The Pinewood School baseball team’s seventh-inning rally Thursday resulted in a 4-3 win over Thomas More and a return trip to the playoffs.
The Panthers and Knights finished the regular season as co-champs of the Private School Athletic League South Division at 9-1, setting up last week’s showdown for the division’s lone automatic playoff berth.
Down 3-0 entering the seventh, visiting Pinewood scored four runs to take the lead.
“We hit the ball well all day,” Panthers coach Casey Rowe said, “and I kind of expected that once we got a run, they would come in bunches.”
Connor Riches walked to open the seventh, advanced to second on a passed ball and went to third on a ground out. Another grounder enabled him to score Pinewood’s first run. With two away, Liam Smith walked and soon scored on Eric Burton’s triple to the fence. An infield error brought Burton home, tying the game. The Knights intentionally walked Jackson Haun, who later scored from second on Bo Fick’s infield single to put the Panthers ahead. Colton Budge, who pitched the final three innings in relief of Haun, set down More in order in the bottom of the frame. “He pitched great,” Rowe said.
No. 8 Pinewood (12-3) is set to meet No. 1 St. Francis-Watsonville (18-7) in Saturday’s Central Coast Section Division III quarterfinals.
Eagles nab at-large berth
Los Altos’ 3-1 loss at Wilcox in the first round of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division tournament May 8 cost the Eagles an automatic playoff berth, but they still landed a spot in CCS Division I.
Prior to the CCS seeding meeting, Los Altos coach Gabe Stewart said “the Eagles will sweat it out on Saturday when the at-large selections are made,” but it turns out they didn’t need to do so. Los Altos (14-14) landed the 11th seed and is slated to visit No. 6 Alisal (17-7) 4 p.m. today in Salinas. The winner advances to Saturday’s quarterfinals.
The Eagles enter CCS having lost eight of their last nine games. In last week’s loss to Wilcox, the host Chargers (18-9) scored all three of their runs without an RBI. That’s because Los Altos dropped three throws – two at home plate before the base runner arrived – according to Stewart.
Ace Alex Reelfs took the loss, despite pitching “five strong innings,” Stewart said.
The Eagles out-hit Wilcox 9-7, but none of those hits drove in a run. Simon Heck singled twice to lead Los Altos offensively.
Spartans secure No. 3
Mountain View has made school history by making the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
Although the Spartans (15-12) finished just one place ahead of rival Los Altos in the De Anza Division – and with only one more win – they earned the third seed in CCS Division I by playing more teams that wound up as league champs and finishing with a better record in their last 22 games, coach Kris Mims said.
Mountain View is scheduled to host No. 14 Monta Vista (16-11) 4 p.m. today. The Spartans trounced the Matadors 10-4 a month ago, but Mims isn’t taking them lightly.
“All it takes is a few balls to go their way and they could come out on top,” he said. “You can’t overlook anyone, because if you do, you will lose and then spend all summer playing the what-if game.”
Mountain View, which has only five seniors, enters CCS on a three-game losing streak. The Spartans dropped their De Anza Division tourney opener 6-5 to Homestead, despite leading 5-1 going into the fifth. Sam Gil and Jared Norris each notched two hits, two RBIs and scored a run for the visiting Spartans May 8.
Lancers grab 2nd seed
St. Francis (20-8) is the No. 2 seed in CCS Division I and is slated to host No. 15 Half Moon Bay (18-9) 4 p.m. today. The Lancers are coming off a 7-4 loss to Valley Christian in the West Catholic Athletic League semifinals May 9.