Palo Alto 15s win NorCal State tourney opener


The Palo Alto Babe Ruth 15s dominated in their NorCal State All-Star tournament opener with a 10-0 victory over Oakland in six innings at Baylands Athletic Center on Saturday night.

Palo Alto moved on to Sunday's game and will take on Ukiah at 7 p.m. Ukiah posted a 5-0 winner over Bel-Mateo. In other openers, Mountain View defeated East Sacramento, 12-4, and Tri-Valley rolled past Vallejo, 11-0.

"Great start to the tournament," said Palo Alto head coach Rick Farr. "That's a good team and we played well. The score does not reflect the game, it was pretty even for four innings. We pitched great, played good defense and had timely hitting. I really had no complaints."

Palo Alto's first run of the game came in the second inning when David Clarke hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Tim Goode from third base and making it a 1-0 game.

Clarke also produced on the mound as the Gunn High standout pitched six shutout innings, striking out eight, and allowing just four hits.

"It all starts with first pitch strikes," said Farr. "I would say he was around 70 percent with that. At this level if you don't walk guys with a pretty good defense behind you you're going to be successful. The fact that he threw curve balls for strikes was huge too."

Clark had his stuff working against Oakland. He struck out five on his curve ball and his changeup across the zone was throwing hitters off balance, as well.

The bats started to come alive for Palo Alto in the fifth inning. Goode slapped a base hit to left-center field, bringing home Aaron Ecoff and Ole Erickson making it a 5-0 lead. Palo Alto had five runs on five hits in the fifth inning.

"We've got some good hitters one through nine, really, any of those guys can hit -- we've got some depth," said Farr.

Palo Alto had another huge inning in the sixth, scoring four runs on four hits. Ecoff opened up the lead when he smashed a triple over the left fielder's head and brought home John McGrory and Brian Hwang, making it a 9-0 route.

"It's definitely a big confidence builder," said Clarke. "We felt pretty good going in but we really confirmed that we're probably one of the best teams in the tournament."

In other NorCal State action Saturday, the Palo Alto 13s blanked Woodland, 10-0, in five innings as pitchers Eric Flores and John Canessa combined for the shutout. Every Palo Alto starter scored a run. Palo Alto will meet Tri-Valley on Sunday at 4 p.m. In Woodland, the Palo Alto 14s fell to Tri-Valley, 11-1, at Clark Field. Palo Alto will face Galt on Sunday at 10 a.m.

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