All 3 All-Star teams make state tourney

Publication Date: Friday Jul 18, 1997

BABE RUTH: All 3 All-Star teams make state tourney

But Palo Alto's 13-year-old and 15-year-old squads eliminated Monday

For the first time in Palo Alto Babe Ruth history, all three All-Star teams qualified for NorCal State tournaments this year one way or another. But the bad news is that both the 13- and 15-year-olds were eliminated last Monday.

The Palo Alto 13- and 15-year-old All-Stars had their seasons cut short earlier in the week as the 13s were sent home from Eel River, while the 15s were eliminated in three games.

The Palo Alto 15-year-old All-Star team picked the wrong time of year to have its loud bats go silent, and it cost them at the Babe Ruth 15-year-old NorCal State All-Star tournament at Baylands Athletic Center.

Palo Alto lost to Mountain View Monday, 3-1 and was eliminated from the eight-team double-elimination tournament, despite a superb pitching performance from Rob McGregor. McGregor had a no-hitter rolling through five innings until Mountain View exploded for three runs on three hits.

For Palo Alto, its downfall of the tournament was the inability to get runners home from scoring position.

"You can't win ball games stranding runners, our pitchers did their jobs, but we didn't capitalize on scoring," said manager Rick Beckwith. "The kids were disappointed and weren't ready to end the tournament."

In its three games, Palo Alto scored only 10 runs on 18 hits and stranded 23 runners on base. And when you figure Palo Alto lost its two games by a total of four runs, a few timely hits might have kept the locals unbeaten and playing for a NorCal State title.

Palo Alto's pitching was its strength with the likes of McGregor, Andy Hnilo and Patrick Frost, who combined to keep opponents at bay, by yielding just 13 runs and 18 hits in three games.

The 13-year-olds did the opposite of the 15's, by scoring in bunches, but had problems keeping opponents from crossing the plate. Palo Alto was eliminated Monday by Elk Grove, 20-8 in the loser's bracket of the 13-year-old NorCal State tournament in Eel River (Eureka).

The locals tallied 33 runs in its three games, but allowed a hefty 37 runs.

"We got in the loser's bracket early, and we expected our pitching to be better," said Manager Neil McGregor. "But it was a great experience for everyone."

Palo Alto's Mark Dilulio had two hits, while Erik Zawojski and Jefferson Bradshaw doubled against Elk Grove. Colby Henard and Greg Matson each hit over .500 for the tournament.

The 14-year-old All-Stars begin their NorCal tournament tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Arnold Field in Sonoma.

--Craig Wentz 

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