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SHP golfers emerge on top in battle of the best

Gators remain undefeated with a one-stroke victory over Menlo

Two of the best golf teams in the Central Coast Section went head to head on Wednesday to decide supremacy in the West Bay Athletic League. As expected, the dual match went down to the wire before Sacred Heart Prep pulled out a 198-199 victory on the par-36 Sharon Heights Country Club.

The victory keeps the Gators (6-0, 8-0) atop the league standings while the loss drops the Knights (3-1 league) into second place.

In the head-to-head matches, neither team held more than a one-stroke lead. Menlo junior Patrick Grimes earned medalist honors with a 2-under 34 to beat SHP senior Dalan Refioglu, who shot a fine 1-under 35. SHP's Anthony Tran and Menlo's Andrew Buchanan both shot 40 to square their match with the Gators' Kevin Knox (40) beating MJ Cootsona by a stroke. Jeff Knox of SHP won his match, 41-42, over Bobby Pender while Brett Van Zanten of SHP and Menlo's Will Petit both shot 42.

At Sunnyvale Muni, Pinewood picked up its fourth victory of the season with a 49-shot win over King's Academy. Pinewood junior Trevor Longbottom started off the victory with an eagle on the par-4 first hole when he holed out from the fairway. Sophomore Kim Beers shot 43, her lowest score of the season to aid in the triumph.

Baseball

Palo Alto took over sole possession of first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division on Wednesday and the Vikings didn't even play.

Wilcox, which was swept by Paly in its two-game series earlier, nonetheless handed the Vikings first place by beating previously unbeaten Los Gatos, 3-2, on the Wildcats' field. Los Gatos drops to 8-1 in league (15-6 overall) while Palo Alto is 10-0 (16-3). Wilcox remains in third place at 6-3 (12-9).

Assuming that Palo Alto will not be upset by Monta Vista next week, the Vikings will need only to win one of the two games with Los Gatos the following week to ensure an undisputed league title.

In Sunnyvale, Bryan Khors belted a two-run double in the fifth inning that ended a no-hit bid and propelled Sacred Heart Prep to a 5-0 victory over host King's Academy in a West Bay Athletic League baseball opener for the Gators on Wednesday. John Geary (1-2) pitched a complete-game four-hitter to get the victory as Sacred Heart Prep improved to 5-8-1 overall.

Sacred Heart Prep capitalized on 11 walks given up by King's Academy (0-1, 6-7), especially in the fifth and sixth when the Gators scored four runs aided by the free passes. Charlie Bradford and Matt Martella both walked to open the sixth and both eventually scored -- Bradford on a throwing error and Martella on a bases-loaded balk.

Sacred Heart Prep will host Menlo on Friday at 3:30 p.m.

In Burlingame, the host Panthers used timely hitting, a costly Menlo-Atherton throwing error, and the pitching of Forrest Armanino to defeat the Bears, 3-2, in a PAL Bay Division contest on Wednesday afternoon at Washington Park. Armanino scattered six hits, struck out six, and allowed two earned runs as Burlingame improved to 2-2 in league (12-4-1 overall). M-A fell to 4-1 in league and 10-7 overall.

Armanino's stellar effort was nearly matched by that of M-A starting pitcher Patrick Moriarty (3-2), who yielded just five hits and three runs (one earned) while striking out four Panther batters over six innings.

Junior Casey Eason led M-A's offense with two hits and an RBI, and junior Kyle Zirbes drove in M-A's other run with an RBI single.

Burlingame (currently ranked 8th in the CCS by MaxPreps) took an early lead with two unearned runs in the first inning. Following a walk and a single, the Bears committed a throwing error on a ground ball that allowed one run to score and moved another baserunner to third. Burlingame scored its second run when Ryan Bender lofted a sacrifice fly to left.

M-A tied the game 2-2 in the top of the third following a bloop single by Moriarty, a ringing double by Myles Brewer, and RBI singles by Eason and Zirbes. Burlingame answered with a run in the bottom of the third on a walk and an RBI triple by Mitch Foley.

Pitching in relief of Armanino in the seventh, Chris Blanton struck out the side to secure the one-run victory for Burlingame.

M-A returns to action on Friday afternoon at home to conclude its two-game series with Burlingame at 3:15 p.m.

Menlo's scheduled game with Pinewood on Wednesday was scheduled for Thursday at 3:30 p.m., on the Panthers' field away from home at the Los Altos Hills complex on Purissima Road.

Menlo, meanwhile, will have a new, temporary backstop when the Knights next play at home on April 21. The original backstop was destroyed on Sunday, March 28 when the oak tree behind it toppled onto it.

"It fell 1/2 hour to hour after our middle school finished a game," said Menlo baseball coach Craig Schoof, who doubles as the school's athletic director. "If it had fallen during the game and fallen hard, people would have been killed. (The tree) crushed the first-base bleacher and the backstop."

A temporary backstop is being erected Thursday and should be finished by day's end.

Girls' lacrosse

Menlo-Atherton made up an earlier rainout with St. Francis and came close to pulling off a big triumph before falling, 9-6, to the visiting Lancers on Wednesday. The Bears (3-9) got two goals from Becca Higgitt and one goal each from Christina Rodgers, Caroline Edwards, Diane Masket and Julia Farino in the tough setback.

Boys' tennis

Menlo remained perfect in the WBAL with a 7-0 domination of host Harker on Wednesday at Blackford High. The Knights improved to 10-0 in league (17-0 overall).

Menlo will visit Sacred Heart Prep on Thursday (3:30 p.m.) before closing out the league season on Tuesday at Crystal Springs. The Knights already have clinched yet another league crown.

Menlo coach Bill Shine is now 313-40 in his 14th year with the Knights.

Girls' track and field

In two separate WBAL meets on Wednesday, Priory won at Menlo School while Sacred Heart Prep was second on its own track.

Priory won the WBAL No. 2 meet with 107 points as sophomore Kat Gregory won both the 1,600 meters (5:29.75) and 3,200 (11:30.25) for a tough double. Sophomore teammate Eugenia Jernick took the 100 (13.62) and 300 hurdles (53.20).

At SHP, the Gators were second with 90 points with Castilleja finishing fourth with 65.

Laura Swenson of Castilleja won the 1,600 in 5:44.61 while teammate Rachel Skokowski won the 800 in 2:24.67 and Emma Winer the 300 hurdles in 52.24. Sacred Heart Prep's Maggie Fong took the 100 (13.31) and 200 (27.69) with teammate Haley Gordon taking the discus (77-10). Pinewood's Angelina Mapa won the shot put at 28-6.

Boys' track and field

Menlo and Sacred Heart Prep both hosted, and won, separate WBAL meets on Wednesday.

At Menlo, the Knights total 104 points to defeat St. Lawrence and Priory (tied for second with 88) and Crystal Springs.

Menlo's Sam Parker and Priory's Arnaud Kpachavi renewed their highly competitive rivalry as the two juniors split their head-to-head matchups. Parker won the 800 in 2:00.93 with Kpachavi second in 2:01.09. In the 1,600, Kpachavi was a clear winner in 4:47.31 while Parker was second in 4:58.64. As perhaps a tiebreaker for the day, Kpachavi added a victory in the 400 in a very good 51.76.

Elsewhere, Alec Lawler of Menlo took the 110 high hurdles and the Knights swept the 400 (46.67) and 1,600 (3:50.09) relays.

At Sacred Heart Prep, the Gators were easy team winners with 203 points. Senior Matt Walter continued to show his versatility following football and soccer seasons by winning the 100 (11.57) and 200 (23.60). Zach Kaplan won a tough double in the 1,600 (4:52.67) and 3,200 (10:58.72) while the Gators also swept the 400 and 1,600 relays in 45.81 and 3:53.61, respectively.

Other SHP winners included: John Oppenheimer in the shot put (41-6 1/4), Michael Ho in the discus (103-3), Gustav Staprans in the high hurdles; Greg Hook in the 400 (53.28), and Chris Gaertner in the ling jump (19-7 1/2).

Pinewood had Kyle Riches take the triple jump at 36-7 1/2 and Michael Naumann win the 300 hurdles in 50.24.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports/Bob Moriarty contributing.

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