By Jen Cosgriff
Palo Alto Online Sports
The fireworks were back for the Palo Alto 14-year-old all-stars.
On Wednesday night, facing elimination, Palo Alto lit the fuse, stood back and enjoyed the show. The offensive was once again explosive, scoring 10 runs in the first inning en route to a 14-3 victory over Mountain View in five innings at the District 6 Tournament in Belmont.
Kyle Stewart's grand slam highlighted the outburst, and it was the second hit of the inning for him as he drove in a team-high five runs.
Palo Alto had seven hits on the evening, and also capitalized on the six walks and six errors made by Mountain View.
Palo Alto pitchers were quietly getting the job done amid all the hits, walks and errors bursting in the air.
Alex Aguiar and Chris Smith combined to give up three runs on four hits. Smith showed a strong resilience, bouncing back from a rough outing in Tuesday night's loss to Bel-Mateo.
Palo Alto manager Ron Fried was proud of the way his entire team fought back after Tuesday's game.
"The first inning was key," he said. "Alex shut them down in the top of the first and allowed us to get off to a quick start. Both Alex and Chris did a great job of throwing strikes and Kyle's grand slam was the kind of big hit we were missing in the game against Bel-Mateo."
Palo Alto hopes to carry the momentum -- and offensive power -- into the championship game against unbeaten Bel-Mateo on Thursday at 7 p.m. Palo Alto needs to win in order to force a challenge game on Friday at the same time.
"We definitely took care of business," Fried said. "Before the game started, we talked about the importance of staying focused, playing with a sense of urgency, and playing with energy and enthusiasm; things we didn't do against Bel Mateo. The rematch should be exciting . . . We know they will be tough to beat, especially on their home field."