Menlo-Atherton's three-run seventh-inning rally fell 90 feet short on Friday afternoon as the Bears lost to Menlo School, 7-6, in the championship game of the inaugural Peninsula Athletic League postseason tournament.
The defeat dropped M-A's season record to 16-12-1, while Menlo improved to 17-12.
Both teams will now prepare for this week's Central Coast Section playoffs.
After the Bears scored a run in the top of the first, the Knights struck for four in the bottom half of the inning aided by a walk and an error by M-A.
The Bear's clawed back with single tallies in the second and fifth to make it a 4-3 game heading into the bottom of the sixth. Menlo then exploded for four runs, keyed by Antonio Lopez's two-out, two-run single off the first baseman's glove.
Trailing 7-3 in the top of the seventh inning, the Bears roared back as five consecutive batters reached base. Charlie Cain ignited the rally with a single to left, and Erik Amundson followed with another single. A walk to Lawson Joos loaded the bases, and consecutive walks to Jordan Long and Brett Moriarty made it 7-5.
Daniel Kollar-Gasiewski's sacrifice fly cut Menlo's lead to 7-6 with just one out, but the Bears were unable to draw any closer as Menlo's Lopez struck out the last two hitters to preserve the Knights' victory and the first PAL tournament championship in league history.
Long (1-1) took the loss for M-A, allowing five runs (just one earned) on four hits and three walks, striking out two. After surrendering four runs in the first inning, Long shut out Menlo over the next four innings until yielding a leadoff single in the sixth that eventually resulted in a Menlo run (unearned). The Knights added two more unearned runs in the sixth inning against the Bears' bullpen.
M-A outhit Menlo 8-to-5, led by Cain's 2-for-2 performance (the Bears' right fielder also had an RBI sacrifice fly). Amundson, Max Gardiner, Long, Moriarty, Kollar-Gasiewski, and Matt Johnston also had base hits for M-A.
by Bob Moriarty and Menlo Athletics