Maybe it's because they practice turning two in between innings, or maybe they just worked on it so much in practice that it comes naturally.
Alpine has an impressive defense, ending one inning with a finely-tuned 6-4-3 double play and getting the first two outs of another inning with a 4-6-3. That's shortstop Oli Coupe, second baseman Brandan Sweeney and first baseman Jake Scott.
Opponents have scored a combined two runs in the first three games of the District 52 9-10 Little League All-Star Tournament at Ford Field in Portola Valley.
That's a winning formula even before considering an offense that has produced 36 runs over that same three-game span. Alpine has played a total of 14 innings, twice using the mercy rule to end games early.
"We've got some players," Alpine coach Ryan Sweeney said. "They can hit. But all that can change in a heartbeat. We'll enjoy it while it happens."
Brandan Sweeney had an outstanding day, collecting a triple and two doubles in the game. Winning pitcher Anders Cahill helped himself, collecting three hits while pitching all four innings.
Owen Coupe and Dylan Courson each added two hits. Eight of the nine starters scored at least one run, with Courson and leadoff hitter Wyatt Weiss each crossing home plate twice.
Twins Owen and Oli have an older brother, Max Coupe, who just finished an outstanding baseball career at Menlo-Atherton High School, which won 20 games and the Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division title this spring.
A few others also have older brothers playing in District 52 tournaments. It seems baseball runs deep in the Alpine Little League program.
Alpine will play either San Carlos or Pacifica American in the final game of the winner's bracket at 5 p.m. Friday, also at Ford Field. That winner will have the advantage in the double-elimination tournament.
Menlo-Atherton 11-12 all-star team: Luca Auer was a tad nervous. He realized he'd be batting with the chance to drive in the go-ahead runs.
As he strode to the plate, Auer started thinking about his teammates, the guys who worked so hard in helping the Menlo-Atherton 11-12 all-star baseball team get to this point.
"I was definitely nervous," Auer said. "No one was saying anything but I knew I had to put the team on my back."
The 2-1 delivery was a little high and outside but Auer put a good swing on it and drove the ball into the right-center field gap. It seemed to stay up and the San Mateo National center fielder had a chance to make a great catch.
"I felt like I barreled it up," Auer said. "But I also thought it was going to get caught."
Auer's drive just eluded the outfielder and it bounced up against the fence as two runs scored and Auer slid into second base, giving Menlo-Atherton an improbable 7-6 victory Sunday in the District 52 11-12 All-Star Tournament at Middlefield Park in Palo Alto.
"I was so hyped up," Auer said. "I could feel my heart pounding and I heard all the noise."
The fifth-inning double put M-A ahead, but a dangerous SM National lineup still had two more at-bats and they already showed they could score runs in bunches.
That's where Jack Leeper and Max Brubacher came in. When Leeper took the ball with one out in the second inning, San Mateo already led, 5-0. A couple of mistakes allowed San Mateo to add a run before Leeper retired 10 of the next 12 batters he faced, five on strikeouts.
Brubacher took the mound for the final inning and pounded the strike zone, getting two strikeouts and an infield grounder to end the game and allowing M-A players to celebrate at the mound.
Merrick Lee, who hit a home run in Saturday's win over Palo Alto, sparked the four-run winning rally with a leadoff single. Brubacher also singled, and pinch hitter Will Clark beat out an infield hit to load the bases.
Elijah Vu drove in one run on a fielder's choice and another run scored on an error. Two outs later, pinch hitter Luke Brodeur singled on an 0-2 pitch to give Auer his chance.
"We were all down," said Auer, who will be an eighth grader at Hillview in the fall. "The first and second innings were horrible. We still kept up a lot of energy and for the rest of the game we were perfect."
Menlo-Atherton plays either San Carlos or Foster City at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the winner's bracket.
Stanford was one out away from advancing in the College World Series. No one was on base and its ace Brandan Beck stood on the mound. The Cardinal could not seal it.
A walk, on a full count, a single, an error and a wild pitch ended the game and season for Stanford, which fell to Vanderbilt 6-5 on June 23 in Omaha.
"Our hearts are hurting for these kids because they wanted to continue to play with each other," Stanford coach Dave Esquer said. "There's some tears out there just because they care so much."
The Cardinal (39-17) seemed headed to the bracket finale against North Carolina State. Beck, who took over in the bottom of the seventh, struck out five of the first batters he faced and then got the first two outs of the bottom of the ninth.
Beck got ahead of the next batter, but then missed with three straight pitches to put the tying run on base. The next batter beat out an infield single and both runners advanced on a throwing error.
A sharp single tied the game and sent the winning run to third. Beck lost his grip on a 2-0 pitch and the ball skipped past catcher Kody Huff.
It was a cruel ending to an otherwise successful season. Stanford was tabbed to finish ninth in the Pac-12 and wound up in third place.
The Cardinal was awarded the ninth overall seed and hosted a regional, which it won. Stanford beat host Texas Tech in two games to qualify for the College World Series.
Stanford was the last Pac-12 team standing after it eliminated Arizona last week.
Brock Jones collected three hits, including a home run, and drove in three runs for Stanford. Eddie Park also drove in a run, and Tim Tawa and Nick Brueser each had two hits.
"Obviously it hurts," Jones said. "This is not where we wanted it to end. We were so close but I'm so proud of this team. Each and every one of them, we all worked for this. We deserved to be here. It's been a heck of a year for us."
Stanford caught a break, scoring an unearned run in the top of the first inning. Jones lined out to the Vanderbilt second baseman, who then threw the ball away trying to double up Park, who came around to score after reaching base on an infield error leading off the game.
Jones homered with one out in the third, his 18th home run of the season. Stanford added two more runs in the fourth, both unearned, when Park walked with the bases loaded and Jones beat out an infield single.
"It's every baseball kid's dream to come here," Jones said. "I'm proud of some of the things I did and I'm proud of some of the things the team did. But you can always do more. Next year, we're going to go further."
Quinn Mathews went 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out five. Two of the runs scored after Mathews left the game, with one out and two runners on in the sixth.
Vanderbilt scored a pair on a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth. After Jones doubled home a run in the sixth, the Commodores added another pair to make it 5-4.
Stanford loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth but could not take advantage as Vanderbilt used three pitchers in the frame.
Michelle Bartsch-Hackley recorded 18 kills, one of four Americans in double figures, and the United States women's national volleyball team earned a gold medal with a 26-28, 25-23, 25-23, 25-21 victory over Brazil in the championship match of the Volleyball Nations League Final Round in Rimini, Italy, last week.
Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo added seven kills and two blocks for the Americans (16-1, 2-0), who captured their third straight VNL title.
Bartsch-Hackley also had three blocks for a total of 21 points. Jordan Thompson, who played her final collegiate match at Stanford, and Andrea Drews each had 12 kills, and Jordan Larson added 10. Drews scored 10 of her points in the fourth set.
"It was a long five weeks in the bubble. Everything has been long and we also had a roster selection in this time for the Olympics," Bartsch-Hackley said. "I'm just really proud of the whole team, not just the 12 who are here, but 23 we have back home and I'm just really happy for us."
Brazil won the first set, taking a 19-15 edge before the U.S. rallied to tie it at 21 and send it to extras before falling.
The Americans also recovered from an early two-point deficit in the second set to tie the match.
Brazil was ahead 22-21 in the third set when the U.S. scored three straight.
In the fourth set Brazil again took a four-point lead before Team USA charged back.
"We were focused on ourselves, trying to clean up our game," Bartsch-Hackley said. "I think we have been a little bit sloppy, but also we have been playing with different lineups. Every medal is different. Brazil is a super-strong team and we were just excited to come out and win."
Former Menlo-Atherton defensive back Skyler Thomas announced Monday that he has committed to playing college football at Oregon State.
"It was great up there," Thomas said of his visit to Corvallis. "I liked the whole atmosphere, a quiet college town."
While Thomas will be leaving home to join the Beavers, he will see some familiar faces on the team and more specifically in his position group.
Alton Julian and Rejzohn Wright, like Thomas from East Palo Alto, are already on the roster at Oregon State. Nahshon Wright, Rejzohn's older brother, started at cornerback for the Beavers last season and was chosen by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round of the NFL Draft.
With high school football postponed in California in the fall of 2020, Thomas played fall football in Georgia.
"It gave me a new perspective on how football is played in different places," Thomas said. "They moved me from corner to safety. It helped me a lot to become a better tackler."
The Beavers plan on moving Thomas back to cornerback.
"(Secondary) coach Blue Adams loves long, rangy corners," the 6-foot-2 Thomas said. "I fit in their scheme."
Because of playing out of state in the fall Thomas was not eligible for M-A's spring football season. He also declined to take part in the truncated basketball season, instead focusing on preparation to play college football. While still attending class at M-A he enrolled at College of San Mateo and engaged in spring practice there.
"I had to sign a lot of papers to do that," Thomas said. "It gave me a great view of what college football is like."
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