Palo Alto, Alpine continue the journey | June 28, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - June 28, 2019

Palo Alto, Alpine continue the journey

Local Little League all-stars play this weekend

by Rick Chandler

No matter what happened Thursday evening, both the Alpine-West Menlo and Palo Alto Little League 11-12 all-star teams will be in action Saturday or Sunday.

That's because both teams won their first game of the District 52 All-Star Tournament, hosted by Palo Alto at Middefield Park.

Palo Alto topped Hillsborough 11-3 and Alpine-West Menlo downed Foster City 2-0. Details about Thursday night results and future games can be found online at www.paloaltoonline.com/sports/. Palo Alto played San Mateo National and Alpine-West Menlo played San Mateo American.

Luke Sousa had a triple, single, an RBI and scored three runs as Palo Alto handed Hillsborough its first District 52 all-star loss ever. That's right. The current group of Hillsborough players won District 52 titles in both the 10-under and 11-under divisions the past two seasons -- and as 11-U's went undefeated in winning the NorCal State title.

Joshua Kao had two singles for Palo Alto and also pitched 4 2/3 innings to get the win. Sousa threw the final 1 1/3 innings, striking out three, for the save.

Palo Alto had control from the start, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Coco VonderHaar doubled, went to third on an infield out and scored on a wild pitch.

Paly made it 4-0 in the third on Sousa's run-scoring triple (scoring Cameron Owen), Joey Kessler's groundout and an error.

Sousa's triple was a rare feat: a scorching ground ball through the right side that rolled all the way to the fence.

"Their outfielder took kind of a bad angle to the ball and I knew I could make it to third," said Sousa, an eighth-grader at Fletcher Middle School. "It feels pretty good to win our first all-star game."

VonderHaar was two-for-four with two RBI, and teammate Kanghee Cho had a double and a single. Palo Alto's Dexter Cleveringa made a great play at second base in the sixth, ranging far to his left and pivoting to throw out the runner on a ground ball.

"We all went over to Dexter's house for some BP before the game," VonderHaar said. "He has a batting cage. That helps and we're going to make it a regular thing."

Max Courson threw a complete-game shutout, striking out 13, and singled home the eventual winning run in Alpine's victory over Foster City.

The 13 strikeouts was a season-high for Courson, who singled home Matt Wolf in the third for all the offense he would need. Isaac Hutchinson then scored on a sacrifice fly by Ronan Cutright to provide the final margin.

"My fastball was working well," said Courson, whose dad, Mike Courson, played high school baseball for Menlo-Atherton. "I got two strikeouts on curves, though."

Courson credits a new attitude of sorts for his recent success.

"My dad and my coaches have taught me not to let things get to me," he said. "When you don't let situations bother you emotionally, then things work out a lot better."

Courson only needed four outs from his defense: the rest were strikeouts, including striking out the side in the fifth

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