Nils Gilbertson smashed a two-run, game-tying homer, and Chace Warren later scored on a double steal, as visiting Menlo-Atherton shocked Aragon 7-6 on Thursday afternoon with a three-run seventh-inning rally.
The victory improved M-A’s season record to 12-7 and kept the Bears at least tied for the PAL Bay Division lead with Carlmont, which was 5-1 before hosting Burlingame Thursday afternoon.
After Aragon starting pitcher Nick Aguilar walked M-A’s Jeff Keller to lead off the seventh inning, the Dons brought in flame-throwing pitcher Sam Tuivailala in an attempt to close out the game. After Tuivailala induced the Bears’ Kyle Zirbes to bounce out to shortstop, he fell behind 1-0 on M-A cleanup hitter Gilbertson. Gilbertson belted the next pitch—a fastball traveling in the high 80s—high over the right-field fence to square the score at 6-6.
Warren kept the rally alive by singling on a 3-2 pitch, and advanced to third on Myles Brewer’s single. M-A then rolled the dice by pulling off a perfect double steal, with Warren scoring the winning run when Aragon’s desperate throw to the plate was wide of the mark.
Warren also earned the victory with four innings of brilliant pitching in relief of M-A starting pitcher Patrick Moriarty, who struggled with his command in the first three innings, walking six. Warren (2-1) allowed just three hits, no walks, and one unearned run over the final four innings, while throwing only 35 pitches.
In addition to his dramatic seventh-inning homer, Gilbertson doubled and singled, driving in three runs to lead M-A’s 12-hit attack. Warren (double, single, RBI) and senior center fielder Wally Hansen each added two hits for the Bears, who have won 10 of their last 13 games.
Menlo-Atherton returns to action on Friday afternoon at home with the second of its two PAL Bay Division contests against Aragon.