The Palo Alto High School baseball team (15-13, 9-5) failed to hold a three-run lead and consequently fell to the Saratoga Falcons (20-8, 8-6) at home Tuesday by a final score of 8-4 in the first game of a three-game league championship series.
The Vikings rode a solid start from senior Danny Erlich to a 3-0 lead going into the fourth inning. Erlich recorded an out on a ground ball and then walked a batter before being replaced by junior Isaac Kasevich, who gave up six runs in 1.2 innings of relief work.
“We were being pretty cautious [with Erlich] just because he’s coming off of an injury, and we didn’t want to push it too much,” head coach Erik Raich said.
Saratoga pitcher Tyler Plesse went the distance, pitching the whole game while allowing only three runs.
The biggest blow for the Vikings came in the fourth inning when Saratoga had runners on second and third, and Kasevich gave up a two-run single.
“They did a pretty good job offensively,” Raich said. “They hit well against us.”
The Vikings failed to capitalize with runners on base in the following innings, but Saratoga’s defense played an error-free game including a stellar double play in the fifth inning.
Senior Jack Cleasby finished the game 2-4 with two runs batted in on two singles.
Sophomore reliever Justin Hull closed out the game, throwing two innings and giving up two runs.
According to Raich, Paly performed well but just came up short.
“[Our players] did everything we could have asked of them,” Raich said. “We just got beat.”
The Vikings will look to avenge their loss when they travel to face Saratoga at 4 p.m. Thursday. If the Vikings win, they will force a 4 p.m. game at home Friday.