Palo Alto Babe Ruth 14s remain alive in NorCal State tourney


The Palo Alto Babe Ruth 14-year-old all-stars survived to play another day following a 9-7 victory over Vallejo in the NorCal State Tournament on Monday at Clark Field in Woodland.

Palo Alto moves on to the consolation semifinals on Wednesday and will face Sonoma (5 p.m.), which eliminated Oakland on Monday night. Unbeaten Tri-Valley and Woodland will meet on Wednesday in the winners' bracket.

Palo Alto needs to win twice more to reach Friday's championship game in the double-elimination event. In order to win the title, Palo Alto would have to win twice on Friday night. The winner on Friday will advance to a regional tournament beginning July 27 in Surprise, Ariz.

The local all-stars took a step in that direction as Ole Erickson walked with two out and the bases loaded in the top of the sixth to give Palo Alto a 7-6 lead. Kyle Pruhsmeier then slapped a two-run double to make it a 9-6 game.

"Vallejo score a run in the bottom of seventh and had runners on first and third with one out," Palo Alto manager Rick Farr explain. "Their batter hit a deep fly ball to left where it was caught by Ole Erickson. The runner on third tagged up and scored, but on appeal, he was ruled out at third for leaving too early. That was the final out."

Niko Lillios started for Palo Alto and pitched 3 2/3 innings. He didn't get the decision, but scored three runs. Matt Gursky pitched 3 1/3 innings of relief and got win. Sean Young had two singles and two walks plus three stolen bases.

Palo Alto drew five straight walks in the fourth, leading to three runs on wild pitches. Vallejo pitchers wound up issuing 11 walks for the game, with five of those resulting in runs.

Palo Alto nearly offset that advantage by committing seven errors.

The Palo Alto 13s, meanwhile, will take on Tri-Valley on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The game matches the only two unbeaten teams remaining in the double-elimination event at Wilson Park in Vallejo.

The Palo Alto 15s will begin NorCal tourney play on Saturday, facing Tri-Valley at Belmont Sports Complex at 10 a.m.

Elsewhere in baseball:

Matthew Blais, Dylan Cook, and Trevor DeMerritt of the Menlo Park Legends have been selected to play in the California Collegiate League All-Star Game on Thursday at the Compton Urban Youth Academy in Southern California. The game will spotlight the league's top performers from the 2014 summer season.

Blais has been the Legends' ace on the mound in 2014. The soon-to-be freshman at UC Davis has posted excellent numbers this summer while dominating veteran collegiate players. His 1.67 ERA over 37 2/3 innings leads the Legends' pitching staff. He also leads the team in strikeouts with 45 (Michael Chavez is second with 34).

Cook, the former Menlo-Atherton standout, has batted at the heart of the Legends' order all season. The 6-foot-5 third baseman leads the Legends in RBI with 16. He's currently batting .278 with one home run and 25 hits. Cook also has been extremely versatile in the field, moving back and forth from third base and first base and even playing a little left field.

DeMerritt has been the day-in and day-out leadoff man and shortstop for the Legends this season. Giving his all in every aspect of the game, DeMerritt leads the Legends in at-bats, runs, hits, singles and stolen bases. He also has the third-highest batting average with .282.

The Legends will open an ambitious six games in six days schedule on Tuesday by hosting Walnut Creek at Palo Alto High at 5 p.m. Menlo Park will play five of the six games at Paly.

Men's golf

Palo Alto's Patrick Grimes earned second-alternate status for the U.S. Amateur Championships after he shot a pair of 69s on Monday during a 36-hole qualifier at Castlewoood Country Club in Pleasanton.

Grimes, a Menlo School grad and current member of the Stanford golf team, missed an automatic berth by just two shots. He beat out four other golfers in a playoff to take the alternate's berth.

The U.S. Amateur Championship will be held Aug. 11-17 at the Atlantic Athletic Club in Georgia.

Bradley Keller of Menlo Park shot a 1-over 145 to miss the cut. Also missing out was Hussain Ali of Palo Alto (147) and Sacred Heart Prep senior Derek Ackerman (153).


Palo Alto's Daniela Barnea of the Stanford Masters won seven races and set six Pacific Masters long-course records in the 70-74 age bracket at the recent Pacific Masters Championships at the College of San Mateo.

Barnea won the 400-meter IM (7:32.26), 100 fly (1:44.98), 100 breast (1:44.89), 200 breast (3:47.23), 200 fly (3:47.65) and 50 breast (47.61) in record time. The only mark she missed came in the 200 IM, where she clocked 3:33.62.

Nearly 600 swimmers competed from club teams from all over Northern California.

Competing in the men's 70-74 division, David Gildea of the Menlo Masters won the 400 IM, 400 free, 200 breast and 200 fly. Jana Matena of Menlo Masters swam in the women's 50-54 division and won the 200 free, 800 free, 400 free and 50 breast.

Winning three events included John Sulzbach (men's 80-84) of Menlo Masters; Louise Feeley (women's 55-54) of Menlo Masters; Mary Cain (women's 50-54) of Ladera Masters; Todd Lincoln (men's 50-54) of Stanford Masters and Stefan Krawczyk (men's 30-34) of Menlo Masters.

Track and field

Stanford grad Katerina Stefanidi, who competes for Greece, finished second in the women's pole vault at the IAAF Diamond League Sainsbury Grand Prix this past weekend in Glasgow, Scotland. Stefanidi cleared a personal best of 15-3, the same height at the winner, but had more misses. She defeated American recordholder Jenn Suhr (14-11).

In Burnby, British Columbia (Canada), Stanford grad Chris Derrick finished third in the men's mile (3:59.52) at the annual Jerome Classic.

In high school news, effective with the 2015 track season, the prohibition of jewelry will be eliminated. This was one of several rules changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Track and Field Rules Committee at its June 16-18 meeting in Indianapolis. The committee's recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Becky Oakes, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Track and Field Rules Committee, said the committee determined that prohibiting jewelry in high school track and field and cross country is not necessary.

"The wearing of jewelry ordinarily presents little risk of injury to either the competitor or opponents," Oakes said. "Elimination of the rule allows officials to focus on meet administration directly related to actual competition. Coaches continue to have the obligation to see that competitors are properly equipped."

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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