While Palo Alto opened this week trailing first-place Los Gatos by one game in the SCVAL De Anza Division baseball race with just four games remaining, all is not lost for the Vikings.
Los Gatos will take its 9-1 record into a two-game series with Wilcox (6-4) this week before finishing up against Saratoga (4-6) next week. Palo Alto (8-2), meanwhile, will host Saratoga on Wednesday before visiting the Falcons on Friday. Next week, the Vikings finish up against Milpitas (4-6).
The best Palo Alto can hope for is a regular-season co-championship, should the Wildcats lose once. Both team most likely will face each other again in the league playoffs before heading into the Central Coast Section postseason.
Palo Alto, of course, needs to do its job and win its final division games to have a shot at the title. Even if that doesn't happen, the Vikings still can sweep through the playoffs like they did last season.
Paly (14-3-1 overall) got a busy four-game week off to a good start on Monday with a 3-2 victory over host Leland in San Jose.
The Vikings managed just five hits -- three by Owen Plambeck and two by Ethan Stern -- but made the most of them.
Trailing 2-0 after three innings, Paly put up three runs in the top of the fourth. Alec Olmstead led off with a walk and Justin Hull followed with another walk. Plambeck then singled to load the bases.
Lawrence Han was safe on a grounder to short (scoring Olmstead) and Riley Schoeben grounded out to second (scoring Hull). Two batters later, Ben Cleasby lofted a sacrifice fly to center field (scoring Plambeck).
Paly starter Jeremy Akioka got the win while allowing two runs of 3 1/2 innings. He walked none and allowed six hits. Ryan Chang kept Leland off the basepaths during his 3 2/3 innings of work while allowing no earned runs. He struck out three.
Palo Alto maintained its lead in the SCVAL De Anza Division standings and kept its perfect season intact with a 191-210 dual-match victory over Homestead at the par-35 Sunnyvale Municipal Golf Course on Monday.
The Vikings (9-0, 11-0) were led by the trio of Ahmed Ali, Matt Lewis and Henry Gordon. All shot 2-over 37. Joonsung Ha and Greg Eum wrapped up the scoring as each shot 40.
Palo Alto will be back at Sunnyvale Muni on Tuesday to face Cupertino, before playing Fremont and Gunn next week to close the regular season.
At the Aptos Invitational, Sacred Heart Prep finished 10th with 446 strokes while Valley Christian took the title with a 387 score on the par-71 Seascape Golf Course. Shane Snow led the Gators with a 76 and Will Johnson shot 81.
Will Kremer scored four goals and added five assists to pace Sacred Heart Prep to a 19-4 nonleague romp over visiting St. Francis on Monday.
Frank Bell and Jack Crockett each added three goals and three assists for the Gators (11-2), who kicked off a busy week that has SHP playing four matches. Harrison Toig, Tommy Barnds and Josh Papermaster all had two goals while John Carroll, Kevin Tinsley and Trevor Paye tallied one goal each.
SHP hosts Aragon (Tuesday) and Bellarmine (Thursday) before visiting San Ramon Valley on Saturday.
Gunn got three goals from Jenny Chen and Gillian King in a 12-11 victory over Leland in Santa Clara Valley Athletic League action Monday. Annie Vesey and Andrea Garcia-Milla each added two goals while Anika Kalar and Lucy Augustine finished with one each. Vesey won nine ground balls and goalie Ruby Robinson had seven saves.
Sacred Heart Prep improved to 11-6 with a 6-1 nonleague victory over visiting Cupertino on Monday. Vincent Xie and Josh Lin swept the top two singles matches in straight sets while the Gators took the next two by default.
Meanwhile, Menlo School (9-0, 13-3) can wrap up a 20ths straight league title under coach Bill Shine by beating Crystal Springs and King's Academy this week in the West Bay Athletic League.
The big match of the week, however, will be Friday when the Knights travel to San Francisco to face St. Ignatius. The Wildcats appears to be the team standing in Menlo's way of defending its CCS title this season and Friday's match will provide Shine with that knowledge.
Menlo lost its No. 1 singles player, Lane Leschly, to a leg injury before the start of the season.