A summer vacation in San Leandro? The Palo Alto Babe Ruth 15-year-old all-star team will take it. The alternative would have been much less attractive.
Needing three victories in three games played in two days, Palo Alto answered the challenge by winning all three to capture the District 6 championship and a berth in the Northern California State Tournament.
That means a trip to San Leandro starting on July 12.
Palo Alto swept Belmont on Saturday, both by 9-2 scores, at the Belmont Sports Complex. To reach that game, Palo Alto had to be Mountain View on Friday and did, 11-4, as Cory Tenanes had five hits for the winners.
Palo Alto was knocked into the consolation bracket by Belmont following a 12-10 loss on Thursday. Thus, Saturday's sweep provided sweet revenge for Palo Alto.
In Game 1, Palo Alto starting pitcher Kyle Barnes allowed just five hits and two runs in six innings and Conner Mather pitched a scoreless seven to pace the winners.
Palo Alto scored two runs in the first on two Belmont errors and added four runs in the third on five consecutive hits to start the inning. Joe Xavier's two-run single was the big blow in the inning.
Palo Alto tacked on two more runs in the fifth as Austin Hume plated one run with a sacrifice fly and Gabe Kaplan singled to score Xavier, who had doubled earlier in the inning.
Tenanes followed up his big game against Mountain View with two more hits while Jack Hannan, Kaplan and Xavier also had two hits. Xaviere also drove in a pair.
Game 2 was highlighted by a complete-game performance by Ryan Lockareff, who gave up two runs in the first inning and then did not allow a baserunner to reach third the rest of the game.
Palo Alto won the challenge game behind Lockareff's pitching and solid defense by shortstop Danny Diekroeger, who made several spectacular plays and helped start double plays that ended both the sixth and seventh inning -- Palo Alto turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
The game was close through the first four innings. After Belmont scored two runs in the first, Palo Alto responded by tying the game in the second. TJ Braff led off the second with a booming triple to the right- centerfield gap. Hannan's single scored Braff. Lockareff scored the second run on a fielder's choice.
Palo Alto went ahead for good in the third when Travis Bowers singled in Tenanes, who had doubled. Palo Alto tallied two more runs in the fifth on RBI singles by Hannan and Lockareff before blowing the game open with four runs in the sixth – the big blow a two-run double by Diekroeger.
Tenanes, Braff and Hannan all had two hits while Hannan added two RBI.
Palo Alto also played in the NorCal State Tournament as 14-year-olds.