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Menlo golfers beat SHP to wrap up WBAL title

 

Menlo School senior Patrick Grimes overcame a double-bogey six on the first hole and went on to birdie four holes and finish with a 2-under-par 34 to pace the Knights to a 205-217 victory over host Sacred Heart Prep and clinch the overall West Bay Athletic League boys' golf title on Wednesday at Sharon Heights Country Club in Menlo Park.

The victory finished off a 10-0 season for the Knights while the Gators dropped to 8-2 in league (10-2 overall). Menlo has an automatic berth in a Central Coast Section regional on May 11, while SHP needs to win at Monday's league tournament at Menlo Country Club to also advance to CCS.

Grimes and fellow senior Bobby Pender (41) gave Menlo a 10-stroke lead in the first group. Andrew Buchanan (39) and Jackson Dean (44) increased the lead to 21 strokes after the second group finished, making it nearly impossible for SHP to overtake the Knights and force a co-championship for the second straight year.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Gunn defeated Homestead on Wednesday, 187-213, at Sunnyvale Municipal Golf Course to finish 8-2-2 in the division. Gunn's Avinash Sharma was medalist with a 2-under-par 33. Teammate Anson Cheng shot 36 for the Titans, who clinched the division crown a day earlier.

Baseball

Menlo School junior Freddy Avis pretty much did it all as he pitched a complete-game six-hitter, struck out 11 and allowed only two earned runs in a 5-3 nonleague baseball victory over host St. Ignatius on Wednesday. Avis also hit his second home run of the season in addition to ripping a double as the Knights improved to 17-4.

Avis led off the second with a solo shot off the scoreboard at Marchbanks Park in San Francisco to give the Knight's a lead they would not relinquish. Menlo added a solo run in the third on a sacrifice fly by freshman Mikey Diekroeger and then tallied three more in the fourth on RBI singles by junior Jake Batchelder and senior Robert Wickers plus a sacrifice fly by sophomore Austin Marcus, who was also stellar on defense again behind the plate as he threw out two of three Wildcats who attempted to steal.

Avis ended up striking out the side in the seventh after an error and a walk put the tying run on base. Menlo returns to action on Friday with a West Bay Athletic League road game against Crystal Springs at Sea Cloud Park in Foster City.

In the SCVAL De Anza Division, Palo Alto (10-3, 18-7) got three hits and three RBI from senior T.J. Braff in a 9-3 victory over host Saratoga on Wednesday. Junior Austin Braff added two hits to the Vikings' 11-hit attack, which included six doubles -- two each by the Braff brothers.

Junior Ben Sneider picked up the victory with five innings of four-hit work. His earned-run average is now .420. The Vikings will close out the regular season on Friday by hosting Saratoga at 3:30 p.m.

In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton lost all the momentum it had from winning the Rancho Cordova Easter Classic last week by dropping an 8-5 decision to host Hillsdale in a PAL Bay Division contest on Wednesday. M-A pitchers gave up 12 walks as the Bears fell to 4-5 in league (14-8 overall).

In contrast, Hillsdale relief pitcher Michael Sweeney baffled the Bears over the final four innings after they had scored five runs in the third to take a 5-1 lead. Kyle Zirbes had two doubles and finished with three hits to pace M-A, which got two hits from Cam Winn while out-hitting the Knights, 8-7.

In the third, M-A put together four hits and two sacrifice flys to score five times. The Knights answered back with seven runs in the fourth as three different M-A pitchers who gave up four hits, a sacrifice bunt, two hit batters, and three walks.

Girls' lacrosse

Elyse Adler and Michaela Michaela each scored five goals to pace the Menlo School to a 20-9 victory over host Burlingame in Wednesday in a rematch of last season's West Bay Athletic League playoff championship match won by the Knights. Adler set the tone with two goals within the first minute of play as Menlo (5-0, 13-6) remained atop the WBAL standings.

Brooke Bullington, Michael and Ali Kim each added goals and Adler tallied a third before the first five minutes of play had expired. The score ballooned to 8-0 off goals from Michael and Savannah McKinnon before the Panthers found the back of the net with a goal from junior Charlotte Pratt.

The Knights continued their relentless offensive and by the half the score was 13-4. The second half played out much the same way with aggressive play up and down the field by the Knights. Michael added three goals, Adler had two and Kim and Bullington each contributed one. Bullington added two assists while Kim had five. Menlo goalies Julia Dressel and Hannah Rubin shared goal-tending duties for the contest with each making three saves.

Softball

With sophomore Claire Klausner striking out 11 and limiting host Saratoga to just two hits, the Gunn softball raced to a 10-0 victory in a SCVAL El Camino Division game on Wednesday. The Titans improved to 6-2 in league (13-9 overall) but still trail Monta Vista in the division standings.

Gunn scored early in the first with a base hit by Klausner, who stole second and scored on a single by Laura Kidder. The second run of the inning was scored by Kidder on an RBI single by Casey Maltz. Gunn's defense got out of trouble in the second after the Falcons had runners on second and third with one out. Kidder, however, pulled off a double play to get the Titans out of the inning.

In the West Bay Athletic League, Mandi Shore rapped out two hits and drove in four runs to pace Castilleja to an 11-1 victory over visiting Mercy-Burlingame on Wednesday. The Gators (6-2 league) scored four runs in the first and second innings before closing out the game with a 10-run rule.

● Check out more of the Midpeninsula's best local sports coverage at PASportsOnline.com.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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