FINE YOUNG ARMS . . . With some 40 games on his schedule, Palo Alto Post 375 American Legion manager Mike Smith knows he'll need to get the most out of his young pitching staff. After the first three games of the season, Smith is pleased with what he has seen--especially Saturday and Sunday in the opening two rounds of his team's annual Memorial Day Tournament at Baylands Athletic Center. In a 6-5 comeback victory over the San Francisco Royals on Saturday, first-year player Jeff McGregor came on in relief in the third and retired the first nine players he faced. He wound up allowing just one hit and one run during his five-inning stint and earned the victory when Palo Alto rallied for four runs in the sixth and one in the seventh when Jamal Harrison walked, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored the game-winner when Peter Rice ripped a single to center--his third hit of the game. Post 375's pitching was even better Sunday night as two more first-year members of the team--Alex Szabo of Pinewood School and Mo Patel from Los Altos High--combined on a nifty one-hitter as Palo Alto blanked Livermore, 4-0. Szabo gave up the only hit in the second before retiring 12 of the next 13 batters (he hit one). Patel came on in relief in the sixth and walked just one in an otherwise near-perfect outing. BJ Rossi provided the only run Post 375 needed when he drew a bases-loaded walk in the first. Palo Alto took on Redwood City on Monday night in the championship game.
TOUGH HAUL TO SERIES . . . If the Stanford baseball team somehow reaches the College World Series, the trip will have been well-earned. After opening the Midwest I Regional with a 10-3 victory over Arkansas on the strength of Kyle Peterson's comeplete-game victory (his 12th win of the season), Stanford bombed Lamar, 8-1, as Mike Robbins tossed a complete-game five-hitter. That moved the Cardinal into a winners-bracket game Sunday against Texas Tech, which handed Stanford a 3-1 setback and threw the Cardinal's regional hopes into a must-win situation. Stanford needed to win two games Monday, including one against Texas Tech, in order to force a challenge game (against Texas Tech) either late Monday or early Tuesday. If Stanford was able to win all three games, the trip to the College World Series June 2-10 in Omaha, Neb., will be well-deserved.
NOT ENOUGH ACES . . . Stanford junior Vicki Strada scored a hole in one on the par-3 166-yard eighth hole during the final round of the NCAA Women's Golf Championships in Wilmington, N.C., but it wasn't enough to help the Cardinal rise about fourth place in the final team standings. The ace was the second of Strada's career and first as a collegian. Still, she finished tied for 35th with a final-round 75 as Stanford shot 1188 as a team to trail champion Arizona State (1155), San Jose State (1181) and Wake Forest (1185). The fourth-place finish means that Stanford never finished lower than fourth in any of the 12 tournaments the team competed in this season. Stanford sophomore Mhairi McKay finished tied for ninth at 293, which included a 69 during the second round, and was named a second-team All-American by the National Golf Coaches Association. Sophomore teammate Andrea Baxter, who led Stanford with a 289 that was good for fifth place overall, was named honorable mention All-American.
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