By Rick Chandler
Palo Alto Online Sports
The number of local teams is dwindling in the three District 52 Little League all-star baseball tournament currently under way on the Mid-Peninsula. Heading into games on Wednesday, only four teams remain.
That number will be cut to at least three and possibly two following mid-week consolation-bracket games.
Once-beaten Menlo-Atherton is on the bubble at the 11-12 tourney in Pacifica, where it will face Pacifica American on Wednesday at Ortega School at 5:30 p.m. A victory will earn M-A another game on Thursday (5:30 p.m.) against either San Carlos or Half Moon Bay.
Menlo-Atherton will need to win three straight games just to reach Saturday's championship game at 10 a.m. Hillsborough, most likely, will be the unbeaten finalist, and will have to be beaten twice in order to lose the title. A challenge game, if necessary, will be played Sunday at noon.
In another 11-12 consolation game, Alpine-West Menlo was eliminated following a 9-6 loss to San Carlos on Tuesday.
Another big home run by Daniel Koller-Gasiewski and the pitching of John Bird was almost enough to keep Alpine/West Menlo alive, but it was not to be.
Koller-Gasiewski's grand slam in the fourth inning gave Alpine a 6-3 lead, but San Carlos scored a run in the fifth and put together a five-run uprising in the sixth to take a 9-6 win.
Bird pitched well for Alpine, striking out 10 over five innings. But he reached the pitch count limit of 85 in the fifth, and had to give way to a reliever in the sixth. Alpine, in fact, used three pitchers in the sixth, when San Carlos collected six hits -- all singles -- and a sacrifice fly to take the lead.
Mitch Martella had two hits, including a double, for Alpine, as did teammate Matt Hennefarth. Bird and Evan Easton also had doubles.
At the 10-11 tournament at Lakeshore Park in San Mateo, only Palo Alto National remains following its 6-0 victory over Hillsborough on Tuesday. Palo Alto will face San Mateo National on Wednesday (5:30 p.m.), needing a victory to reach Thursday's championship game against Belmont/Redwood Shores at 5:30 p.m. A challenge game, if necessary, will be played Friday at 5:30 p.m.
Alec Olmstead threw 5 2/3 innings of two-hit ball to spark Palo Alto National against Hillsborough. He struck out 10 and walked only one. Olmstead also slammed a two-run homer in the fifth inning to close out the victory.
Olmstead's homer was one of three round-trippers for Palo Alto, which managed just five hits. Ryan Chang hit a solo homer in the second for a 1-0 lead and Griffy Byer hit a two-run homer in the fourth for a 4-0 advantage.
At the 9-10 tourney in Belmont, Alpine-West Menlo and Palo Alto American will meet on Wednesday (5:30 p.m.), with the loser being eliminated. the winner will face Hillsborough on Thursday (5 p.m.) with that winner moving on to a game Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Palo Alto National is the lone unbeaten team among the locals and will play Friday night. A victory will send Palo Alto to Sunday's championship game at noon at Marina Field.