Baseball handles Evergreen Valley 9-0 in CCS first round

Grant Raffel, Author

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admin-ajax.phpThe Palo Alto High School Vikings (26-6) moved one step closer to defending their CCS Division I baseball title with a 9-0 victory over Evergreen Valley High School (11-15) today at Paly.

Senior shortstop Austin Braff led Paly’s offensive charge with a three-run homerun in the fourth inning in a game that the Vikings dominated from the start.

“We had great at-bats, our pitchers threw strikes, we played good defense, [it was] just an all around good game,” head coach Erick Raich said. “We just need to continue to do that and good things will happen.”

Senior Kevin Kannappan pitched three no-hit innings and the Vikings’ bullpen continued where he left off as sophomore Danny Erlich, senior Arun Varma and senior John Dickerson combined to give up just three hits over the remaining four innings.

Paly started fast as senior outfielder B.J. Boyd, batting leadoff, got on base with a bunt single.  Senior catcher Christian Lonsky hit him in with a single of his own and the Vikings had a 1-0 after the first inning.

After junior designated hitter Isaac Feldstein scored on a sacrifice fly by senior second baseman Jack Witte in the second inning, the Paly bats came alive in the third, as the Vikings scored three times.

Dickerson hit a double off the center field fence to score senior third baseman Alec Wong and Braff, who were put on base by a walk and hit-by-pitch, respectively.  Dickerson stole third base and made it home when senior first baseman Clay Carey hit a single that dropped just out of reach of the Cougar defenders.

An Evergreen Valley error on a Witte fly ball put across the final run of the game in the fourth inning following Braff’s center field, three-run shot.

Many of Paly’s bench players finished off the game from there, as neither side showed much of a threat to change the 9-0 tally.

The defending champion and No. 1 seed Vikings know that, despite the win, they still have their work cut out for them if they hope to defend last year’s crown.

“Every team that gets into CCS is a good team,” Raich said. “There’s no easy road to it ever.”

“Any team can be good on a given day, so we have to play our best,” Kannappan added.

However, Boyd feels the team can take many positives from this game into future contests.

“Overall our defense was great and [our] pitching came out strong,” Boyd said. “We need to just practice hard and get ready for next week.”

Paly will next play on Saturday, when senior Ben Sneider will take the mound versus the Bellarmine Bells (15-14) in a second round matchup.  Paly beat Bellarmine in the teams’ only meeting this season, 7-5. Game time and location are to be determined.