By Jen Cosgriff
Palo Alto Online Sports
Alec Olmstead knows what to do with a baseball in his hand. He also knows what to do to a baseball when he has a bat in his hands.
Olmstead pitched five scoreless innings and hit a home run to jump start the offense and the Palo Alto National 10-11-year-old all-star team advanced in the losers' bracket of the District 52 all-star tournament Friday on a lovely afternoon along the shores of Seal Slough.
Palo Alto beat Pacifica American, 7-0, at Lakeshore Park's North Field. The news wasn't as good for the Alpine-West Menlo all-stars over on the South Field, where Foster City went on a hitting spree and won that contest, 17-2, in four innings to eliminate Alpine.
Palo Alto advances to meet Half Moon Bay in an elimination game Monday at 5:30 p.m. on the South Field. Foster City takes on Hillsborough at the same time on the North Field. Those winners meet Tuesday to determine the Final Four.
Host San Mateo National and Belmont-Redwood Shores are the two teams left standing in the winner's bracket and one of them will fall on Tuesday.
Palo Alto National (2-1 in the tournament) is one of six teams staying alive in the battle for the district title. Alpine-West Menlo (1-2) can't feel too good about losing, but at least they outlasted seven other teams before departing. Alpine-West Menlo can take away memories of a good season that just didn't end the right way.
Olmstead and his pals flourished on the North Field. Not only did he pitch a four-hitter during his time on the mound, he added eight strikeouts and did not a walk a batter. That last item has to make any coach happy.
Tommy Smale was asked to finish off the pitching gem and though he didn't strike out anyone, he got the side in order. The Palo Alto fielding was up to par behind both pitchers. There were no errors made.
Combine no errors and no walks and it makes it tough on an opposing team to score no matter how many hits, which was exactly the idea.
Olmstead got things started offensively with his two-run homer in the third inning. Riley Schoeben and Ethan Stern each added their own two cents. Well, actually they each added their own two RBI.
Schoeben cracked a two-run single in the fourth and Stern added a two-run double in the fifth. Another run came home on an error.
Alpine-West Menlo fell behind early but it didn't mean the all-stars had to dig a foxhole. Instead, James Adler, who had two hits in the game, hit a home run to lead off the second inning. Kevin Tinsley followed with a single and he scored when Patrick Wilkinson hit a single.