The Menlo-Atherton Major Little League all-stars discovered a team doesn't necessarily have to get a hit to score runs, though it certainly helps.
Matt MacLeod hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning, Menlo-Atherton's first hit of the game, and the M-A all-stars beat San Carlos American, 5-2, on Wednesday at La Entrada School to advance in the District 52 Little League Majors tournament.
M-A becomes one of six teams left standing. The next test arrives Friday in the form of San Mateo American at 5:30 p.m. at La Entrada.
San Mateo American was sent into the elimination bracket by Belmont-Redwood Shores, 7-6, on Tuesday.
Menlo-Atherton's best offense through 4 2/3 innings was the walk, which ignites the chant "What do we love? Free bases!"
Quite frankly, M-A didn't do anything with its bats, putting two balls in play and one was a sacrifice bunt that led to the tying run, until MacLeod sent a ball well over the center field fence that capped a two-out rally.
Will Cronin, moved into the third spot of the batting order, followed with a double, though his fourth-inning bunt proved far more productive for M-A, advancing Jack Giesler to third, from where he scored the first run on a wild pitch.
Giesler led off the fourth by drawing a walk and thus becoming M-A's first baserunner. Nate Baxter drew a two-out walk and alertly advanced all the way to third when Giesler raced home. Starting pitcher Jackson Vontz also drew a walk, which was a wild pitch. Baxter scored without a play.
It still wasn't looking good. San Mateo's starting pitcher retired the first nine M-A batters and still had a no-hitter intact when he left the game with two outs in the fifth. He struck out 12 but also walked four.
Vontz gave up a double and a home run to the first two hitters of the game and then settled in and set down the next 11 in succession.
MacLeod, who got the win, retired the first six hitters he faced before giving up a pair of singles.
Baxter, who took over at second when MacLeod went into pitch, helped M-A with a nice backhand stop, twirl and throw to first in one motion.
MacLeod and Baxter flawlessly handled four chances at second while Vontz and MacLeod combined to strike out eight.
Jack Thomases and Giesler walked ahead of MacLeod's home run as M-A played its fifth game in five days.
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