CCS Open Division a comfortable draw for Palo Alto


The Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs can be a virtual mine field in any sport. In baseball, it can be a downright nightmare.

While there are five teams from the perennial tough West Catholic Athletic League among the 2015 Open Division field, the bracket might not be as scary as in previous years.

While nationally ranked St. Francis (25-5) is the No. 2 seed, Valley Christian is No. 6, Serra is No. 10, Mitty is No. 12 and Bellarmine is No. 14.

Los Gatos (27-5) is the No. 1 seed and located in Palo Alto's half of the bracket. The Vikings (19-12) are No. 13 and got into the Open Division by virtue of winning the SCVAL De Anza Division playoff title.

To do that, Palo Alto first upset regular-season co-champ Los Gatos, two games to one, and then swept Saratoga in two games to claim the playoff crown. Saratoga is also in Paly's half of the bracket.

Thus, first-year Paly coach Pete Fukuhara probably isn't as concerned heading into Wednesday's opener at No. 4 Carlmont (22-7) at 4 p.m.

While Paly did lose to the Scots in a nonleague game on March 7, it probably was more of a glitch than anything else as the Vikings started their season 8-1.

Moreover, Palo Alto has momentum on its side after going 5-1 in the postseason playoffs thus far. The pitching staff has been solidified with senior Isaac Kasevich leading the way with an 8-1 mark and 1.59 ERA. Senior Corey Bicknell has a 1.73 ERA, junior Justin Hull is 6-2 with a 2.80 mark and freshman Niko Lillios is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA.

The Vikings have a team ERA of 2.38 and are allowing less than four runs per game.

The Division I playoffs finds No. 13 Gunn (15-10-1) visiting No. 4 Menlo-Atherton (15-14) on Wednesday at 4 p.m. The Titans finished second in the SCVAL El Camino Division with an 11-4 mark this season following a regular-season ending loss to first-place Cupertino, the No. 2 seed in the bracket.

Gunn was blown out by host M-A in a nonleague game on May 4, but the Titans didn't pitch any of their top three hurlers due to important league games coming up.

The Bears, meanwhile, are coming off a loss to Sacred Heart Prep in the quarterfinals of the PAL playoffs. Senior Matt McGarry has been the hitting and pitching standout for M-A this season. McGarry is the PAL Bay Division Co-Player of the Year.

Sacred Heart Prep, which had a shot at winning the regular-season title in the PAL Bay Division, wound up in a three-way tie for second and dropped a 2-1 decision to Carlmont in the playoff semifinals last week.

The Gators are seeded No. 4 in Division II and will host No. 13 Palma (14-13) on Wednesday at 4 p.m. SHP should feel comfortable in the division with six teams from the PAL competing.

Leading the Gators (17-12) on the mound is senior Will Johnston, voted Co-Pitcher of the Year in the division. First-year SHP coach Anthony Granato shared Coach of the Year honors with Rich Vallero of Carlmont.



Wednesday's first round (4 p.m.)

No. 11 Soquel (22-5) at No. 6 Valley Christian (22-7)

No. 14 Bellarmine (17-10) at No. 3 San Benito (20-7)

No. 10 Serra (18-9) at No. 7 Wilcox (21-11)

No. 15 Leigh (12-16) at No. 2 St. Francis (25-5)

No. 12 Mitty (20-10) at No. 6 St. Francis-CCC (22-5)

No. 13 Palo Alto (19-12) at No. 4 Carlmont (22-7)

No. 9 Saratoga (17-13) at No. 8 Branham (21-8)

No. 16 Santa Cruz (9-17) vs. No. 1 Los Gatos (27-5) at West Valley College


Saturday, May 23


Wednesday, May 27

At San Jose Municipal Stadium, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.


Saturday, May 30

At San Jose Municipal Stadium, TBA



Wednesday's first round (4 p.m.)

No. 11 Sequoia (17-11) at No. 6 Lincoln (18-7)

No. 14 Monta Vista (16-11) vs. No. 3 Christopher School (15-11) at Gavilan College

No. 10 Salinas (14-13) at No. 7 Pioneer (15-11)

No. 15 Independence (20-7) at No. 2 Cupertino (19-8)

No. 12 Milpitas (17-11) at No. 5 Willow Glen (15-12)

No. 13 Gunn (15-10-1) at No. 4 Menlo-Atherton (15-14)

No. 9 Leland (13-14) at No. 8 Watsonville (20-7), 7 p.m.

No. 16 Piedmont Hill s(17-7) at No. 1 North Salinas (19-8)


Saturday, May 23


Thursday, May 28

San Jose Municipal Stadium, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.


Saturday, May 30

At San Jose Municipal Stadium, TBA



Wednesday's first round (4 p.m.)

No. 11 Live Oak (15-14) at No. 6 San Lorenzo Valley (15-11)

No. 14 Aragon (17-12) at No. 3 Soledad (22-5)

No. 10 Scotts Valley (15-12) at No. 7 Carmel (20-7)

No. 15 Mills (16-12) at No. 2 Terra Nova (17-10)

No. 12 Burlingame (18-12) vs. No. 5 St. Ignatius (18-11), Fairmont Field

No. 12 Palma (14-13) at No. 4 Sacred Heart Prep (17-12)

No. 9 Pacific Grove (20-8) vs. No. 8 Monterey (15-12). Sollecito Field, 5 p.m.

No. 16 Summit Prep (15-1-1) at No. 1 Hilldale (26-2)


Saturday, May 23


Tuesday, May 26

At San Jose Municipal Stadium, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.


Saturday, May 30

At San Jose Municipal Stadium, TBA

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Peek inside the fine-dining Selby's, opening in Redwood City this summer
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 4,509 views

If you do nothing else, do These Three Things
By Sherry Listgarten | 16 comments | 1,491 views

Homestead Faire at Hidden Villa 4/27
By Laura Stec | 7 comments | 1,288 views

Premarital and Couples: "You're Not Listening to Me!" may mean "I don't feel heard."
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,183 views

Finding Balance
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 107 views


Vote now!

It's time once again to cast your vote for the best places to eat, drink, shop and spend time in Palo Alto. Voting is open now through May 27. Watch for the results of our 2019 Best Of contest on Friday, July 19.