The Palo Alto baseball team is gaining momentum at the right time, but it may be too late for the Vikings to successfully defend their SCVAL De Anza Division regular-season title.
Palo Alto (17-7) will take a six-game winning streak into this week's two-game series with Saratoga -- playing Wednesday at Saratoga before hosing the Falcons on Friday at 3:30 p.m. The best the Vikings can finish in league play, however, will be 11-3. First-place Wilcox currently is 11-2 with only one game, against lowly Mountain View, remaining on its schedule.
Palo Alto tuned up for its final regular-season series by rallying for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull out a 6-5 nonleague victory over visiting Willow Glen on Monday.
Palo Alto scored four runs in the first but saw a 4-1 lead disappear when the Rams scored four in the top of the seventh to grab a 5-4 lead, the go-ahead run coming home on a balk. The Vikings, howevr, battled back and won their sixth straight.
Christoph Bono got Paly's seventh-inning rally started with a leadoff walk. Cory Tenanes hit a swinging bunt and Austin Braff had a perfect drag bunt to load the bases. T.J. Braff got hit by a pitch to tie the score before Will Glazier also was plunked to bring in the winner.
Tenanes and Drake Swezey each had a pair of hits for Paly with Swezey also driving in two runs to help overcome three errors. T.J. Braff blasted a triple.
Swezey was cruising until giving up the four runs in the seventh. Ben Sneider came on in relief with no outs and shut the door while allowing just one hit.
Sacred Heart Prep tuned up for Wednesday's showdown for the West Bay Athletic League regular-season title with Menlo School by posting a 200-221 victory over Pinewood at Sharon Heights Country Club on Monday. The Gators (8-1, 10-1) got a 1-over-par 37 from Bradley Knox to earn medalist honors while Kevin Knox added a 39. Jack Jenke led Pinewood (3-6-1) with a 40.
Jumping out to a 5-0 lead in just over five minutes of play, Menlo School pulled away for a 21-9 victory over visiting Castilleja in a WBAL match on Monday. The first-place Knights improved to 4-0 in league (12-6 overall) as sophomore Michaela Michael was involved in all five scores to start the match -- scoring three unassisted goals, assisting on a goal by Elyse Adler and then scoring off an assist by Adler.
The Knights held a 15-3 halftime lead before Castilleja (1-5, 4-6) chipped away and got its deficit to nine at 18-9. Michael finished with eight goals and one assist with Adler and Brooke Bullington scoring three times. Martha Harding led the Gators with four goals. Menlo will visit Burlingame on Wednesday (5:30 p.m.) in a rematch of last season's WBAL playoff finale won by the Knights.
Menlo was coming off a 1-2 effort during a trip to Orlando, Fla., during last week's spring break. The Knights opened with an 18-17 double-overtime victory over WT Woodson (Fairfax, Va.), before dropping an 18-15 decision to Cherry Hill East (N.J.). In the final match, Menlo fell to Great Valley (Malvern, Pa.), 20-11.
Michael and Ali Kim scored four goals each against WT Woodson while Adler scored the game-winner in sudden victory OT off an assist by Savannah McKinnon. Menlo also beat WT Woodson in 2009, 21-20, in triple overtime.
In the loss to Cherry Hill, Menlo found itself trailing by 5-0 with 18:48 left in the first half. The Knights rallied in the second half as Michael scored six goals and Sophie Sheeline added three, as did Adler.
In the loss to Great Valley, Menlo was outscored by 8-1 in the first 5:09 of the first half and trailed, 17-6, in the second half. This was the second meeting between the schools, with Great Valley winning in 2009 by the same score, 20-11.
Menlo-Atherton certainly wasn't rusty from a week off for spring break as the Bears blasted their way to an 18-7 nonleague triumph over visiting Mt. Eden (Hayward) on Monday.
Lauren Diller had five hits, including a double and triple, and drove in five runs to lead M-A's 18-hit attack. Erin LaPorte contributed three hits and four RBI while Jackie Gonzalez blasted a home run among her two hits and drove in a pair as Monica Vasquez earned her second win of the season as she tossed a two-hitter for the Bears, who improved to 8-5 following the five-inning game shortened by the 10-run mercy rule.