Hayden Jung-Goldberg was supposed to join his Rush teammates in the 12-team Palm Springs Collegiate League on Tuesday.
Jung-Goldberg was a Palo Alto graduate (as were eight other players) when he and his teammates took the field for the last time Wednesday against Valley Christian in the semifinals of the Central Coast Section Division I baseball playoffs.
"This was just too important," Jung-Goldberg said of playing one more time with his friends and teammates. "I've known most of these guys since elementary school and playing in the CCS is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And to win a game was something special."
After an 8-0 win over St. Francis in the quarterfinals, Paly's season came to an end in a 10-3 loss. Valley Christian will play Mitty on Saturday for the CCS Division I championship.
Even junior Henry Bolte, who has committed to Texas and will join a summer travel team, wanted this one last game.
"This is the best season I've ever had," he said. "I am really going to miss the seniors."
Junior Xavier Esquer, who hit his eighth home run of the season against the Warriors and added a single for Paly, joined Bolte and Zander Darby as the top three power hitters in the lineup.
The Vikings (21-5) will have players scattered around the country in various summer leagues and programs. Darby, who tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Aidan Berger, heads to Utah for the summer before joining his new teammates at UC Santa Barbara. Berger is headed to Washington before enrolling at UCLA.
Jung-Goldberg, after he's finished in Palm Springs, will be joining older brother Max Jung-Goldberg in San Diego under veteran coach Rich Hill, who got his college coaching career started at USF. Hill lived across the street from Serra High in San Mateo before taking the job in San Diego.
Tommy Hall is headed to Pomona for the summer. He'll be attending Phillips Exeter Academy in the fall in the secondary postgraduate program.
Ritter Amsbaugh will be playing in the Cal Club Baseball League, headed by former Palo Alto coach Erick Raich. Pinewood alum Darius McClelland and Gunn grad Sean Hodson are also a part of the league's directors.
Ryan Harvey, headed to Lewis and Clark, and Callum Olsen, who will attend Mission College, are playing for local teams. Bowman Wingard, who will be at Macalester in the fall, and Colin Thibault are also leaving the program.
Jung-Goldberg said it was worth every drop of sweat in preparation for playing a 26th game in a year it seemed possible there would be no season or playoffs.
"We all put in a lot of hard work over the summer to get ready for this game," he said. "To be able to come out and play one last game with these guys, I can't say enough about what it means."
The Jimi Hendrix song, a favorite of the "Tune in and Drop Out" generation, was Tommy Hall's walk-up song. He just likes the beat and had no idea of its origins.
"I first heard it when I was a sophomore," Hall said. "It just pumps me up before an at bat. I like the way it sounds and I think it strikes fear into the pitcher."
Heading to Stanford
Valley Christian shortstop and lead-off hitter Trevor Haskins will be playing at Stanford in the fall. Haskins walked twice and scored twice for the Warriors.
He'll be joining Stanford's current lead-off hitter, Eddie Park, also from Valley Christian.