Sports

Menlo is only CCS baseball survivor as Paly, SHP fall

 

The Central Coast Section baseball playoffs are over as soon as they started for Palo Alto and Sacred Heart Prep as both fell in opening-round play Wednesday.

The lone survivor was Menlo School, which pasted a 9-3 defeat on No. 14 Soquel (8-16) in a CCS Division II opener in Atherton.

The No. 3-seeded Knights (21-7) advance to Saturday's quarterfinals at Fremont High in Sunnyvale, where they'll face No. 11 Pacific Grove (18-8-1) at 2 p.m. The Breakers opened with a 4-2 upset of No. 6 Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Menlo and Pacific Grove have plenty of postseason history, none of it good for the Knights. The Breakers defeated Menlo in the CCS Division III finals in 2012 and '13.

Menlo earned a shot at redemption by overcoming an early Soquel lead with three runs in the bottom of the first and second. The Knights finished with 10 hits.

Rylan Pade had two hits and three RBI to lead the way with fellow senior RJ Babiera adding two hits and scoring three runs. Juniors Griff McGarry and Ben Somorjai combined for three RBI as McGarry had two and Somorjai had an RBI double.

That was more than enough for junior right-hander Chandler Yu, who improved to 9-1.

In an Open Division shocker, No. 16 Valley Christian eliminated No. 1 Palo Alto with a 2-0 victory on the Vikings' field. It was Paly's third straight opening-round loss in the Open Division.

The Vikings finished their season at 23-6-1 while the Warriors improved to 16-14, advancing to the quarterfinals against Carlmont, a 3-1 winner over over North Salinas. Carlmont eliminated Paly in the first round last year.

"It was good baseball game," said Paly manager Pete Fukuhara. "They're a good ball club and their pitcher did a great job. I'm extremely proud of my group. Our seniors carried us and did a fantastic job and we have some young guys that did a great job too, so I'm looking forward to what the program has ahead of us."

It was a pitchers' duel all game long. Palo Alto senior Justin Hull pitched a complete game, surrendering only two runs and striking out 10 batters. On the other side was Valley Christian sophomore Patrick Wicklander, who threw a complete-game shutout, struck out eight and got out of a bases-loaded situation with one out.

Valley Christian struck first in the first inning when freshman Coleman Brigman knocked home Nick Marinconz on a double to left center field and the Warriors went up 1-0. Brigman went 2 for 4.

The Vikings had their best chance to score in the fifth inning when sophomore Max Jung-Goldberg led off with a single and Alec Olmstead put down a sacrifice bunt. Lawrence Han and Albert Han followed with walks but Ben Cleasy flew out to center and Riley Schoeben grounded out to third to end the threat.

"Our approach was good but we didn't put the ball in play enough," said Fukuhara who is now 42-19-1 in two seasons.

The Warriors got another run across in the seventh inning when Nathan Medrano lined a base hit to left field, sending home Dawson Brigman and putting Valley Christian up 2-0 going into Paly's bottom half of the inning.

Jung-Goldberg led off the seventh inning with a triple, but the next three batters couldn't make enough contact to bring him home. The Vikings left six men on base.

"We had a great group of seniors," said Hull. "We were able to lead this team and we also had a lot of young kids as well. We had a couple games where we had our backs against the wall and fought back and won it, we had a great season."

In Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep saw its four-game win streak and season end in a 3-2 loss to Monterey. Andrew Daschbach had a home run among his two hits and fellow senior Justin Harmon had three of the Gators' eight hits. But, it wasn't enough.

Daschbach singled in the third, stole second and scored on a single by Brendan Semien. In the fifth, Daschbach slammed his solo homer.

In the seventh, Monterey intentionally walked Daschbach with two out. A single by Schafer Kraemer moved Daschbach to third, but Semien's grounder forced Kraemer at second and that was the ball game.

Daschbach was named the Player of the Year in the PAL Bay Division prior to the game. In 25 games, he had 67 at-bats with 28 hits, 29 runs, 13 RBI and 20 walks while batting .418.

Angelo Tonas started for SHP and allowed all four hits plus three earned runs. Dominic Cacchione pitched the final three innings with no hits or runs while striking out four.

Softball

Castilleja saw its season come to an end in a 10-3 loss to No. 4-seeded Carmel (21-3) in a Central Coast Section Division III opener Wednesday at Carmel Middle School. The No. 13-seeded Gators finished 13-9.

Boys tennis

Senior Gabe Owens became the first Pinewood player in 20 years to win the singles title at the CCS Individual Tournament after he posted a 6-2, 6-3 triumph over No. 2-seeded Kailas Shakar of Saratoga at Imperial Courts in Aptos.

Owens, the No. 1 seed, reached the finals earlier Wednesday with a 6-2, 6-2 win over No. 4 Dean Stratakos of Saratoga. The last Pinewood player to win a section title was Scotty Scott in 1996.

Menlo senior Lane Leschly and his sophomore brother, Bo, reached the doubles finals before dropping a 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 decision to the top-seeded tandem of Kyle Pease and Erik Ratta of St. Francis.

The Leschly brothers, seeded No. 2, had reached the title match following a 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 victory over Gunn's No. 3 duo of Amit Rao and Dillon Yang.

The Leschly's were hoping to give Menlo coach Bill Shine back-to-back doubles titles, after seniors Vikram Chari and Gunther Matta won last year.

Awards

Annalisa Crowe and Bryce Rodgers were named the outstanding senior athletes at Menlo-Atherton High during the school's season-ending awards ceremony on Wednesday night.

Crowe was a four-year standout in cross country plus track and field in addition to helping the basketball team reach the NorCal playoffs. Rodgers excelled in football and track. Crowe will run for Dartmouth next fall while Rodgers will play football at UC Davis.

Among the other awards, the MVP's for track and field were freshman Maggie Hall for the girls and junior Jordan Mims for the boys.

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