Baseball defeats Los Altos, advances to SCVAL Championship
The Palo Alto High School Varsity baseball team (22-8, 13-4) defeated Los Altos (17-11, 11-6) 13-0 to take the three game series and earn the Vikings a spot in the SCVAL championship. Paly pitcher Drake Swezey (‘11) threw six shutout innings, giving up only four hits all afternoon. Swezey received more than enough support as Paly hitters put on a clinic, shelling all five Los Altos pitchers.
The offense started early for the Vikings as right fielder Christoph Bono (‘11) roped a triple that bounced off the net above the wall in right.
“It hit off the net which I wish wasn’t there otherwise it would have been out,” Bono said. “I have been trying to get one up there all year. I didn’t think it was out but I will admit I watched it in flight for a little.”
With Bono on third, shortstop Ozzy Braff (’12) hit a single to bring Bono in giving the Vikings a 1-0 lead.
After Swezey cruised through two more innings, the Vikings got a boost from first baseman TJ Braff (‘11). Braff took the first pitch he saw and lined it over the center field fence for a solo shot, his fourth home run of the season.
“I just tried to stay patient and I got a good pitch to hit. I tried to hit it right up the box but got a little under it and it carried out,” Braff said.
Over the past six games Braff has hit .478 with two home runs and 14 RBI’s.
With the score 2-0, the Vikings opened it up in the bottom of the fifth scoring ten runs against four different Los Altos pitchers. Swezey highlighted the inning with a two-run triple that hit off the fence in left center and sent Los Altos center fielder Simon Rosenbaum (‘12) crashing into the fence. Eight batters later the score was 12-0.
In the bottom of the sixth Paly coach Erick Raich sent team manager Jake Payne to the plate. In only his fourth at bat of the season, Payne hit a bloop single down the right field line for his first hit in a Paly uniform.
With Payne’s hit in the bag, the Vikings completed their hitting clinic.
After posting six shutout innings, Swezey was relieved by Graham Marchant (‘11). Swezey let up only four hit hits while striking out seven.
Bono felt that the win puts the Vikings in a good position heading into the championship.
“It felt good to get a big win today,” Bono said. “Drake Swezey pitched outstanding and our defense was just as good behind him. And best of all we raked so it was a good way to end the series.”
The Vikings will take on Wilcox next week in the championship. Up to this point, Wilcox has proven to be the Viking’s toughest league competition. TJ Braff sees this challenge as an opportunity.
“I think we have a great shot,” Braff said. “They have a real good pitcher but but we have already seen him and [we] just have to keep the bats alive.”
The Vikings will play at Wilcox next Tuesday at 3:30.