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Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - July 5, 2013

Survival is crucial in playoffs

Little League, Babe Ruth teams battling to stay alive in the postseason

by Kevin Macario

It this point in the season, it's all about survival when it comes to youth baseball playoffs.

Local Little League teams are in the one-and-done mode at three area District 52 tournaments while Babe Ruth squads will be wrapping up District 6 all-star events this weekend.

In the District 52 Little League tourneys, no local teams remain in the winners' brackets. Thus, it's a day-to-day kind of life.

For the 11-12 Majors at the Belmont Sports Complex, Palo Alto National met Menlo-Atherton on Thursday morning while Palo Alto American and Alpine/West Menlo faced elimination games later in the day. All three needed victories to reach Saturday's next stop in the consolation bracket.

In the 10-11 tourney at Red Morton Park in Redwood City, Menlo-Atherton will play Half Moon Bay while Palo Alto American faces Belmont/Redwood Shores on a joining fields on Friday (5:30 p.m.) in consolation action. The winners will play Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

In the 9-10 all-star tourney hosted at Burgess Park and La Entrada School, Alpine/West Menlo is the lone remaining local team and next will play Half Moon Bay on Friday at La Entrada (5:30 p.m.) following a 7-2 win over Pacifica American on Tuesday night.

In Babe Ruth, Palo Alto has three all-star teams playing this week at three different sites.

The 15s are hosting the District 6 Tournament and will open Friday against either Bel-Mateo or Mountain View at 4 p.m. Should Palo Alto win, it will play for the title on Saturday at Baylands Athletic Center at 1 p.m.

The Palo Alto Babe Ruth 14-year-old all-stars advanced to the next round of the District 6 playoffs with an 8-7 victory over Mountain View on Tuesday night at the Belmont Sports Complex. Palo Alto played host Bel-Mateo on Wednesday night, needing a victory to advance toward Friday's championship gme at 4:30 p.m.

Ryan Klapper had two hits and scored three runs while picking up the pitching victory with six innings. Angus Stayte and Jack Molumphy each drove in two runs for the winners.

The Palo Alto 13s opened Thursday night at McKelvey Park in Mountain View, needing a victory to reach Friday's winner's bracket against host Mountain View at 7 p.m. The championship game is Sunday at 1 p.m.

The NorCal State Tournament in each age bracket gets under way next week.

Some of Palo Alto's top Babe Ruth players were busy over the past week at the annual City Tournament, which took an extra game to decide as regular-season champ Alhouse Realty wound up as the overall champ after defeating Guy Plumbing and Heating, 8-4, in the finals on Monday at Baylands.

Alhouse, undefeated in tournament play, needed only to win the first game to wrap things up. Guy Plumbing, however, ruined those plans with a 12-8 victory — forcing the challenge game.

A four-run rally by Alhouse in the bottom of the fifth wrapped things up in the second game. Andrew Daschbach's double tied the game at 4 and Matt Henefarth's single put Alhouse on top for good at 5-4. Sean Clark made it 6-4 with a sacrifice fly and a fielder's choice by Ben Simon pushed the advantage to 7-4.

Jamie Kruger added a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth to put the finishing touches on the victory. Owen Plambeck contributed five RBI in a losing cause.

Simon and Alexii Sigona combined for the pitching victory, which went to Sigona. He allowed five hits and three walks in five innings.

In the first game, it looked like Alhouse would make it an early evening after being Guy Plumbing twice in three games during the regular season. Alhouse manager Jeff Voltattorni and coach Rick Carbonneau were pleased with their team's performance heading into the finals.

"The key with this team is chemistry," Voltattorni said. "They really like playing together, and it really makes my job, Rick's job, coaching this team pretty easy. The way these guys play, they all work with each other, teach each other, they've been that kind of group as young kids. I love coaching these guys."

Kruger, Alhouse's ace, opened up the game throwing hard with some nasty curve balls. Guy Plumbing brought its bats though, opening up the first inning with three runs. Evan Easton led off with a single, followed by a walk to Angus Stayte. Winning pitcher Max Gardiner ripped a laser to right-center for a double, scoring the game's first run. Guy Plumbing followed up with a couple of singles to bring two more runs in.

The game looked like it was going to be a slugfest right from the start. Alhouse led the bottom of the first inning with a single, followed by stolen bases and then an RBI single by Ryan Voltattorni. Another run came in as Guy Plumbing had trouble handling Alhouse's speed on the base paths.

Guy Plumbing scored another run in the top of the second, and then ripped the game open in the top of the third inning with seven runs. Stayte had a two-run single for an 8-2 lead and a double by Plambeck drove in two more as Guy Plumbing grabbed an 11-2 lead after three.

Gardiner pitched well for Guy Plumbing and shut down Alhouse after the first inning. He also added some clutch hits and RBI to help out the scoring. Easton was the spark plug of the offense, as he got on base his first three at-bats and scored multiple times.

Both teams made adjustments mid-game to prepare for the second game, as Guy Plumbing was up nine runs until late in the game.

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