Sports

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.

2015 CCS BASEBALL PLAYOFFS

OPEN DIVISION

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

Quarterfinals

Saturday, May 23

Semifinals

Wednesday, May 27

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

Finals

Saturday, May 30

At San Jose Municipal Stadium, TBA

-

DIVISION I

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)

Quarterfinals

Saturday, May 23

Semifinals

Thursday, May 28

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

Finals

Saturday, May 30

At San Jose Municipal Stadium, TBA

-

DIVISION II

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)

Quarterfinals

Saturday, May 23

Semifinals

Tuesday, May 26

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

Finals

Saturday, May 30

At San Jose Municipal Stadium, TBA

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