By Rick Chandler
Palo Alto Online Sports
One down and three to go.
Menlo-Atherton's all-stars again escaped doom in the District 52 Little League 11-12 year-old tournament on Thursday, using an array of pitchers and timely hitting to claim a 10-6 win over stubborn San Carlos in a losers-bracket game at Ortega School in Pacifica.
Nick O'Donnell -- one of four pitchers used by M-A (that makes 10 in the past two days) -- was the winner, supported by a big six-run second inning. Fueling that uprising were singles by Holden Kardos and Kyle Bryan, two walks, a run-scoring single by Jack Gray, and a two-run double by Arnaud Laprais.
M-A also scored two in the third and two in the sixth, with Laprais collecting three hits in all. San Carlos' Julien Billot had two home runs.
M-A will take on Hillsborough in the losers-bracket final today at 5:30. That winner moves on to meet Half Moon Bay for the championship on Saturday at 10 a.m.
HMB, which won the winners'-bracket final on Thursday, 10-9 over Hillsborough, must be beaten twice in order to lose the title. A challenge game, if necessary, would be played on Sunday at 1.
Menlo-Atherton is aiming for its first-ever District 52 11-12 year-old crown.
Palo Alto National will play for the championship of the District 52 Tournament following a 7-0 victory over previously unbeaten Belmont-Redwood Shores on Thursday at Lakeshore Park in San Mateo.
Palo Alto and Belmont-Redwood Shores will meet again on Friday (5:30 p.m.) in the winner-take-all finale.
Palo Alto, which has won six straight since losing in the second round, got a solid pitching effort from Justin Hull while advancing to the challenge game. Hull needed only 88 pitches during his 4 1/3 shutout innings. He struck out eight, walked three and allowed just two hits. Tommy Smale pitched one inning of relief and Riley Schoeben came on to retire the final two batters with strikeouts.
Ryan Chang led PA National with a solo home run in the first and a two-run single in the fourth. Alec Olmstead drove in two runs with a double in the third, giving Palo Alto a 3-0 lead at the time. Brian Tracy capped the scoring with a two-run double in the fourth.
Palo Alto National took a step closer to reaching the championship game of the District 52 Tournament with a 6-1 victory over Alpine/West Menlo on Thursday in the consolation bracket at Marina Field In Belmont. The loss knocked Alpine out of the double-elimination tourney.
Palo Alto will play again on Friday at 5:30 p.m., needing a victory to reach Saturday's consolation championship. The district finals will be held Sunday at noon.
Jonathan Gottlieb got the pitching win while working 2 2/3 innings. Nathan Willis and Noah Yuen singled in runs, the latter coming in the second when PA National grabbed a 4-0 lead. Yuen singled again in the fourth and scored on a single by Niko Lillios.