Taking advantage of a break in the week's rainy weather, the Menlo School baseball team continued its impressive season with another statement triumph on Wednesday.
In a showdown between two defending section champions, Central Coast Section Division III champ Menlo handed North Coast Section Division V champ Redwood Christian a 7-0 nonleague loss in Atherton. The Knights improved to 8-1 as starter Freddy Avis pitched five shutout innings, allowed only two hits while striking out six.
After playing an epic 13-inning game last year that featured current Stanford pitcher AJ Vanegas throwing seven shutout innings before Menlo's Dylan Mayer hit a walk off homer to win it, this one was over early as the Knights scored three in the first and then three more in the second and never looked back.
The Knights once again were led by senior Jake Bruml, who had two hits and two RBI, but the key hit was by senior shortstop Tim Benton, who knocked in the first two runs with a clutch two-out, two-strike hit in the first inning. Bruml added an RBI single in the first and an RBI double in the second. Freshman Mikey Diekroeger also doubled in a run in the second.
Menlo last week topped CCS Division III runnerup Hillsdale.
Despite playing in soggy conditions, Sacred Heart Prep produced a 196-225 victory over host King's Academy in a West Bay Athletic League dual match on Wednesday at Sunnyvale Municipal. SHP junior Kevin Knox earned medalist honors with a 2-over-par 37 on a cool, breezy afternoon. Teammates Ricky Galliani and Taylor Oliver each shot 40 as the Gators improved to 4-1 in league (5-1 overall).
Palo Alto and Mountain View came into Wednesday night's league game on Paly's turf field with momentum and an eye on this year's SCVAL championship. The Vikings boasted a 4-0 record and last year's overtime victory against the Spartans in the title game. Mountain View was riding its own four-game winning streak, one that included a hard-fought 8-5 victory last week over perennial powerhouse Menlo.
After almost 48 minutes of tough, physical play with five lead changes and intermittent rain, the Spartans led 10-9 -- but the Vikings had the ball and a timeout before the final 24 seconds. Coach Craig Conover's squad couldn't recreate the last-minute magic that characterized its title run last season, however, and the Spartans came away with the win and an impressive 4-0 record and early season league lead. Palo Alto falls to 2-1 in league (4-1 overall).
High-point man for the Spartans was Aubrey Myjer, whose three goal, one assist performance demonstrated some exceptional outside shooting and impressive athleticism. Grant Wineman (three goals) and Sam Birgham (two goals, one assist) also had three-point performances for Mountain View.
Paly scoring was led by Kevin Proceviat, whose dodging and weaving resulted in four goals and one assist, and Zach Spain, who tallied three goals and one assist from his attack position. Midfielder John Brunett contributed a goal and an assist while dominating face-offs for the Vikings (winning 14 of 20). Paly goalie Josh Chin should also be commended for solid play that included some improbable saves late in the game.
The two rivals square off again in regular-season competition at Mountain View on May 4. Following that will be the SCVAL playoffs, and the opportunity for another dramatic confrontation between these league rivals.
In the SCVAL El Camino Division, Noah Kawasaki and Sean Mayle each scored three goals and Brian White contributed four assists as Sacred Heart Prep posted a 12-4 victory over visiting Priory on Wednesday. The Gators remained atop the division at 4-0 while improving to 7-3 overall. Frankie Hattler added two goals for Sacred Heart.
Inclement weather wiped out another day of action as the Cupertino at Pinewood, Menlo at Crystal Springs and Carmel at Menlo-Atherton matches all were canceled.
Menlo (4-0,11-1) defeated host Harker, 6-1, on Tuesday but likely will be rained out of its match with host King's Academy on Thursday.