First the bad news.
The championship game against unbeaten Belmont Blue started 20 minutes late. And, when all was said and done, Palo Alto came out on the short end of 4-3 decision.
Now the good news. None of that mattered.
Thanks to Eureka pulling out of the next tournament, Palo Alto took the field in the finals knowing full well it already had a trip to the NorCal State Tournament locked up.
District 6 wound up getting three berths in the NorCal State event because Bel-Mateo (represented by Belmont Blue and Belmont Red in the district tourney) is the NorCal host.
Palo Alto will open against District 5 champ Tri-Valley on July 19 at the Belmont Sports Complex at 10 a.m. A win will put Palo Alto against the winner of Mountain View and District 3.
The Palo Alto 15s wound up being eliminated by Tri-Valley last year in the consolation bracket.
Bel-Mateo, meanwhile, is in bracket opposite Palo Alto. The tourney runs through July 24.
Palo Alto's pitching staff will be well-rested by then. Ben Simon saw to that by pitching all seven innings. He allowed nine hits overall, but just two over the first four innings.
Had Palo Alto won Wednesday's first game, a challenge game would have followed and Palo Alto's pitching staff would have been tested.
Palo Alto, however, managed just five hits against Belmont Blue while falling to them for the second time since an 11-2 loss on Saturday.
Palo Alto grabbed an early 1-0 lead when Ryan Chang and Charlie Racz produced back-to-back doubles in the first inning.
Belmont Blue scored twice in the fifth for a 2-1 lead, but Palo Alto scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to regain the lead at 3-2. Pete Snodgrass singled and scored on a single by Brian Tracy. Angus Stayte, who had followed Snodgrass with a walk, then scored on a single by Andrew Tam.
Palo Alto, however, couldn't hold the lead and gave up two more runs to Belmont in the top of the seventh.
The Palo Alto 13- and 14-year-old all-stars will get their respective NorCal State tournaments underway on Saturday.
The 14s will open against District 2 at Clark Field in Woodland at 10 a.m., while the 13s will be at Wilson Park in Vallejo, taking on District 2 at 4 p.m.
In District 52 Little League action, Alpine/West Menlo's 10-11 all-stars made it all the way to the championship challenge game before falling to San Mateo National, 6-5, on Tuesday night in Belmont.
Menlo-Atherton is looking for coaches for its JV girls volleyball and JV girls water polo programs. The fall season for both begins Aug. 15. The coaching stipend is $3,300.
For volleyball, contact M-A varsity coach Ron Whitmill @firstname.lastname@example.org. For water polo, contact Tatiana Dehnad @email@example.com.
Derek Ackerman needed just one more round of even-par golf to claim a title at the 85th annual NCGA Junior Championships on Tuesday at Spyglass Hill Golf Course in Pebble Beach. However, the Sacred Heart Prep senior didn't get it.
Holding a one-stroke lead after 36 holes, Ackerman shot a final round of 4-over 76 and finished in a two-way tie at second. His 54-hole effort of 70-71-76 gave him a 217 total.
Ackerman was still in good shape after 15 holes with a 4-under total. At the 454-yard, par-4 16th hole, however, Ackerman send his tee shot into the trees and struggled to a triple-bogey 7 and dropped to 1-under for the tournament. He followed that with a bogey on the 312-yard, par-4 17th and a bogey on the 387-yard, par-4 18th to finish 1-over for the tournament.
Recent Sacred Heart Prep grad Bradley Knox, who will play for Stanford this fall, finished in a two-way tie for 12th at 224 following rounds of 78-74-72. Fellow Menlo Park resident and SHP teammate Bradley Keller shot 78-74-77 to finish in a tie for 21st at 229.
In the girls' division, Stephanie Yu of Palo Alto was tied for sixth after an opening round of 7-over 79. She finished in a four-way tie for 10th after shooting a 10-over 82 on Tuesday.
At the AJGA Junior at Mayacama in Santa Rosa, Palo Alto's Ahmed Ali finished seventh in the boys' division after shooting 75-76-73-224 while Palo Alto's Anna Zhou from Gunn High tied for seventh in the girls' division after shooting 69-84-82-235. Her 69 gave her the first-day lead.
Menlo School senior Nick Bisconti scored the opening goal to get the U.S. National Youth team rolling toward a 15-8 water polo victory over Puerto Rico on the first day of the UANA Junior Pan American Championships on Tuesday in Riverside.
The USOC has announced the 94-member 2014 U.S. Youth Olympic Team that will compete at the upcoming Youth Olympic Games from Aug. 16-28 in Nanjing, China. Highlighting the roster is table tennis player Lily Zhang, the recent Palo Alto High grad who previously represented Team USA at the London 2012 Olympic Games. She is the first American to compete at the Olympic Games prior to competing at the YOG and the 10th U.S. athlete to compete at both versions of the Games.