By Colin Becht
Palo Alto Online Sports
Two Palo Alto National Little League all-star baseball teams headed off in different directions on Tuesday night in their respective District 52 Majors tournaments.
In Pacifica, the Palo Alto National 11-12 all-stars dropped into the consolation bracket of the double-elimination event following a 5-3 loss to Half Moon Bay. Palo Alto next will play on Thursday (5:30 p.m.) against San Mateo National at Field 3 at Ortega School.
In Belmont, the Palo Alto National 9-10 all-stars remained unbeaten following a wild 12-8 come-from-behind victory over Menlo-Atherton on Tuesday at Marina Field at the Belmont Sports Complex. Palo Alto next will play Friday against either Hillsborough or San Mateo National (7:30 p.m.), needing a victory to advance to the semifinals.
The 9-10s trailed 8-0 before coming to bat in the bottom of the first inning. Palo Alto scraped together four runs in the first two innings, made it an 8-7 game in the fourth and finally pulled ahead for good with five runs in the fifth.
After loading the bases in the fifth, Noah Yuen slapped an RBI single to tie the game at 8. When the ball was mishandled in right field, Patrick Welch raced home with the eventual winning run. Jonathan Gottlieb singled in his third run of the game and Ole Erickson followed with his third RBI (a single) of the game.
Palo Alto added another insurance run, more than enough to give the pitching victory to Max Jung-Goldberg. Gottlieb was the real pitching standout for Palo Alto as he held M-A scoreless with four innings of relief. He also had a two-run single in the fourth to help his team close the gap.
The teams committed a combined 13 errors. Palo Alto had five in the first inning to help M-A score its eight runs. Only two runs were earned. Menlo-Atherton also committed five errors in the first, helping Palo Alto to its pair of runs.
In Pacifica, Palo Alto National held a 3-2 lead until Half Moon Bay got an infield single, an error and a walk-off three-run homer for its 5-3 victory.
Palo Alto grabbed the lead with single runs in the second, third and fourth innings. Albert Han scored on a wild pitch for a 1-1 game, Eli Friedlander had an RBI double in the third and starting pitcher Jonathan Davis scored on a groundout in the fourth for a 3-1 lead.
In games Wednesday:
Menlo-Atherton and Alpine/West Menlo will meet in a big showdown in the 11-12s tourney in Pacifica at 5:30 p.m. The winner will advance to the quarterfinals on Monday at Ortega Field 3 (5:30 p.m.) while the loser will drop into the consolation bracket on Friday and play Foster City.
In the 10-11 tournament at San Mateo National's South field, Palo Alto American will face Palo Alto National in a consolation game at 5:30 p.m. At the same time on the North field, Alpine/West Menlo will play in another consolation game.
District 52 11-12-year-old tournament
For five innings, Palo Alto National pitcher Jonathan Davis was in complete control. In the span of three pitches in the sixth, though, it was over.
Jake Salinero hit a three-run homer in the sixth to give Half Moon Bay a 5-3 victory in the second round of a winner's bracket game Tuesday at the District 52 11-12-year-old all-star tournament at Pacifica's Ortega School.
The first two batters, swinging at the first pitch, singled and reached on an error.
Palo Alto will try to fight through the loser's bracket beginning with Thursday's 5:30 p.m. game against San Mateo National at Ortega School, field three.
Davis, who also had two hits of his own, allowed seven hits in the contest and struck out four.
Eli Friedlander and Albert Han each added a double for Palo Alto, and each helped produce a run.