The final score will indicate that the Palo Alto 14-year-old Babe Ruth all-star team was no match for Bel-Mateo. That 11-1 score sure looks bad from the third base dugout at the Belmont Sports Complex on Friday.
Palo Alto manager Ron Fried gathered his players one last time on the grass just beyond third base. The District 6 Tournament was history and his troops had mustered just enough to force an extra game.
Fried reminded them of how proud he was that they gave everything they had. The guys were having some fun, even with that lopsided score reminding everybody the team in charge.
But how can you look a young man like third baseman Alec Furrier in the face and not chuckle? He went after a foul ground in the top of the sixth, his team already down by nine runs. He wound with a face full of dirt and came up smiling.
Shortstop Michael Strong and left fielder Jack Cleasby came over to console him, but both teammates ended up with smiles on their faces too as they ran back to their positions. These guys were having fun just playing ball.
Furrier got another chance later in the inning and nailed it. He also used two hands. These guys were taught how to play the right way.
Palo Alto hustled out onto the field for their final defensive inning just like they were holding the lead. This particular game may have gotten out of hand early, but Palo Alto maintained its respect for the game and played as hard in its final at-bat as they did in their first.
Furrier led off the bottom of the sixth and drove a line drive that somehow found the glove of Bel-Mateo's left fielder, who dived forward and stuck his glove out to make an all-star play.
Cleasby also hit the first pitch he saw and drilled a sharp single, which turned out to be Palo Alto's final hit of the season.
The Palo Alto players were introduced one last time after the loss. In addition to Furrier, Cleasby and Strong there were Alex Aguiar, Johnathan Corvello, James Foug, Kyle Johnson, Brian Kannappan, Christopher Lee, Casey McDonald, Rohit Ramkumar, Chris Smith, Kyle Stewart, Daniel Tachna-Fram, Zach Tornquist and alternates Charlie Boyden, Charlie Cain, Robert Larson and Will Hahmens.