Photo By: Shirley Pefley/Special to the Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Dwight Washington, above, slides under Los Altos High’s Steven McLean in Friday’s game, won by the host Eagles on a homer by catcher Max Wilber.
Behind timely hitting and stellar pitching out of the bullpen, the Los Altos High baseball team beat visiting Mountain View 5-3 Friday.
The win evened the Eagles’ league record at 2-2 in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division (6-3 overall) and avenged an 8-4 loss to the rival Spartans (2-2, 4-7 overall) two days earlier.
First-year coach Donnie Ecker said he was pleased with the win, given the team’s youth. Los Altos returned just one starter – shortstop Steven McLean – from a squad that made the Central Coast Section Division II quarterfinals last year.
“I think slowly we’re starting to figure out how good we can be,” Ecker said. “We don’t try and reinvent the game here. We just try to play the game really well.”
Catcher Max Wilber, a junior, put the Eagles ahead for good in the bottom of the fifth inning, swatting a solo home run off reliever John McAlister to snap a 3-3 tie. Wilber’s game-deciding shot backed 2 and 2/3 innings of scoreless and hitless relief by lefthanded freshman Trevor Rogers, who picked up the win.
“When you get in these league situations, you’re doing whatever you can to win,” Ecker said. “To put a freshman in a situation in the middle of the game, and to have him be that composed says a lot about the kid.”
Mountain View coach Adam Petke, pointing to the six walks surrendered by Los Altos, said his team didn’t execute with runners on base. The Spartans scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings.
“Situational hitting and a few base-running mistakes took us out a bit,” Petke said. “We set the table real nice … but I give them credit. Sometimes that big hit is tough to come by.”
The Eagles scored twice in the bottom of the first off Mountain View’s left-handed starter Will Thornton, getting a Steven Lee RBI groundout and an RBI double from Wilber before adding a third run in the bottom of the third on first baseman Patrick McColl’s RBI single.
The third inning proved to be the final one for Thornton, who gave up five hits and three earned runs for a no-decision.
“He’s been tough all year,” Petke said of Thornton. “He kept us in the game – that’s what we expected.”
Mountain View countered with a single run in the top of the second when McAlister walked and stole second, scoring later in the inning on a double-steal.
The Spartans tied the game twice – once at 2-2 in the third when Dwight Washington scored on a wild pitch by starter Lambie Lanman and later at 3-3 on a bases-loaded RBI single from Washington in the fourth.
Lanman pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing five hits and three runs.
The Spartans’ offensive effort came up short however, when Wilber clubbed a two-out solo home run to left field in the fifth.
Conrad Rogers – Trevor’s brother – added a fifth run in the sixth, stealing third and scoring when Spartans catcher Max Gishi’s throw sailed into left field.
Lefty James Oleson picked up the save with a scoreless seventh.