Menlo baseball turns around a forgettable year with 4-0 start


The 2015 baseball season was one of the most forgettable in Menlo School history. While it wasn't the worst, it certainly was close.

With former Menlo player Ryan Cavan guiding the team for the first time, the Knights struggled to a 6-22 overall record -- the most losses since 1984.

The team lost in the second round of the Peninsula Athletic League playoffs and failed to qualify for the Central Coast Section playoffs. Moreoever, the Knights were dropped from the PAL Bay to the lower Ocean Division following a 2-12 league campaign.

That season, however, is now just a bad memory. The 2016 season has started off quite different with the Knights rolling to four straight wins.

Menlo got another balanced effort and dominated another preseason game with a 10-0 nonleague victory over neighbor Sacred Heart Prep at home Tuesday.

The Knights (4-0) have outscored their opponents 30-4, showing their defense and offense is coming together at the same time.

All nine starters contributed against SHP, with RJ Babiera and Carson Gampell leading the way with four hits. Rylan Pade added a home run among his two hits and Chandler Yu had two doubles and four RBI as the Knights pounded out 15 hits.

Yu (2-0) had a gem of a pitching outing. He had a strikeout in all five innings, and threw 80 pitches through five innings with just one walk. Babiera came on in the sixth inning, throwing 11 pitches and striking out two. David Farnham closed the game with a scoreless seventh.

In addition to hitting the team's first homer of the season, Pade turned a great double play and played great defense.

Menlo's big three-run third inning started with an error by the Gators, followed by Gampell's single. Both runners advanced to second and third on a balk. Yu then hit a bases-clearing double for two more RBI. Ben Somorjai reached base on an error and Babiera drove him in with a double.

In the six-run fourth, all nine batters came to the plate. Pade hit his two-run homer. Yu had another bases-clearing double. Gampell had a base-hit single and Babiera had an RBI single.

"It was a great example of all nine guys contributing to the offense, showing our lineup does not depend on any one player," Cavan said.

Yu had a defensive highlight in the first when he got a ground-ball double play with a runner on third.

Menlo got to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a bases-loaded walk by Yu. The rally was started by Griff McGarry, who also walked and scored the first run.

"Our team is setting a very high standard of play," Cavan added."The guys continue to grind out ABs, stay focus through all seven innings and as a result are playing great baseball."

In other nonleague games Tuesday, Palo Alto improved to 3-0 with a 4-1 victory over visiting North Salinas and Gunn (0-4) dropped a 6-1 decision to visiting Milpitas.

Paly managed just three hits, but scratched out enough runs for starter Ryan Chang (2-0), who lowered his ERA to 1.17 with six innings of four-hit ball. The junior walked one and struck out three. Senior Alec Olmstead pitched a scoreless seventh, striking out three.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Menlo Athletics

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