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The Paly Voice

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Baseball: Paly cruises to league title with 16-3 win on Senior Day

The Palo Alto High School baseball team clinched its fourth straight regular season league title in convincing fashion on Friday at Paly, beating Santa Clara High School 16-3.

Junior Danny Erlich pitched four solid innings and Paly’s bats came alive as the Vikings (16-11, 11-3) beat the Bruins (6-21, 2-12) while honoring their seniors in their final regular season contest.

Senior centerfielder Austin Poore delivered the most exciting moment of the game with an inside-the-park grand slam in the fifth inning. Poore, who was hit by a pitch in the head in the second, showed no signs of shakiness while crushing a drive to right-center and rounding the bases ahead of the throw home.

“I was sitting on an outside pitch,” Poore said. “I got a fastball up and away and tried to go with it. When I got to second, I saw they were still picking up the ball. Then I saw Coach Raich waiving me home so I put my head down and went for it.”

Poore’s first grand slam of his career put the Vikings up 13-3.

All eight Paly seniors saw playing time in their final regular season home game.

“I thought it was the perfect Senior Day,” assistant coach Dave Goldman said. “Everybody got in [the game] so it was sort of a coach’s dream.”

The Vikings clinched the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division outright thanks to a combination of their win and Wilcox’s victory over Homestead.

“This team far exceeded expectations,” Goldman said. “To win a league title is a tribute to how hard they worked.”

Paly got off to a 9-0 lead after just two innings, batting through its lineup twice in the process.

Senior leftfielder Sean Harvey led off the seven-run second inning with a triple to deep center. Senior rightfielder Isaac Feldstein contributed a two-run single to left field, senior first baseman Rowan Thompson had an RBI double and junior catcher Austin Kron added a two-run double to pace the Vikings.

Three of Erlich’s four innings were perfect, with the minor hiccup coming in the third. He allowed a leadoff double and a single two batters later that led to his only earned run.

“I just focused on throwing strikes and getting ahead in counts,” Erlich said.

Players saw encouraging signs in this contest that Paly looks to continue moving into the postseason.

“We really struck up our offense which has been quiet recently,” Feldstein said. “It’s a big momentum boost for us and a lot of people got confidence so that’s good heading into league playoffs and CCS.”

Palo Alto will begin the SCVAL playoffs with a three-game series versus Saratoga High School (18-7, 10-4). The first game will take place 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Paly.

Batting b-ball v. SC

Pitching b-ball v SC

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