By James Huber
Special to Palo Alto Online Sports
Top-seeded All Out Baseball scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to defeat No. 2 seed Alhouse Realty, 4-2, in the quarterfinals of the Palo Alto Little League City Tournament on Tuesday night at Middlefield Ballpark.
All Out broke the 2-2 tie when Alhouse's right fielder couldn't handle David Clarke's scorching line drive with two outs, which allowed Pete Snodgrass and Hunter North to score. Griffy Byer then slammed the door on Alhouse's hopes with a 1-2-3 sixth inning to end the ballgame.
"It was a great battle with Alhouse; they're a fantastic team," said All Out head coach Alex Byer. "Overall, it was an amazing team effort and I'm so proud of them."
All Out's victory was especially sweet because it had lost close games to Alhouse in both of their meetings during the regular season. Despite posting a league-best 17-3 record, All Out dropped 2-0 and 3-2 decisions to Alhouse, the latter on a walk-off home run by ace pitcher Riley Schoeben in the bottom of the sixth inning.
"Both teams have played very closely all season and we saw some more good baseball tonight," Alhouse head coach Ted Tracy said. "At the end of the game it came down to a couple of plays."
For the last two remaining undefeated teams in a double-elimination tournament, it was a chess match for All Out and Alhouse to try to manage their pitchers' pitch counts. Both teams yanked their starting pitchers after 50 pitches in order to ensure that they will be available to pitch in Thursday's semifinal game. All Out's starter, Clarke, went 2 1/3 innings and Alhouse's Noah Yuen pitched 2 2/3 innings, with both starters allowing two runs.
All Out jumped out to an early lead in the second inning, but Alhouse did a good jump at minimizing the damage and only allowed two runs. After the first four hitters for All Out reached base, Alhouse turned a nifty double play and then got the following hitter to fly out and keep the game close.
Alhouse then responded with two runs of its own in the top of the third inning. Alhouse's Angus Stayte, who also had a nice diving stop at first base, capitalized on an All Out error with a run-scoring single to bring the game to a 2-2 tie.
Both teams had good opportunities to break open the tie, but neither team capitalized until All Out rallied in the bottom of the fifth inning.
All Out's Charlie Racz and Snodgrass both singled to lead off the third inning, but Alhouse threw out a runner at the plate and then got the next hitter to pop out to end the threat. Alhouse also had a chance in the fourth inning after brothers Noah and Zak Yuen were both hit by pitches to lead off the inning, but Byer retired the next three hitters with ease.
In the semifinals on Thursday, All Out plays No. 3 seed Morgan Gault at Middlefield at 3 p.m. while Alhouse faces No. 4 Healthy Pets at Hoover Park at the same time.
In Tuesday's other games, Morgan Gault eliminated Old Pro, 9-2, and Healthy Pets knocked out Bike Connection, 13-2, in consolation-bracket games.
Palo Alto Little League City Tournament
Alhouse 002 000 – 2 4 1
All Out Baseball 020 02x – 4 6 1
WP -- Griffy Byer. LP -- Brian Tracy.
3B – Riley Schoeben (Alhouse). 2B – David Clarke (All Out). 2 hits – Pete Snodgrass (All Out).
2 RBI – David Clarke.
Other scores: Morgan Gault 9, Old Pro 2; Healthy Pets 13, Bike Connection 2