Menlo Chevron celebrated a championship in the Palo Alto Babe Ruth City Tournament game with a 9-4 triumph over Draper Fisher Jurvetson on Tuesday night at Baylands Athletic Center.
Menlo Chevron was the lone unbeaten team in the tournament and claimed the crown with one victory. It was the team's third title after city triumphs in 2004 and '09.
"I was not relaxed until the last out; right now it feels good," said Menlo Chevron head coach Vasken Guiragossian, whose team was sixth just two years ago. "Every year we improved and got better and better. You never know, there were a lot of great teams in the league and nothing was a guarantee that we were going to win it. It feels like a relief and I'm really happy for everyone."
In the bottom of the fifth inning with a man on first and second base, Joshua Kasevich knocked in Sean Young and Michael Oh and gave Menlo Chevron a 5-4 lead. Kasevich, who will be attending Palo Alto High, had two hits and three RBI in addition to tossing six innings of solid pitching.
Kasevich hadn't pitched in about three weeks due to pain in his back. Guiragossian didn't want to risk injury, so he shut Kasevich down to see if he could heal.
"I asked him if he's good to go today and he said 'I am coach,' and I said 'if it hurts let me know' and he did great," said Guiragossian.
Menlo Chevron started off quick in the first inning when David Clarke roped a single to left field, scoring Ole Erickson and giving Menlo a 2-0 edge. Erickson had two hits and three RBI.
DFJ struck back in the third inning and took the lead when Tim Goode lined a single to left-center field, scoring Aron Ecoff from second base and DFJ went up 3-2.
Draper Fisher Jurvetson's Anthony Waller grounded out to short stop while David Hou scored from third base, making it a 4-2 DFJ lead in the fourth inning.
"I told our pitcher Josh (Kasevich), 'you don't have to be perfect'", said Guiragossian. "I told them, 'guys, they're going to hit you but don't get down, they're going to score runs, we just have to answer'. So they put the ball in play and good things happened."
Menlo Chevron took the lead in the fifth after the Kasevich single and it was 5-4 going into the sixth.
In the bottom of the sixth, the DFJ defense fell apart and made three critical errors to lead off the inning. Erickson broke the game open by smashing a two-run double to left-center field to make it an 8-4 game. DFJ committed five errors overall.
Clarke, who helped Gunn High to a winning record this spring, came in relief in the seventh inning for Menlo Chevron and shut down the side while securing the championship.