stanford Water Polo Club made a final tuneup for these upcoming busy weekends with some solid efforts at the recent US Club Championships. The club's top four age-group teams finished no worse than 10th, with three finishing among the top four.

The Stanford 18U squad had the best finish, finishing second after dropping a 15-9 decision to Regency at the Soda Center in Moraga last Sunday.

Stanford opened with a 12-3 win over Huntington Beach and romped to 17-3 triumph over 680 Drivers on Friday. Saturday saw Stanford get by Santa Barbara Water Polo Foundation, 11-10, setting up a 12-11 semifinal victory over San Diego Shores.

The Stanford 18s, coached by Sacred Heart Prep's Brian Kreutzkamp, earned its second top-three finish in a major tournament this summer. The team finished third at the Cal Cup Championships in Southern California last month.

The 18s are a combination of holdovers — Thomas Agramonte, Philip Bamberg, Mark Garner, Robert Dunlevie, Colin Mulcahy and Peter Simon, among others — from last year's team that finished eighth at JOs plus graduates from the 16U team that took second. The Stanford 18U also won its Pacific Zone JO Qualifying Tournament.

Earning all-tournament honors last weekend were Stanford's Dunlevie and Mulcahy (both first team) plus second-teamers Max Schell and Agramonte.

The Stanford 16U team, coached by Terry O'Donnell from St. Francis, finished fourth at the US Club Championships, its second top-four placing this summer after taking fourth at the Cal Cup Championships.

Stanford opened with an 8-7 win over Huntington Beach on Friday and followed that with a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Water Polo Club. On Saturday, Stanford got by Santa Barbara, 6-4, to win its pool and defeated 680 Drivers, 8-5, to reach the semifinals. On Sunday, Stanford dropped a 7-6 overtime decision to Rose Bowl and then fell to Saddleback El Toro (SET) in the third-place match, 8-4.

All-tournament recognition for Stanford included goalie Will Runkel (first team), Morgan Olson-Fabbro (second team), Harrison Enright (honorable mention) and Corey McGee (honorable mention).

The Stanford 14U team also finished fourth at the US Club Championships, which was held a week earlier in Southern California. The squad fell to Foothill, 6-5, in the third-place match. Stanford earlier took second at the San Diego County Cup, fourth at the Cal Cup and first at the Pacific Zone JO Qualifying Tournament under the guidance of coach Clarke Weatherspoon.

Stanford players named to the all-tournament team included Benoit Viollier (first team), Nelson Perla-Ward (second team), Jack Pickard (honorable mention) and Trevor Raisch (honorable mention).

Also in Southern California two weeks ago was the Stanford 12U team, which finished 10th. The team is coached by Tim Kates and finished second at the Pacific Zone JO Qualifying.

Baseball

The Palo Alto Babe Ruth 14-year-old all-stars had their season end in a 16-13 loss to Sonoma in Round 3 of the NorCal State Tournament at Clark Field in Woodland on Wednesday. The game originally was suspended on Monday with Sonoma leading 16-11, and resumed Wednesday. Palo Alto put up a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to make it close.

While Palo Alto had enough offense during the double-elimination tournament, it couldn't overcome 12 errors in three games. Palo Alto also couldn't take advantage of 16 walks issued by Sonoma, as the PA pitching staff had difficulty shutting down the opposition.

Brad Degnan had four hits and two RBI for Palo Alto in the final game while Noah Phillips added three hits with Jordan Long and Roy Shadmon contributing two hits each. Long added four RBI and Shadmon had two, but Sonoma countered with 14 hits -- including seven for extra bases.

On Tuesday, the Palo Alto Babe Ruth 15-year-old all-stars saw missed opportunities, errors and questionable umpiring calls all added up to a 5-4 extra-inning loss to Sonoma and elimination from the NorCal State Tournament in Elk Grove.

The game got off to a good start for Palo Alto as Alec Furrier singled in Michael Strong and James Foug and later scored on a bases-loaded walk to give Palo Alto a 3-0 lead in the first. Furrier also singled in Foug in the second inning to give starting pitcher Erik Amundson a 4-0 lead, but Palo Alto could not find a way to score after that.

Sonoma broke through with an unearned run in the fourth inning and later scored three runs in the top of the sixth with a help of a three-base error, which allowed two runs to score and set up a squeeze to score the tying run. Sonoma scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eight aided by two Palo Alto errors.

It looked like Strong, who had come on in relief, would get out of a bases-loaded, no outs jam in the eighth. However, yet another walk gave Sonoma its fifth run. In the bottom of the eight, Palo Alto's Jacob Hoffman walked and reached second on a balk with one out. Hoffman tried to advance to third on a pitched ball in the dirt, but a controversial call ruled him out at third on the catcher's throw and ended Palo Alto's last chance to keep the game going.

Amundson pitched seven innings and gave up only three hits, but was not able to get the win as Palo Alto's season-ending loss resulted in a fourth-place finish in the eight-team tournament.

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