Baseball preview: Paly prepares for CCS playoffs

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Junior third baseman Bowen Gerould steps up to the plate in the first inning of a regular season league game against the Gunn Titans. Photo by Neal Biswas.

Junior third baseman Bowen Gerould steps up to the plate in the first inning of a regular season league game against the Gunn Titans. Photo by Neal Biswas.

The Palo Alto High School baseball team is prepared to make a run in the Central Coast Section playoffs.

The fifth-seeded Vikings are set to face off against the 12th-seeded Watsonville Wildcats 4 p.m. Wednesday at Paly. The winner goes on to play the winner of the Fremont-Bellarmine game on Saturday.

The full CCS playoff bracket can be seen here.

The Vikings finished the regular season fourth in the De Anza League standings at 11-5 and ended with a 16-15 overall record. However, the Vikings faded near the end of the season, losing 10 of their final 13 games, including four straight in the SCVAL playoffs.  They will attempt to leave their struggles behind, now that they face a win-or-go-home situation.

“I think we have a really good chance to make a good run,” junior infielder Noah Phillips said.  “Our team has been working hard all year and this is the time of year when we get to see if that hard work has paid off.”

The Vikings hope to improve on last year’s run to the semifinals, in which they fell to the eventual champion Valley Christian Warriors. Despite this year’s regular season struggles, the Vikings still believe they can make some noise.

“Our goal is to give a good run and do better than last year,” junior third baseman Bowen Gerould said. “Hopefully our hard work from the season will pay off.”

In addition, the Vikings baseball team has continued its tradition of sporting mohawks before the CCS playoffs.

“I think the mohawks will help give us the confidence to go all the way,” junior shortstop Anthony Lim said.

If Paly manages to win its first two games, it will likely set up an intriguing match-up with the first-seeded Saint Francis Lancers, who defeated the Vikings early in the year 3-1.

“I think we are all pretty excited to see what we can do,” Phillips said.