Palo Alto junior pitcher Ben Sneider didn't have the fastest fastball or the curviest curve. While he got his sinkerball to sink and his changeup to change, he rarely overpowered the opposition.
But as Paly coach Erick Raich noted of his junkball artist: "Ben Sneider didn't have dominating stuff, but he was a bulldog on the mound."
Sneider's best stat, perhaps, was that he was the top pitcher on Palo Alto's 28-9 team that captured the first Central Coast Section championship in school baseball history.
Sneider was a starter and he was a reliever. He relied mainly on a curveball that helped him compile a 12-3 record and 1.59 earned-run average with 62 strikeouts. His most important victory likely came in a 5-2 win over Mitty in the CCS Division I semifinals, as the Monarchs came in ranked No. 20 in the state.
Sneider's efforts didn't go unnoticed, as he received second-team honors on the Cal-Hi Sports all-state baseball honor squad last week.
Sneider was one of nine pitchers named on the second team and only one of three from Northern California. The others were from Lincoln (Stockton) and Marin Catholic in Kentfield. Sneider also was one of only four players from the CCS receiving second-team honors.
In addition, Sneider also was named to the All-State Underclass first team, along with Menlo School junior pitcher Freddy Avis.
Avis, who started his prep career at Palo Alto High, also was named first team all-state for the small schools.
Recent Palo Alto graduate T.J. Braff was named to the overall all-state third team as an infielder. Braff was one of only five players from the CCS named to the third team.