Ritter Amsbaugh drove in three of his four runs in an 11-run first inning as Sundance waltzed its way into Saturday's 1 p.m. winner's game of the Palo Alto Babe Ruth city tournament with a 17-3 victory over the Palo Alto Oaks on Friday at Baylands.
Sundance meets third-seeded Dutch Goose in Saturday's winner's bracket contest. It's an important as the winner gets a bye into Tuesday's 5 p.m. championship game and will need to be beaten twice.
The streaking Goose has not lost in nearly three weeks and beat No. 2 seed Alhouse for the second time in a week, an 8-6 victory in Friday's game late game. Zach Donaker was the winning pitcher and he also gathered four hits in four at bats.
The Oaks and Alhouse will try to remain alive in the tournament, playing an elimination game at 4 p.m. Saturday. Sunday is an off day for everybody.
Regular-season champion Sundance, the top seed of the tournament, sent 15 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning to give Nolan Doyle more than enough to work with.
Doyle threw a five-inning complete game for the win. He gave up three runs, one earned, on four hits. Doyle struck out one and walked two in an efficient outing that saw him throw 16 first-pitch strikes in 22 batters faced.
Sundance leadoff hitter Zander Darby recorded a team-best three hits. Darby and Amsbaugh each scored four runs and had two of their hits in the first inning. Amsbaugh singled home a run in his first at bat and then tripled home two runs in his second at bat of the inning.
The big inning was set up by errors, making all 11 runs unearned. Sundance collected five hits, including Ben Gladstone's double, and drew a pair of walks in the first, magnifying the costly miscues.
Gladstone drove in three runs on two hits and Mateo Romeo drove in three runs, two in the first, without getting a hit. Doyle added two hits to his own cause. Darby, Dante Black, Brody Simison and Jake Foster also drove in runs.
Once the nightmarish first inning was set aside, the Oaks settled in and played pretty good ball. Adrian Contreras tripled home a run, Stephen Lee doubled and Max Barthelemy also drove in a run.
Dutch Goose scored six runs in the top of the third inning to erase an early deficit and held on when Colin Thibault recorded the final three outs with two runners on.
Nathan Yu opened the third with a walk and Donaker followed with a one-out single. Consecutive singles from Thibault, Peter Oh and Danny Peters each drove in a run. Thibault scored on a wild pitch, Andre Hyrkin's misplayed grounder allowed another run to score and Sam Mutz doubled home the sixth run.
Colin Duggan doubled home two runs in the bottom of the first to help Alhouse take a 3-0 lead.
Charlie Grech, who had two hits in the game, singled to lead off the seventh and Jason Hwong was hit by a pitch. Thibault got an infield grounder and a pair of strikeouts to leave both runners stranded.
Chris Dodge also had two hits and drove in a run and Jackson Bundy added an RBI for Alhouse while Mutz added two hits for Dutch Goose.