Preview: Boys’ baseball looks to clinch league title

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    Senior shortstop Ethan Stern hits a RBI single in the 5th inning of a league match versus Valley Christian High School. Photo by David Hickey.

    The Palo Alto baseball team (15-3, 9-0) looks to continue its undefeated season in the De Anza League against its toughest league opponent, the Los Gatos Wildcats (13-5-1, 6-3) and clinch the league title this Friday on the Paly baseball diamond at 4 p.m.

    Paly took on second ranked DAL opponent Los Gatos on opposing soil Wednesday, beating the Wildcats 2-1, in the first matchup of the two game series.

    Junior right fielder Jackson Hall hit a clutch home run in the 3rd inning, providing the only run for the Vikings until finally winning in extra innings.

    During the game, junior catcher Nathan Willis took a hard hit when Wildcat senior shortstop Troy Gilmore ran over Willis running into home plate. Gilmore was ejected from the game and cannot play this Friday.

    Senior pitcher Aron Ecoff will be the starting pitcher for the Vikings this Friday.

    The Wildcats will be led by junior pitcher Tyler Williams who has 19 strikeouts on the season.

    As the two top seeds in the DAL, both teams are high contenders for a bid into the Central Coast Section Open Division.

    According to junior second baseman Max Jung-Goldberg the Vikings must compete at a high level.

    “We have to come out tomorrow loose,” Jung-Goldberg said. “For us it’s really important that we play under control and stay in the moment. We need to play every pitch like it’s the most important one. If we play catch, throw strikes and take quality at bats I know we have a great chance to compete and win on Friday.”

    The Viking effort has been fueled by Willis, pitcher Ryan Chang and the late addition of shortstop Ethan Stern.

    “We need to stay relaxed and play our game,” Chang said. “Paying attention to detail is essential when we play teams as fundamentally sound as Los Gatos.”

    Junior Willis leads the team with 16 RBI’s along with a .419 batting average.

    Chang, a senior, is the best closer on the squad, leading the Vikings with 25 strikeouts on the season.

    “We’re on a roll right now and we’re playing really clean baseball,” Chang said. “We just need to not get lazy and be satisfied with where we are.”

    Although coming into the season late, senior Stern leads the Vikings with a .500 batting average, and the most triples.

    The Vikings will also take on the Leland High School Chargers (11-3-2, 5-1) this Saturday at Palo Alto High School at 12 p.m.

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