Tough losses continue to plague Palo Alto

Publication Date: Wednesday Apr 8, 1998

PREP BASEBALL: Tough losses continue to plague Palo Alto

Vikings suffer another one-run setback; Sacred Heart Prep's James keeps Gators on top with 14-strikeout effort

This hasn't been the best of times for the Palo Alto High baseball team, which currently is occupying the SCVAL De Anza Division cellar.

The young Vikings, however, have played solid baseball despite a few hardships.

With only 10 players on the current roster and suffering from some key injuries, Paly (2-7) has yet to play at full strength this season. The Vikings, however, have improved throughout the year despite their inexperience.

Fate also hasn't been on Paly's side, as the Vikings have dropped three of their past four games by a total of five runs, including a pair of one-run losses. In the four contests, Paly has been outscored by a slim 13-11 margin.

Paly attempts to get back on track this week during Easter break at the Lions Easter Tournament. The Vikings will resume De Anza Division play April 15 against Los Gatos.

Last Friday, Paly could only manage one hit in a tough 2-1 extra-inning loss to visiting Fremont--despite a fine pitching performance from sophomore Pat Frost.

Fremont tallied the game-winning run in the top of the eighth to give Paly another close loss in a well-played game.

While Palo Alto has struggled, Sacred Heart Prep senior Eric James has done just the opposite. James continued his torrid work from the mound as he allowed just one hit and fanned 14 batters in a 7-0 shutout of Redwood Christian in a Private Schools Athletic League opener last week.

"It was my best pitched game of the year," said James, who tossed a no-hitter and struck out 10 against Menlo-Atherton a week earlier in a game halted after five innings by the new 10-run rule. "I really moved my fastball and was in control."

The Gators (1-0, 7-2) banged out nine hits, including three from senior second baseman Andrew Bragman. Senior Adam Friedenbach poked a three-run homer and junior Sean Mackinnon ripped a triple and had two RBI for Sacred Heart, which plays Pinewood and Valley Christian-Dublin this week.

Elsewhere, Menlo-Atherton has fallen to .500 in the PAL Ocean Division after two losses within 24 hours last week. The Bears dropped a pair of games to South San Francisco, 3-1 and 7-1, to see their league mark drop to 2-2 (6-7 overall).

M-A received a home run for junior Scott Fisher and two hits from senior Rogelio Guerra and junior Matt Bigliardi, but couldn't muster enough runs in the 3-1 setback last Wednesday.

On Thursday, the Bears were never in the 7-1 loss, as South City jumped to a 5-0 lead after four innings. Senior Shawn Phillips had a double in two hits and junior Adam Clark also doubled to lead M-A.

Gunn, which owns an 8-3-1 overall record and is in the thick of the SCVAL El Camino race at 5-2, is in the middle of an unusual two-week break. The Titans will resume league play against Saratoga at Baylands on April 14.

Menlo (6-3) had two PSAL games washed out last week and will attempt to get its league season started this week with games against Fremont Christian and Pinewood. Pinewood comes off of spring break to face its two toughest games of the young season against league foes Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo this week.

Mid-Peninsula (1-0, 2-4) opened up Christian Private Schools Athletic League play with a 3-2 win over San Francisco Christian last week. Senior Danny Pease struck out a season-high 15 and limited the visitors to just two hits while evening his record at 2-2.

Eric Botner laced three hits, with Quinn Garcia and Jim Barefield contributing doubles to the Dragons' seven-hit attack.

--Craig Wentz 

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