Palo Alto fell out of first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division for the first time in two years after dropping a 2-1 baseball decision to visiting Wilcox on Wednesday. It was the Vikings' second straight loss, their second in 26 league games, and dropped them a half game behind Los Altos (7-1, 12-5).
Palo Alto is 7-2 (11-5) heading into Friday's rematch at Wilcox (5-2, 14-3) at 3:30 p.m. Five teams, including Los Gatos and Homestead, are within two games of first place.
The Chargers scored two runs in the second, taking advantage of some Viking defensive miscues, setting the table for senior reliever Nick Morehead to shut the door in the final three frames. Palo Alto starter Ben Sneider went the distance, pitching through adversity and stifling Wilcox scoring threats, but was handed the loss. The junior held the Chargers to five hits, striking out four in his complete-game effort.
The Vikings had their chances, but could not execute with runners and scoring position, and failed to tie up the game in the bottom of the seventh after a lead-off double by senior left-fielder Cory Tenanes. The Vikings struck out nine times after entering the game with a team batting average of .375.
In the West Bay Athletic League, Menlo School opened defense of its co- title with a solid 8-1 victory over visiting Crystal Springs on Wednesday. The Knights (1-0, 11-1) played errorless ball and jumped out to a quick lead as Phil Anderson tripled in the first inning and scored on a fielder's choice by Robert Wickers. Menlo added the eventual winning run in the same inning on a bases-loaded walk by Sam Fancher, which brought in Jake Bruml (who had singled.).
After the Gryphons scored a run in the fourth without a hit (a hit by pitch, two wild pitches and a groundout), the Knights blew it open in the sixth as Bruml hit a three-run homer, his third round-tripper of the season. Bruml (the winner) and Freddy Avis were dominant on the mound while allowing a combined four singles, striking out nine and walking none. Menlo will visit King's Academy on Friday.
In San Jose, Sacred Heart Prep bounced back from a nonleague loss to Gunn on Monday by remaining unbeaten in the WBAL by pounding out 14 hits in an 18-9 blasting of host Harker.
Tomas O'Donnell had a homer and drove in four runs for the Gatos (2-0, 7-7) while Cal Baloff tripled and Bo Sakowski had three singles. Jack Larson, Mike Covell and Baloff all had two hits for SHP, which held a 5-2 lead after three innings before scoring 13 runs over the next four. John Geary (2-1) got the win for the Gators, who will host Lowell (San Francisco) in a nonleague game Saturday at 2 p.m.
In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton ended a two-game losing streak by scoring seven unearned runs in a 10-7 victory over host Carlmont on Wednesday. The Bears (2-3, 7-5) got two hits and three RBI from Sam Falkenhagen. Menlo-Atherton will host Carlmont on Friday at 3:15 p.m.
Battling winds that gusted to 45 miles per hour, Sacred Heart Prep held on for a 209-257 victory over host Crystal Springs in a West Bay Athletic League dual match at Crystal Springs Golf Course in Hillsborough on Wednesday. Junior Kevin Knox earned medalist honors with a solid 2-over-par 38 to pace the Gators (6-1, 7-1). Andrew Vetter added a 40 and Taylor Oliver checked in with a 42.
In another WBAL match, Menlo School improved to 6-0 in league play as junior James Huber had a 2-over 37 to earn medalist honors in a 191-226 victory over King's Academy at Sunnyvale Muni. Senior Patrick Grimes and sophomore Andrew Buchanan each shot 38 while senior Bobby Pender and junior Jackson Dean added 39s as the Knights had all five scorers under 40 for the first time.
On an extremely windy day that made even par difficult, Huber earned his first-ever medalist honor by getting six pars, one birdie and two bogeys. The players also had the distraction of having a cement truck parked in the fairway on the par-5 third hole, as it blared its horn repeatedly to draw attention to a broken water main that was flooding the hole.
With six different players scoring, Sacred Heart Prep remained atop the SCVAL El Camino Division race with a 12-6 win over host Los Altos on Wednesday. Brian White led the way with three goals as the Gators improved to 7-0 in league (11-3 overall). Adam Cropper and Frankie Hattler each added two goals and three assists as the Gators pulled away from a 6-4 halftime lead.
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Menlo School avenged an earlier loss to Mountain View by handing the host Spartans a 7-6 loss. The Knights (2-3, 7-6) were led by goalie Luc McNally, who had 12 saves. Junior Ryan Grzejka and sophomore Nick Schultz scored twice, and Schultz added an assist for the Knights. Sophomore Wiley Osborne had a goal and assisted on three others. Senior Kyle Tessier-Lavigne and junior Pete Foster each pitched in with goals.
At Los Gatos, Palo Alto improved to 4-2 in league (7-3 overall) with a 9-4 victory over the host Wildcats. On Monday, the Vikings handed host Mitty a 13-6 loss.
Freshman Caroline Cummings scored six goals and added four assists while senior Kendall Cody added five goals and two assists as host Sacred Heart Prep outscored Castilleja, 17-9, on Wednesday. Senior Julia Keller contribured three goals and two assists while Melissa Holland scored twice as the Gators improved to 3-1 in the WBAL (8-3 overall).
Annie Apffel had a double and drove in two runs and Aryana Yee had two hits, but it wasn't enough as Castilleja (3-8) dropped a 7-4 nonleague game to visiting Woodside.
Menlo School all but wrapped up the No. 1 seed for the Central Coast Section playoffs by handing visiting Saratoga a 6-1 loss in a nonleague match Wednesday.
The Knights (16-1) now have beaten Bellarmine and Saratoga -- its main competition for CCS team honors -- twice this season. Menlo last beat Saratoga, 5-2, while winning its division at the Central California Classic in Fresno.
Menlo was closer to being completely healthy on Wednesday and dominated all but one match. Sophomore Andrew Ball played Saratoga senior Nikhil Jayashankar tough, forcing a supertiebreaker before falling at No. 1 singles, 6-2, 4-6, 10-8.
The rest of the Knights won in straight sets in singles with junior Justin Chan (6-2, 6-1), sophomore Richard Pham (6-3, 6-0) and senior Andrew Carlisle (6-1, 6-0) producing impressive results down the ladder.
In Atherton, Palo Alto continued its postseason push with a 4-3 nonleague victory over host Sacred Heart Prep. The Vikings (11-8) got singles victories from Austin Leung (2-6, 6-2, 7-5) and Chirag Krishna (6-4, 6-1) and triumphs in doubles from Charlie Dulik-Mason Haverstock (6-4, 6-2) and Lucas Fodor-Philipp deFries (6-4, 4-6, 6-2) to wrap up the victory over the Gators (7-6).
In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Gunn (3-7, 8-7) had one of its best matches of the season despite dropping a 4-3 decision to Los Gatos in a makeup match. The Titans were swept in singles in straight sets, but battled in doubles to produce victories behind the tandems of Joe Atlas-Jack Kwan (4-6, 6-0, 6-1), Arjun Narayen-Ameya Rao (6-3, 6-2) and Kevin Macario-Thomas George (6-0, 6-1).