Terra Nova scored five runs in the sixth inning, then survived a bases loaded-no outs situation in the bottom of the seventh to defeat host Menlo-Atherton 6-5 Friday afternoon and earn a split in its two-game series with the Bears. Despite the defeat, M-A retained its two-game lead in the PAL Bay Division with a league record of 8-2 (14-8 overall).
Trailing 6-5 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, M-A loaded the bases with no outs when Jeff Keller singled, Kyle Zirbes struck out but reached first base on a passed ball, and Nils Gilbertson was hit by a pitch.
Terra Nova pitcher Cage Cascone, who entered the inning having already thrown 106 pitches, then pulled off a miraculous escape. With the infield in, he induced Chace Warren to hit a hard, short-hop ground ball to shortstop Joe Corbett, who threw home to force out Keller. The next batter, Chris Gow, chopped a ground ball to the right of the mound, which Cascone snagged and threw home to force out Zirbes. Cascone then retired Cam Winn—who had already collected three hits off the Terra Nova pitcher—on a ground-ball force-out at second base to end the game, along with M-A’s four-game winning streak. Cascone earned a 129-pitch victory while scattering nine hits over seven innings, striking out six, walking two, and hitting one batter.
Menlo-Atherton starting pitcher Nils Gilbertson logged another solid effort for the Bears, but was hurt by five M-A errors and a nightmarish sixth inning in which Terra Nova recorded six singles—virtually all on ground balls through the infield. Gilbertson threw 101 pitches over seven innings, allowing nine hits and four earned runs as his season record fell to 6-2.
M-A took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second on a bloop RBI single by Wally Hansen and a two-run single by Keller. After Terra Nova cut the lead to 3-1 on an M-A error in the top of the third, the Bears extended their lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the inning when Myles Brewer singled home Chace Warren and Winn scored on a double steal.
The Bears’ 5-1 advantage held up until the top of the sixth, when Terra Nova used six hits and an M-A error to take the lead, 6-5. Sophomore Nick Mannessis’ two-run single with two outs proved to be the game-winning hit.
Menlo-Atherton returns to action next Wednesday afternoon when it hosts Carlmont.