Sports

M-A moves closer to making program history in CCS baseball

 

Erik Amundson tossed a complete-game one-hitter with 13 strikeouts as 12th-seeded Menlo-Atherton upset fifth-seeded and Watsonville, 2-1, Thursday evening in the first round of the CCS Division I baseball playoffs.

This was just the third CCS victory in the history of M-A baseball. The first was in 2008 (a 4-3 home victory over Santa Teresa), and the second came in the biggest upset in M-A baseball history -- a 9-5 win over host St. Francis in 2010.

Next up for the Bears (17-12-1) will be Saturday's quarterfinals, where they will meet No. 4 North Salinas (19-9) -- a 3-0 winner over Lincoln -- at Hartnell College in Salinas at 2 p.m.

Menlo-Atherton will be looking to become the first baseball team in school history to advance to the CCS semifinals.

On Thursday, Amundson (8-5) allowed just three total base runners -- two walks and an RBI double. After surrendering that second-inning run, the senior righthander retired the final 17 consecutive Watsonville batters. For the season, Amundson now has 96 strikeouts in 69 innings pitched, with a 2.33 ERA.

M-A received all of the offense it would need in the top of the third inning when junior Max Gardiner's clutch two-out single to right-center scored Charlie Cain and Amundson to erase a 1-0 Watsonville lead.

The Bears managed just three hits in the game against Watsonville's junior righthander Chris Rivera, who struck out 11. Rivera walked four, but kept M-A off-balance with his excellent curveball for much of the evening. In addition to Gardiner, Cain and DH Daniel Kollar-Gasiewski had base hits for the Bears.

Cain started M-A's third-inning, two-run rally with sharp single to center. Amundson followed with a walk, and both base runners advanced into scoring position on a passed ball. After Rivera retired the next two M-A hitters, Gardiner laced an 0-1 pitch to right field, giving the Bears what turned out to be an insurmountable one-run lead.

In Division II action Saturday, No. 12 seed Menlo School (18-12) will take on No. 4 Santa Cruz (14-10) at Sacred Heart Prep at 1 p.m.

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