Palo Alto High has been playing baseball since 1897, a period of 114 years. During that time the Vikings have won five section titles and one unofficial state title. Now, they have something else to add to that history.
For the first time in program history, Palo Alto has been ranked No. 1 in the state. That honor arrived late last week when Cal-Hi Sports made the Vikings its No. 1 team in Division II.
"Not surprised by that at all," said Paly coach Erick Raich. "We played pretty much as tough a schedule out there. We had some big-time wins over some top teams, and all of our losses with the exception of one were to teams that were in the top 10 rankings in CCS. So, I think it was very deserving for our boys this year to get such great rankings."
Palo Alto finished off a 28-9 season, the second-most victories in school history, with a Central Coast Section Division I title following a 5-4 victory over San Benito last month. Paly also bounced perennial favorite Mitty in the semifinals.
Palo Alto did need some help to get the No. 1 ranking. Former No. 1 Alameda and No. 2 Clayton Valley both lost to unranked Campolindo in the North Coast Section playoffs and Helix beat No. 3 La Costa Canyon in the San Diego Section. That opened the door for the Vikings.
Paly was the state team of the year in baseball in 1899, 1904 and 1908. This season's CCS title was the team's first. The Vikings previously won four NCS crowns, the last one coming in 1927.
The No. 1 ranking in Division I also moved the Vikings to No. 14 in the final state top 25 rankings. Buchanan of Clovis (30-2) was the No. 1 overall team and No. 1 in Division I. Paly was the No. 2-ranked Northern California team, trailing only No. 10 James Logan of Union City (24-4), and only one of four Bay Area teams in the final top 25.
The Vikings finished ahead of No. 15 Mitty (26-6) and No. 17 St. Francis (25-6).
In the Division IV final rankings, five-time CCS champ Menlo School (26-5) earned the No. 2 spot behind No. 1 Escalon (28-3). Several of the Escalon players were on the school's football team that won the Division III state bowl title in December.