Sports

Sneider pitches Palo Alto baseball team into first place

 

Palo Alto junior Ben Sneider came up with his best pitching performance of the season, issuing just one hit during an 8-0 complete-game baseball victory over visiting Homestead in SCVAL De Anza Division action on Tuesday. The game was moved up a day due to the threat of rain later in the week.

The Vikings (5-0, 8-3) took over sole possession of first place by banging out 13 hits. Ozzie Braff, Cory Tenanes, Christoph Bono, Will Glazier and Drake Swezey all had a pair of hits while T.J. Braff drove in three runs to support Sneider's excellent pitching, which included six strikeouts.

"Sneider threw awesome yesterday," said Paly coach Erick Raich. "He had command of all three pitches. His no-hitter was broken up in the fifth. We called a fastball in but he shook off and went to a changeup and the guy hit a hard ground ball (past second). Only two runners reached base, so it was a pretty dominating outing."

Palo Alto holds a one-game lead over Wilcox, Los Altos and Homestead. All are 3-1 after being rained out last Friday. The Vikings have an extra game after moving their Friday game against Cupertino up a day last week. Palo Alto has outscored division opponents 53-3 in five games.

In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Gunn suffered its first setback in division play in an 8-6 loss to host Santa Clara on Tuesday night at Washington Park. The Titans (2-1, 4-4-1) grabbed a 2-0 lead after two innings before the Bruins tied it in the third. Gunn went ahead 4-2 in the top of the fifth, but Santa Clara scored five times in the bottom of the inning for the eventual winning runs.

In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton also moved up its opener but suffered a 4-3 loss to host Sequoia on Tuesday in 10 innings. The Bears (0-1, 5-3) outhit the Cherokees, 13-7.

Sequoia scored first in the fourth inning after loading the bases with one out. Only one runner scored, however, leaving three on base after a single. The Bears answered in the top of the fifth with consecutive singles by Nick Lange, Kyle Zirbes, Dylan Cook and Myles Brewer plating two runs.

M-A starter Nick Lange retired six of the next seven Sequoia batters were retired until the bottom of the seventh when the Cherokees struck back with two runs on a hit batter, a single, a wild pitch, a ground ball and a squeeze bunt. Lange left the game after allowing six hits, one walk while striking out six. Ryan Cortez took over, pitching two scoreless innings and giving his team three chances to score.

Casey Eason led off the M-A ninth with a double, but was stranded. In the top of the 10th, Cortez got aboard on a bunt single but was erased at second on a broken play. Sequoia capitalized on a leadoff walk followed by a walk-off double by Jake Mauldrin.

Girls lacrosse

Palo Alto maintained its hold on first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division with a 10-5 victory over visiting Pioneer on Tuesday evening.

The Vikings (3-0, 3-4), who beat St. Francis last week in a rematch of last year's league playoff championship, grabbed a 5-3 halftime lead against Pioneer before pulling away in the second half.

Kimmie Flather tallied three times while Gracie Cain and Nina Kelty each added two goals for Paly. Kristen Destefano, Genevieve Lucas-Conwell and Charlotte Biffar also scored for Paly.

In nonleague action, Menlo-Atherton got six goals from Becca Higgit in a 21-5 romp over visiting Santa Catalina on Tuesday. Christina Rodgers added three goals for the Bears (4-2) while Julia Farino, Diane Masket, Sydney Novak-Federmeyer, Madison Frame and Emily Carlson all added two goals apiece.

Gunn, meanwhile, dropped a 13-3 decision to host St. Francis. Kela Metzger, Katie-rose Skelly and Nora Shevick scored goals for the Titans (2-4).

In San Francisco, improving Sacred Heart Prep ran up against perennial NorCal power St. Ignatius and dropped a 20-9 decision. SHP freshman Caroline Cummings scored six goals on six shots to pace the Gators (5-2) while senior Kendall Cody added three goals and two assists and goalie Emily Westerfield came up with 16 saves.

Softball

Palo Alto evened its record in the SCVAL De Anza Division with a 4-0 victory over host Fremont on Tuesday in Sunnyvale. The Vikings (1-1, 2-5) jumped out to 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, with timely hitting by Gracie Marshall and Hannah Bundy.

The Vikings tallied another run in the third inning when Anna Gale singled and was driven in by Bundy, her second RBI of the day.

The Vikings capped off their scoring with two more runs in the fifth, highlighted by Anna Rizza's single and Maya Padilla's RBI double. Stafford shut out Fremont over seven innings and limited the Firebirds (0-2, 1-5) to two hits.

In nonleague action Tuesday, host Menlo School opened its season with a 6-3 victory over Notre Dame-San Jose. Sophomore pitcher Kelly McConnell pitched a complete game while striking out four.

The Knights trailed 1-0 until the bottom of the fourth when Rebecca Friedman led off with a single. Following two more hits to load the bases, freshman Jayda Rice slammed a three-run triple as Menlo took the lead for good.

Swimming

Menlo School split its West Bay Athletic League dual meet with visiting King's Academy on Tuesday, with the Menlo boys posting a 105-65 win while the Menlo girls dropped a 109-38 meet.

The Menlo boys (1-0, 2-1) won only three individual events with Wade Avery taking the 50-meter (short course) free in 26.09, freshman Johnny Wilson winning the 100 fly in 1:09.11 and Jack Finch taking the 100 free in 1:00.69. The Knights, however, took the 200 free and 400 free relays and had enough depth to offset six wins by King's Academy.

Finch trailed by nearly two seconds on his third leg of the 200 free relay, but chopped that deficit to give junior Nick Hale a chance on the anchor, with Hale bringing the Knights home a full 1 1/2 seconds ahead of the visitors.

In the girls' meet, Menlo (0-2, 0-4) managed only one victory (200 free relay).

Boys tennis

Menlo-Atherton maintained its hold on first place in the PAL Bay Division following a 6-1 victory over host El Camino on Tuesday.

The Bears (6-0, 8-2) swept the No. 2-4 singles in straight sets with Richie Sarwal, Nick Fratt and Zeke Brown losing only a combined eight games. Doubles was even better as M-A dropped only two games.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Gunn (3-2, 8-3) played a makeup match with Los Gatos and held on for a big 4-3 victory. Roy Peleg won at No. 4 singles, 6-2, 6-1, and Gunn's doubles tandems of Kevin Macario-Jack Kwan, Joe Atlas-Ameya Rao and Arjun Narayen-Thomas George all won in straight sets to clinch the victory.

In the West Bay Athletic League, Sacred Heart Prep improved to 3-1 (4-3 overall) with a 7-0 victory over host King's Academy on Tuesday. Nick Pizzut, Daver Refioglu, Cameron Kirtpatrick and Will Savage swept the singles, with only Refioflu pushed to a super tiebreaker.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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