After capturing the regular-season crown, top-seeded Alhouse-King (17-4) swept through the four-team city tournament without a setback and seized the postseason title with a resounding 10-5 triumph over No. 3 Advanced Technology Ventures (14-8) in the championship game on Friday at Baylands Athletic Center.
It was Alhouse-King's second city tournament title in as many years after beating Regular-season champion ATV in last season's championship game, 7-2. Alhouse won all three of its tournament games this season by yielding a paltry two runs per game.
"There's a lot of luck involved in winning a championship," said Alhouse-King manager Neil McGregor, who will depart for the heartland of Oklahoma after 13 years as a manager in Palo Alto Babe Ruth baseball. "We had the right chemistry this year and were lucky to have a good group of kids the last couple of years."
McGregor will manage the Palo Alto 13-year old all-stars, who begin District 6 play on July 8 at McKelvey Park in Mountain View. Then, McGregor will head to the Midwest and reside in Crescent, Okla., 30 miles outside of Oklahoma City.
After spending his entire life on the same street in Palo Alto, McGregor enjoyed a dedicated and successful run of coaching more than 1,500 local athletes in Palo Alto Little League, eight seasons as the frosh-soph coach at Palo Alto High and his long tenure in Babe Ruth, which included coaching fall baseball.
"It's been awesome with some great kids and supportive parents, said McGregor on his 20 years as a coach and teacher. "It's been a lot of fun."
Following Friday's award ceremonies, McGregor stood at home plate, faced the crowd and was graciously honored by the people of Palo Alto Babe Ruth. McGregor was presented with a a black Palo Alto Babe Ruth letterman's jacket for his tireless work in Palo Alto youth baseball over the years.
McGregor and assistant coaches, Rob McGregor and Frank York had a lot to smile about this season with a pitching staff that combined for a miniscule 2.90 earned run average, sparkling defense and timely hitting. Leading the pitching staff were pitchers Colin Byrne, Jon Rea and Friday's starter Matt Jost. Byrne, who won last year's city tournament title game, missed this week's tourney due to a scholastic obligation in Boston.
Jost broke his foot during the spring and healed quickly in helping Alhouse-King to its productive season. Jost earned a complete-game victory on Friday, striking out five and yielding just one walk.
After surrendering two runs in the first inning, Jost found his rhythm and kept ATV at bay while his teammates provided enough support on the offensive end.
Alhouse-King exploded for five runs on three hits in the bottom of the inning, thanks to an RBI-double from catcher Mike York, an RBI-single off the bat of first baseman Reed Foster and a clutch bases-clearing triple from center fielder Shane Turner.
Alhouse-King increased the lead to 9-2 in the second inning with four runs on four hits. York belted an RBI-double, third baseman Asher Krohn laced a two-run double and Foster added a two-run single to give Jost some comfort room.
ATV had a golden opportunity to make a huge dent into Alhouse-King's lead by loading the bases with none out in the fifth inning. Trailing 9-4, ATV's Bo Sakowski lined a bullet up the middle, which was speared by Jost, who hesitated for a moment until Rea was able to cover second base for the force out to complete a critical double play.
Rea delivered an RBI-single in the fifth inning for a 10-4 Alhouse lead before ATV ended the season's scoring thanks to an RBI-single from Austin Braff in the seventh inning.
Following Alhouse-King's back-to-back tournament title, the players "dog piled" assistant coach Rob McGregor, Neil's son, for the second year in a row, then dumped an ice chest full of ice water on the back of Neil.
For ATV, it was a tough loss for the second straight season. Yet, ATV should be in the championship mix again next year with a veteran team of 14- and 15-year olds.
"I'm proud of the kids and the way they came through all season," said third-year ATV manager Matt Atwater, who will assist McGregor with the 13-year-old all-stars. "I knew we would be a solid team and we were pretty consistent all season."
York led Alhouse-King's eight hit attack with a pair of doubles, two RBI and two runs scored. Foster produced three RBI in two singles for Alhouse-King. ATV peppered 12 hits and were paced by Danny Diekroeger's two doubles in three hits and T.J. Braff, who had four singles in as many at-bats. Catcher Jeff Keller had two hits and three runs scored for ATV, while teammate Austin Braff produced a pair of singles and two RBI.
ATV reached Friday's finals by drubbing No. 2 Old Pro, 9-2 on Thursday. Patrick McNamara, Diekroeger and Sakowski combined to limit Old Pro (14-7) to just three hits and received plenty of run support.
Old Pro seized a 2-0 advantage in the first inning following an RBI-single from Wade Hauser and an RBI-triple off the bat of Blake Johnson. Then, ATV went to work.
ATV erupted for a five-run third inning thanks to a trio of extra base hits.
Keller and Diekroeger blasted RBI-doubles and T.J. Braff launched a two-run triple to deep center to give ATV a comfortable 5-2 lead. Diekroeger and Sakowski shut down Old Pro after McNamara tossed an admirable four innings of work to earn the victory.
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