The Los Altos High baseball team fell to sixth place in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division with Friday’s 8-2 home loss to Palo Alto.
The Eagles – who dropped a 7-3 game at Paly two days earlier – slumped to 1-5 in league and 3-9 overall. The Vikings improved to 4-2 in league and 6-6 overall.
Paly scored at least one run in each of the first five innings Friday. Los Altos aided that effort by committing five errors and walking 10 batters.
Second-year head coach Donnie Ecker didn’t mince words about the performance of his Eagles – who have lost four league games in a row – saying that his players are ultimately in control of their own destiny.
“You can hit a thousand fungoes, you can tailor a BP (batting practice) for them, you can coddle them – you can do all these things, but no matter what, internally people have to kind of step up and decide what kind of season they’re going to have,” he said. “This is and always will be – whether you go 40-0 or 0-40 – a player’s game. There aren’t any coaches in the box score going 0-for-4 or 4-for-4.”
Starting pitcher James Oleson took the loss Friday after giving up four runs – albeit just one earned – on five hits and four walks in three innings. Matt Bicker surrendered four runs – two earned – on three hits and three walks in one-and-a-third innings in relief of Oleson.
“I think he would be his harshest critic and say that he had his B-minus or C-plus stuff today,” Ecker said of Oleson, “and that he struggled with his command.”
The senior lefty fell behind early, giving up a run-scoring double to Paly shortstop Jack Cleasby in the first before his command – and his defense – began to falter.
A pair of one-out walks and a throwing error by third baseman Max Wilber on a sacrifice bunt play gave Paly a 2-1 second-inning lead. Another walk and two more errors in the third – including a second miscue by Wilber – gave Paly a third run before a double-steal in the inning scored Phil Lewis from third. This pushed Paly’s lead to 4-1.
“No matter what, the guys have to prepare themselves pre-pitch to make a play,” Ecker said of his team’s defensive lapses.
Paly added two more runs in the fourth off Bicker on a two-run homer by Cleasby. Paly chased the senior righty in the fifth after loading the bases on a pair of walks and later scoring a pair of runs on a sacrifice fly and a passed ball.
Los Altos scored a single run in the bottom of the first on a two-out single from Wilber. The Eagles added a second run in the fourth on a two-out single from Paul Myers.
Patrick McColl went 2-for-3 for Los Altos.
The Eagles are scheduled to host Saratoga 4 p.m. today and visit the Falcons at the same time Friday.