One pitch away from a 1-0 loss, then one pitch away from a 2-1 win, the Palo Alto baseball team ended up losing 3-2 to Mountain View in an SCVAL De Anza Division game at Mountain View.
A win would have given the Vikings an outright De Anza Division title. Now they will need to do it at home Friday when they host the Spartans.
Mountain View (14-6-2, 6-4-1) got a run in the first inning as the result of a pair of singles and a pair of sacrifice bunts. In an unorthodox move, cleanup batter Bryan Rau squeezed in the run with a bunt in a first-and-third, one-out situation.
One run didn’t seem like much to overcome for Palo Alto (17-4, 10-1) and its healthy .300 team batting average. But on this occasion it nearly stood up all the way.
Max Jung-Goldberg singled to lead off the game for Paly. Mountain View pitcher Joe Perrino proceeded to set down the next 17 batters he faced until Jung-Goldberg singled with two out in the sixth.
“He did a good job with his off-speed pitches on the outside corner,’’ Palo Alto coach Pete Fukuhara said of Perrone. “We did not do a good job of adjusting our approach. We rolled over a lot of balls and popped up a lot of balls. We paid the price for that.’’
Perrone retired the first two batters he faced in the top of the seventh before walking Angus Stayte on a 3-2 pitch. Hyunwoo Roh pinch ran for Stayte.
Mountain View’s outfielders had made several nice catches on balls that were held up by the wind. But the next batter, Jonathan Gottlieb, hit a long drive over the left fielder’s head for a double to score Roh from first and tie the game. Josh Kasevich followed with a line-drive single to score Gottlieb and give Palo Alto a 2-1 lead.
Kasevich, a sophomore first baseman, had been struggling at the plate with a batting average under .200. But Fukuhara said he didn’t even consider pinch hitting.
“He’s a young player with really good tools,’’ Fukuhara said of Kasevich. “He’s starting to take better at-bats. He’s a kid who is here to stay.’’
Starter Ryan Chang gave up a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh and Fukuhara summoned closer Niko Lillios from third base.
Lillios got two outs but then walked two batters to load the bases. That brought up freshman Tristan Silveira, a very promising hitter, who blistered a line drive up the alley in left-center for a two-run double to end the game and give Mountain View the win.
“Palo Alto is a great team with a history the last 10 or 12 years of always competing for league titles,’’ Mountain View coach Kris Mims said. “We were in the ‘’B’’ league last year. We’re just trying to compete with the big boys.’’
John Gardner drove in a pair of runs but Sacred Heart Prep dropped an 8-4 decision to visiting Burlingame in a PAL Bay Division contest.
Mike York also drove in a run for the Gators, (6-12-1, 2-5), who travel to Burlingame for a 4 p.m. game Friday.
Joseph King collected a pair of hits, including a grand slam, and drove in six runs but host Carlmont hit its own grand slam and went on to beat Woodside 17-7 in a PAL Bay contest Wednesday.
Woodside was held to four hits, but made the most of them. The Wildcats also drew five walks.
Tim Goode also drove in a run for Woodside, which hosts Carlmont at 4 p.m. Friday.