Vikings handed top spot
following a Los Gatos
upset loss to Wilcox
It only stands to reason that things are going well for a team when it improves without even playing. That was the case for the Palo Alto baseball team on Wednesday.
Despite the fact that the Vikings are on spring break this week, they nonetheless took over sole possession of first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division following a mid-afternoon practice.
Wilcox, which was swept by Paly in its two-game series earlier, nonetheless handed the Vikings first place by beating previously unbeaten Los Gatos, 3-2, on the Wildcats' field. Los Gatos drops to 8-1 in league (15-6 overall) while Palo Alto is 10-0 (16-3). Wilcox remains in third place at 6-3 (12-9).
Assuming that Palo Alto will not be upset by Monta Vista next week, the Vikings will need only to win one of the two games with Los Gatos the following week to ensure an undisputed league title.
Palo Alto will put its 11-game winning streak on the line Friday when it plays host to Leigh in a nonleague game at 3:30 p.m. The Vikings will continue their tough nonleague schedule on Saturday with a game at Leland at 1 p.m.
Paly is ranked No. 7 in the Central Coast Section while averaging 8.3 runs per game. The Vikings allow an average of just 3.6.
While Palo Alto was practicing on Wednesday, Sacred Heart Prep was opening its West Bay Athletic League season at King's Academy in Sunnyvale. It was a good day for the Gators.
Bryan Khors belted a two-run double in the fifth inning, which ended a no-hit bid and propelled Sacred Heart Prep to a 5-0 victory. John Geary (1-2) pitched a complete-game four-hitter to get the victory as Sacred Heart Prep improved to 5-8-1 overall.
Sacred Heart Prep capitalized on 11 walks given up by King's Academy (0-1, 6-7), especially in the fifth and sixth when the Gators scored four runs aided by the free passes. Charlie Bradford and Matt Martella both walked to open the sixth and both eventually scored -- Bradford on a throwing error and Martella on a bases-loaded balk.
Sacred Heart Prep will host Menlo on Friday at 3:30 p.m.
In Burlingame, the host Panthers used timely hitting, a costly Menlo-Atherton throwing error, and the pitching of Forrest Armanino to defeat the Bears, 3-2, in a PAL Bay Division contest on Wednesday afternoon at Washington Park. Armanino scattered six hits, struck out six, and allowed two earned runs as Burlingame improved to 2-2 in league (12-4-1 overall). M-A fell to 4-1 in league and 10-7 overall.
Armanino's stellar effort was nearly matched by that of M-A starting pitcher Patrick Moriarty (3-2), who yielded just five hits and three runs (one earned) while striking out four Panther batters over six innings.
Junior Casey Eason led M-A's offense with two hits and an RBI, and junior Kyle Zirbes drove in M-A's other run with an RBI single.
Burlingame (currently ranked 8th in the CCS by MaxPreps) took an early lead with two unearned runs in the first inning. Following a walk and a single, the Bears committed a throwing error on a ground ball that allowed one run to score and moved another baserunner to third. Burlingame scored its second run when Ryan Bender lofted a sacrifice fly to left.
M-A tied the game 2-2 in the top of the third following a bloop single by Moriarty, a ringing double by Myles Brewer, and RBI singles by Eason and Zirbes. Burlingame answered with a run in the bottom of the third on a walk and an RBI triple by Mitch Foley.
Pitching in relief of Armanino in the seventh, Chris Blanton struck out the side to secure the one-run victory for Burlingame.
M-A returns to action on Friday afternoon at home to conclude its two-game series with Burlingame at 3:15 p.m.
Menlo tuned up for its WBAL opener on Friday at Sacred Heart Prep with a 3-2 victory over visiting Redwood Christian in 13 innings on Tuesday. The game originally was scheduled for April 1 in San Leandro.
The Knights (10-5) got a walk off home run from sophomore Dylan Mayer leading off the bottom of the 13th for the deciding run.
It was a pitching battle early on as Redwood Christian's AJ Vanegas, a Stanford signee who throws consistently around 90 mph, battled Menlo sophomore Jake Batchelder. Vanegas lasted seven innings, allowing only one hit with eight strikeouts. Batchelder pitched eight innings, allowing four hits with four strikeouts.
Despite pitching changes, the game remained scoreless until the 11th. With one out, the Eagles loaded the bases with a double, error and intentional walk. Vanegas then delivered a clutch two-run single.
Menlo responded in the bottom half of the inning, starting with a leadoff error. After two near-miss double plays, Matt Crowder singled to put runners at first and second. Junior first baseman Jake Bruml, who had 20 putouts in the field, delivered a triple to right center to tie the game.
That set the stage for Mayer's game-winning homer, that ended the 3-hour, 20-minute game.
Two of the best teams in the Central Coast Section went head to head on Wednesday to decide supremacy in the West Bay Athletic League. As expected, the dual match went down to the wire before Sacred Heart Prep pulled out a 198-199 victory on the par-36 Sharon Heights Country Club. The victory keeps the Gators (6-0, 8-0) atop the league standings while the loss drops the Knights (3-1 league) into second place.
In the head-to-head matches, neither team held more than a one-stroke lead. Menlo junior Patrick Grimes earned medalist honors with a 2-under 34 to beat SHP senior Dalan Refioglu, who shot a fine 1-under 35. SHP's Anthony Tran and Menlo's Andrew Buchanan both shot 40 to square their match with the Gators' Kevin Knox (40) beating MJ Cootsona by a stroke. Jeff Knox of SHP won his match, 41-42, over Bobby Pender while Brett Van Zanten of SHP and Menlo's Will Petit both shot 42.
At Sunnyvale Muni, Pinewood picked up its fourth victory of the season with a 49-shot win over King's Academy. Pinewood junior Trevor Longbottom started off the victory with an eagle on the par-4 first hole when he holed out from the fairway. Sophomore Kim Beers shot 43, her lowest score of the season to aid in the triumph.
Menlo-Atherton remained perfect in PAL Bay Division play and for the season with a 7-0 romp over host Carlmont on Tuesday.
The Bears (9-0, 13-0), who moved closer to clinching the division title, lead second-place Burlingame by two matches with three to play.
Menlo-Atherton was at full strength for Carlmont and played solidly, despite having two matches to go three sets. Matt Menninger was pushed at No. 3 singles before winning, 6-2, 4-6, 10-8, while the No. 1 doubles team of Zeke Brown and Matt Giordano were stretched in a 6-2, 6-7, 10-8 victory.
Otherwise, it was business as usual for the Bears with Alex Haley, Alden Mitchell and Avi Shah winning singles matches in straight sets while twins Jesse and Christian Perkins swept at No. 2 doubles and Daniel Wyndam teaming with Richie Sarwall for a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 3.
In the WBAL, both Menlo and Sacred Heart Prep cruised to easy 7-0 victories.
The Knights (9-0, 16-0) played without their top seven players and still had plenty to topple visiting Priory. Menlo lost only four games in singles and six in singles.
The Gators (7-3, 8-6) swept all their matches in straight sets while blanking host Crystal Springs-Uplands.
Menlo continued its busy week with a 7-0 blanking of host Harker on Wednesday at Blackford High. The Knights improved to 10-0 in league (17-0 overall).
Menlo, which visited Sacred Heart Prep on Thursday, will close out the league season on Tuesday at Crystal Springs. The Knights already have clinched yet another league crown.
Menlo coach Bill Shine is now 313-40 in his 14th year with the Knights.
Track and field
Menlo and Sacred Heart Prep both hosted, and won, separate WBAL meets on Wednesday.
At Menlo, the Knights total 104 points to defeat St. Lawrence and Priory (tied for second with 88) and Crystal Springs.
Menlo's Sam Parker and Priory's Arnaud Kpachavi renewed their highly competitive rivalry as the two juniors split their head-to-head matchups. Parker won the 800 in 2:00.93 with Kpachavi second in 2:01.09. In the 1,600, Kpachavi was a clear winner in 4:47.31 while Parker was second in 4:58.64. As perhaps a tiebreaker for the day, Kpachavi added a victory in the 400 in a very good 51.76.
Elsewhere, Alec Lawler of Menlo took the 110 high hurdles and the Knights swept the 400 (46.67) and 1,600 (3:50.09) relays.
At Sacred Heart Prep, the Gators were easy team winners with 203 points. Senior Matt Walter continued to show his versatility following football and soccer seasons by winning the 100 (11.57) and 200 (23.60). Zach Kaplan won a tough double in the 1,600 (4:52.67) and 3,200 (10:58.72) while the Gators also swept the 400 and 1,600 relays in 45.81 and 3:53.61, respectively.
Other SHP winners included: John Oppenheimer in the shot put (41-6 1/4), Michael Ho in the discus (103-3), Gustav Staprans in the high hurdles; Greg Hook in the 400 (53.28), and Chris Gaertner in the ling jump (19-7 1/2).
Pinewood had Kyle Riches take the triple jump at 36-7 1/2 and Michael Naumann win the 300 hurdles in 50.24.
At the Arcadia Invitational on Saturday, Palo Alto senior Philip MacQuitty ran in the boys' invitational mile, an event where he led the state coming in. MacQuitty managed just an eighth-place finish of 4:17.81 as Jantzen Oshier of Trubuco Hills won in 4:12.80. That converts to 4:11.33 for the 1,600 — giving him the state lead over MacQuitty.
On Friday, MacQuitty helped the Palo Alto boys' 4x1 mile relay team capture the seeded division title. The all-senior team of Henry Jordan, MacQuitty, Josh Newby and Peter Wilson clocked a winning time of 18:10.38, which averages to 4:52.59 per leg. The invitational 4-mile relay was held after the seeded division, with Dana Hills winning in 17:27.63. Had Palo Alto run in that race, its time of 18:10.38 would be been 11th.