Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - April 18, 2014

Pinewood's Scheppler is named state coach of the year

Palo Alto baseball moves to within a game of first place in SCVAL De Anza Division; Gunn girls remain in top spot in lacrosse

by Keith Peters

When Pinewood defeated Scotts Valley, 43-41, in the third-place game of the girls' Central Coast Section Open Division basketball playoffs on March 6, the historical value of the game was overlooked.

As it turned out, the victory was the 500th of Doc Scheppler's 19-year career at Pinewood and it came on his home floor. As much as that was a milestone, it was just the start to the postseason for the Panthers along with being just a footnote to a remarkable season for Scheppler and his team.

Pinewood went on to win four more games, capturing first the NorCal crown and then a state championship with a 60-42 win over La Jolla Country Day to finish 30-3.

While that final triumph seemed to be a fitting end to the season, it wasn't. This week, Scheppler was named the 2014 Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year. Since he also won the honor at Division V, Scheppler becomes the first to win the overall title while coaching at the D-5 level.

"I guess it was my turn!" Scheppler said of receiving the honor.

The 60-year-old Scheppler, who also was state coach of the year for Division V in 2010, finished this season with a career won-loss record of 504-111. He ranks among the winningest coaches in state history and trails only Pam Wimberly of Menlo-Atherton for most career wins in CCS history. Wimberly finished with 646.

Scheppler's sixth state title this season tied him for No. 3 all-time (at all levels) in girls' state history for most crowns. He is the fourth CCS coach to earn the state's highest coaching honor. Mike Ciardella of Sacred Heart Prep (1994), Sue Phillips of Mitty(1999) and Brian Harrigan of Sacred Heart Cathedral (2006) are the others.

Baseball

Palo Alto remained in the hunt for a possible title in the SCVAL De Anza Division race with a 3-2 victory over visiting Homestead on Wednesday.

The Vikings moved to 7-2 in league (11-8 overall) and inched to within a game of first-place Los Gatos, which suffered a 6-1 upset loss to host Saratoga.

Palo Alto scored all of its runs in the second inning while making the most of its four hits. Seniors Bowen Gerould, Daniel Tachna-Fram and Jack Cleasby all drove in runs in the big inning with Gerould, Anthony Lim and Noah Phillips scoring the runs.

Palo Alto took advantage of nine walks and three errors by the Mustangs (5-6, 8-9-1) as senior Brian Kannappan picked up the win with 6 1/2 innings of six-hit ball. Chris Smith finished things off in the top of the seventh.

The Vikings remain ahead of third-place Wilcox (9-3, 16-5) in the loss column. The Chargers crushed host Gunn, 15-1, on Wednesday as the Titans fell to 0-9 in league (1-17 overall).

In Southern California, Menlo School won its final pool-play game in the San Diego Lions Club Tournament, an 8-5 baseball victory over Olympian.

The triumph was the Knights' second straight in the four-day tournament, which Menlo opened with a tough one-run loss in eight innings on Monday. That setback prevented the Knights from reaching the championship round.

Instead of possibly playing for a title, Menlo (12-6) faced Olympian (7-9) again Thursday in a consolation game.

Junior lefthander Austin D'Ambra threw a complete-game six-hitter on Wednesday, walking only one as he improved to 3-2. Senior co-captain Sam Crowder provided two hits and an RBI. In the three tourney games, Crowder has seven hits and five RBI.

In other nonleague action, Menlo-Atherton pitchers issued 11 "free passes" (10 walks and a hit-by-pitch) and the Bears committed several costly defensive miscues en route to a 10-6 loss to Riordan at Bettencourt Field. The loss moved M-A's overall record to 12-6.

Girls lacrosse

Gunn held on to first place in the SCVAL standings with a 6-5 victory over host Saratoga on Wednesday evening. The Titans improved to 6-0 in league (9-1 overall) and maintained a one-game lead over St. Francis (8-1).

Junior Rachael Tsai scored three goals to pace Gunn with Victoria Nguyen, Anna Cabot and Caroline Chou all adding one. The Titans' top-ranked defense -- the team allows an average of only five goals per match -- was lead by sophomore Liz Cromarty's six saves in in goal. Saratoga came in averaging 16.5 goals per game.

Gunn will host Los Gatos on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

In nonleague action, Sacred Heart Prep rolled to a 20-15 victory over host Palo Alto. The Gators (10-4) pulled away from an 8-7 halftime lead and controlled the second half.

Sophomores Ally Mayle (seven goals, two assists) and Libby Muir (five goals, two assists) led the way while senior Caroline Cummings also contributed five goals. Cameron Gordon finished with two goals and two assists, Brigid White had one of each and goalie Natalie Palmer came up with five saves for the Gators while Paly dropped to 5-5.

Paly junior Allie Peery scored five goals with sophomore Maya Benetar adding four. Senior Ami Drez finished with three and junior Paige Bara added two. Goalie Meredith Kinnaman had six saves. The Vikings held a 9-8 lead early in the second half until SHP pulled away.

Softball

Getting 10 strikeouts from junior Iris Chin, Gunn won its eighth straight game with a 12-8 nonleague decision over host Aragon on Wednesday. The Titans (11-2) got four hits from Emma Wager, who slammed a home run and triple as Gunn pounded out 16 hits.

Chin had three hits while improving her pitching record to 11-2. Gunn held a 6-0 lead after the top of the second, but Aragon kept it close. The Dons got to within 7-5 after three, but no closer as the Titans tallied three runs in the fourth.

Catherine Schwarzwalder, Natalie Oda, Mariana Torres and Megan Ostrom all had two hits for Gunn.

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