Photo By: Shirley Pefley/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Steven McLean leaps above a Palo Alto player March 20. The Vikings beat the Eagles twice last week.
The Los Altos High baseball team extended its losing streak to five games after being outscored 22-3 in three games last week.
The Eagles (3-5 SCVAL De Anza Division, 7-9 overall) were swept in a home-and-home series with Palo Alto (7-1, 12-4), capped by an 8-2 road loss Friday. A day later they suffered their first shutout of the year, mustering three hits in a 4-0 loss at Westmont.
Following Friday’s loss, coach Donnie Ecker said the two-game sweep by Paly was the result of a young team still learning how to win in a competitive league.
“Once again, I think at this point in the season we are not as good a team as (the Vikings) are,” he said. “We think in due time we can get there. It’s a process for us right now and we have to stay the course.”
Despite the 8-2 and 10-1 losses to Paly, Ecker said his team – with only five seniors among its 20 players – is making progress.
“We’re seeing what we need to see from them,” Ecker said. “It’s just kind of how it is, you know. In years past, we’ve been extremely experienced and that’s not the case (this year).”
That notion wasn’t lost on Paly coach Erick Raich, whose team ended the week tied with Wilcox for first place. He noted that facing a struggling team like Los Altos can be challenging at times.
“A young team like that, which has talent, they have that almost nothing-to-lose mentality,” Raich said. “When you have that, you can become very, very scary. They’re going to get better and better as the season goes along.”
Friday Palo Alto chased Eagles starting pitcher Conrad Rogers after a four-run second inning that started with a lead-off home run from Austin Poore.
Two Los Altos throwing errors – wrapped around a bunt single by first baseman Rowen Thompson – led to a second run when an errant pickoff throw by Rogers allowed Brian Kannapan to score. Later in the inning, Rogers surrendered a bases-loaded single to Bowen Gerould before James Foug drove in another run on a sacrifice fly.
Palo Alto added a run in the third after Eagles lefthander James Oleson loaded the bases on a single and two hit batters before uncorking a wild pitch that scored Poore. The Vikings tacked on three more runs in the fifth off lefty reliever Daniel Orozco.
Los Altos pitchers combined to surrender eights hits, three walks and hit four batters in the loss.
“Walking guys and making errors is not in the cards for us,” Ecker said. “When you go out and give a really good team extra bases, you can’t win ballgames like that.”
Los Altos’ lone scoring outburst came in the span of two batters in the top of the fourth. Centerfielder Thomas Kelleher led off with a double to right field, then catcher Max Wilber belted his team-leading fifth home run to left field.