The Legends (31--13) will face Neptune Beach Pearl again on Friday at 3 p.m. to start the league playoffs at Arcata Ballpark in Arcata.
A first-round win will earn Menlo Park a date on Saturday (also at 3 p.m.), likely against the host Humboldt Crabs. The championship game is set for noon on Sunday, with a challenge game (if necessary) following at 4 p.m.
Menlo Park manager David Klein has to be happy with the results of 2012. He kept a strong nucleus of players from 2011 and added several talented newcomers to his roster. The two summer months of baseball had many ups and downs, but had to be judged an overall very positive success.
The Legends won 15 of their final 17 games, which included a nine-game win streak, to reach the postseason.
Andrew Castendeda led the team with a .422 average and swiped an impressive 16 bases. Jeff Keller (Dartmouth), an M-A grad like Klein, was superb at any position (.394, six HR, 30 RBI, 16 stolen bases).
Pierson Jeremiah (Chico State) was asked to move to shortstop following an injury to another player and he responded. He also did the job on offense (.355, 17 doubles, 30 RBI, seven stole bases).
Paly grad Tyger Pederson (UOP) was the catalyst out of the leadoff spot (.304, 19 RBI, 17 stolen bases) and unselfishly moved to second base from his normal outfield position. Grant Nelson (.319, 25 RBI), Chris Freeman (.308), M-A grad Abi Arias (.288) Peter Woodall (.281), Mike Marcoux (.280, 20 RBI, 12 stolen bases) were all solid contributors. Joe Goldenberg (.270, five HR, 26 RBI) and JT Greenhood (.270, two HR, 20 RBI) helped supply power in various spots in the order.
The pitching staff was anchored by Ray Torres, who threw the game of the year in a 1-0 masterpiece against the Palo Alto Oaks. He threw 47 innings with a 3.06 ERA and five wins. Alon Leichman (1.48, five wins), DJ Sharabi (2.72, four wins), SHP grad Eric Davila (3.88, two wins) and Jacob Eichhorn (three wins) were all solid starters.
Goldenberg (U of Hawaii) had 18 strikeouts in 10 innings with four saves, while Darren Gidley (2.31, one win, two saves) and CJ Jacobe (1.38, four wins, one save) also were solid in the bullpen.