Early home run leads to Viking victory

Arthur Wu, Staff Writer

Palo Alto High School senior pitcher and third baseman Danny Peters prepares to swing during the Viking’s game against Valley Christian High School in the league semifinal match, where the Vikings dominated 7-0. According to Peters, who hit a home run and pitched for the majority of the game, Paly wants to continue playing consistently going into the league championship match on Saturday. “We came out today with energy and it was perfect,” Peters said. “If we keep that consistent and do the same thing we did today on Saturday, we’ll be fine.” (Photo: Arthur Wu)

After an early home run, the third-seeded Palo Alto High School varsity baseball team (13-1) crushed the second-seeded Valley Christian High School Warriors (10-3-1) in the league semifinal match Wednesday at Excite Ballpark in San Jose, 7-0.

The win sets up the Vikings to face the first-seeded Saint Francis Lancers (12-2) for the league championship Saturday.

Paly’s dominance got off to a good start when senior pitcher and third baseman Danny Peters hit a three-run homer in the first inning. According to Peters, who ended the game with four runs batted in, the early lead gave the Vikings a lot of confidence.

“The hit was a great start to the game,” Peters said. “It started our momentum and we kind of just took that and rode off with it.”

Building on that momentum, sophomore second baseman Charlie Bates, Peters, and senior catcher Dominic DeFeo, scored in the third inning following multiple strong hits from the Vikings. In the fifth inning, Peters hit a single that allowed senior first baseman Rowan Felch to score, bringing the score to 7-0 in favor of the Vikings.

According to Peters, the Warriors were a strong team, having beaten the Vikings earlier in the season and in previous years. However, a combination of the early runs and the approach the team had at the plate were big contributors to Paly’s win.

“What we did differently compared to previous games was that we were really patient at the plate today,” Peters said. “Getting pressure on teams like Valley Christian, especially early [in the game] by getting on base and making them stretch over and over again, allows us to stick to our approach more and keep getting hits.”

Besides Paly’s offense scoring many runs, the defense held its ground by not allowing a single run. According to Peters, he completely trusted the defense behind him.

“During the game, I was thinking ‘I can throw anything I want. I know that even if they [Valley Christian] hit the ball, it’s getting caught,” Peters said. “Everyone [Paly] was going 100 percent, and it made me feel so good because I knew they were playing for me.”

To close the game, Paly’s defense continued to dominate by getting 3 quick outs, ending the game, 7-0. Paly head coach Pete Fukuhara said he was extremely proud of the way the team played.

“Against a ballclub [Valley Christian] like that, you have to play pretty perfectly,” Fukuhara said. “Today we did that; we played every single pitch hard, we executed plays fantastically, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

The league championship against Saint Francis will be held at 7:00 p.m. Saturday at Excite Ballpark in San Jose.

“Today was a great win, but now it’s onto the next one,” Fukuhara said. “Today’s game doesn’t help us do anything on Saturday. We will still have to play the game of baseball and play one pitch at a time.