Six local teams head into CCS baseball, softball playoffs

The grand experiment begins for the Palo Alto baseball team this week as the Vikings head into the first-ever Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs.

The No. 9-seeded Vikings (16-14) will visit No. 8 Leland (19-9) on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Rather than take a perhaps easier route by playing in Division I, where the top seed is Wilcox, Palo Alto is heading into dangerous territory in a field with four teams that the Vikings have a 3-6 mark against this season.

Paly has lost to No. 3 seed St. Francis, No. 5 seed Los Gatos (twice), No. 15 seed Serra and is 3-2 against No. 6 Saratoga.

"There's nothing but great teams, and we are up for the challenge," Paly senior Jack Cleasby said after a 19-4 loss to Saratoga last Friday in the SCVAL De Anza Division playoff finale. "But, we know we can swing the bats. We know our pitchers can pitch. I think if we can just put everything together we're a great team ourselves and we can make a run during CCS."

Should Palo Alto get by Leland, the Vikings most likely would face top-seeded Leigh (23-6) in the quarterfinals Saturday.

Menlo-Atherton (16-12-1) wisely remained in Division I, where the Bears are seeded only No. 12. A trip to No. 5 Watsonville (20-6) on Thursday night (7 p.m.) will M-A started. The Bears are in the same half of the bracket as No. 1 Wilcox (21-8).

In Division II, Menlo School (17-12) is coming off the a title in the first-ever Peninsula Athletic League Tournament but is seeded only No. 12. Sacred Heart Prep (15-13), which lost in the second round of the tourney, is seeded No. 9.

The Knights will visit No. 5 Capuchino (22-8) for the second time in less than a week to open the tourney on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Menlo routed the Mustangs, 14-1 in the semifinals last Friday, but Menlo coach Craig Schoof knows Capuchino will be a much-tougher team this time as the Knights will face a rested pitching staff.

Sacred Heart Prep opens at No. 8 Branham (16-14) at the same time, with a victory earning the Gators a date with defending CCS Division III champ Pacific Grove in the quarterfinals.

In the CCS softball playoffs, Gunn earned the No. 6 seed and will host No. 11 Homestead (14-13) on Wednesday. The teams did not face each other during the regular season as the Titans won the SCVAL El Camino Division title while the Mustangs played in the tougher De Anza Division.

Gunn's path in the bracket has No. 3 San Benito and then perhaps No. 2 Leland in the next two rounds.

In Division III, Castilleja (11-13) qualified despite a losing record and will take a No. 13 seed to No. 4 Half Moon Bay on Wednesday.


Open Division

Wednesday's first round

(All games at 4 p.m.)

No. 16 Carlmont (15-11) at No. 1 Leigh (23-6)

No. 15 Serra (16-11) at No. 2 San Benito (21-6)

No. 14 San Lorenzo Valley (15-9) at No. 3 St. Francis (25-4)

No. 13 Soquel (18-8) at No. 4 Valley Christian (20-9)

No. 12 Scotts Valley (18-8) at No. 5 Los Gatos (23-9)

No. 11 Bellarmine (23-6) at No. 6 Saratoga (21-9)

No. 10 Terra Nova (17-12) at No. 7 Mitty (22-6)

No. 9 Palo Alto (16-14) at No. 8 Leland (19-9)

Division I

Wednesday's first round

No. 11 Alvarez (16-7) at No. 6 Christopher (14-12), 4 p.m.

No. 9 Salinas (13-14) at No. 8 Homestead (16-14), 4 p.m.

Thursday's first round

No. 16 South San Francisco (15-13) at No. 1 Wilcox (21-8), 4 p.m.

No. 15 Milpitas (16-10) at No. 2 Westmont (20-9), 4 p.m.

No. 14 Fremont (15-11) at No. 3 Sequoia (19-7), 4 p.m.

No. 13 Lincoln (24-2) at No. 4 North Salinas (18-9), 4 p.m.

No. 12 Menlo-Atherton (16-12) at No. 5 Watsonville (20-6), 7 p.m.

No. 10 Los Altos (16-15) at No. 7 Willow Glen (16-11), 4 p.m.

Division II

Wednesday's first round

No. 16 St. Lawrence (15-4) at No. 1 Pacific Grove (19-6), 4 p.m.

No. 15 Prospect (11-16) vs. No. 2 Monterey (18-9) at Sollecito Park, 6 p.m.

No. 14 Stevenson (16-9) at No. 3 Aptos (13-12), 4 p.m.

No. 13 Gilroy (9-15) at No. 4 Santa Cruz (13-10), 4 p.m.

No. 12 Menlo School (17-12) at No. 5 Capuchino (22-8), 4 p.m.

No. 11 Half Moon Bay (13-14) at No. 6 St. Francis CCC (16-8), 4 p.m.

No. 10 Live Oak (15-12) at No. 7 Carmel (18-9), 4 p.m.

No. 9 Sacred Heart Prep (15-13) at No. 8 Branham (16-14), 4 p.m.


Division I

Wednesday's first round

(All games at 4 p.m.)

No. 11 Homestead (14-13) at No. 6 Gunn (17-5)

No. 10 Salinas (14-12) at No. 7 Mountain View (15-9)

No. 12 Los Gatos (14-13) at No. 5 Wilcox (20-7)

No. 13 Lincoln (22-4) at No. 4 Los Altos (19-7)

No. 9 Christopher (16-10) at No. 8 Milpitas (19-8)

Byes: No. 3 San Benito (21-3-1); No. 2 Leland (21-4); No. 1 Carlmont (24-3).

Division II

Wednesday's first round

(All games at 4 p.m.)

No. 11 Branham (19-7) at No. 6 Presentation (21-7)

No. 10 Westmont (15-11) at No. 7 Sobrato (17-7)

No. 12 Mt. Pleasant (13-11) at No. 5 Saratoga (17-10)

No. 13 Mills (12-7) at No. 4 Valley Christian (20-7)

No. 9 Monterey (17-8) at No. 8 Capuchino (16-10)

Byes: No. 1 Archbishop Mitty (27-1); No. 2 Pioneer (22-4); No. 3 Hillsdale (20-7)

Division III

Wednesday's first round

(All games at 4 p.m.)

No. 11 Scotts Valley (18-11) at No. 6 Monte Vista Christian (17-7)

No. 10 Stevenson (15-9) at No. 7 San Lorenzo Valley (19-7)

No. 12 Pacific Grove (12-14) at No. 5 Notre Dame-Belmont (16-11)

No. 13 Castilleja (11-13) at No. 4 Half Moon Bay (20-7)

No. 9 The King's Academy (14-5) vs. No. 8 Carmel (15-8) at Carmel Middle School

Byes: No. 1 Santa Catalina (17-4-1); No. 2 Notre Dame-Salinas (23-3); No. 3 Soquel (21-8)

— Palo Alto Online Sports


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