Baseball preview: Vikings to face top-seeded Saint Francis Lancers in CCS semifinals

Neal Biswas, Author

Senior designated hitter Isaac Feldstein trots around the bases after blasting a solo home run in the fifth inning. Feldstein's third home run of the week trimmed the Titans' advantage to 2-1.
Senior designated hitter Isaac Feldstein trots around the bases after blasting a home run against the Gunn Titans earlier this season. Feldstein also had a crucial home run to help the Vikings defeat the Bellarmine Bells in the CCS quarterfinals. Photo by Neal Biswas.

The Palo Alto High School baseball team looks to continue its magical Central Coast Section playoff run into the semifinals when it faces off against the Saint Francis Lancers at 7 p.m. this Wednesday at the San Jose Municipal Stadium.

The top-seeded Lancers, the Vikings’ second consecutive WCAL (Western Catholic Athletic League) opponent in these playoffs, finished the season with an impressive 28-4 overall record and 11-3 league record. They are currently ranked eighth in the state and 30th in the nation according to Maxpreps.com.

The Vikings will need all the offense they can get against the Lancers’ dominant pitching. Saint Francis tossed a perfect game against Monta Vista in the first round of the CCS playoffs and blanked Valley Christian 3-0 to advance to the semifinals.

Meanwhile, the Vikings marched on to the semifinals after stunning the fourth-seeded Bellarmine Bells on Saturday. Senior designated hitter Isaac Feldstein’s two-run homer sparked the Vikings’ offense with an early lead. The Vikings fell behind late, but used a three-run sixth inning to regain the lead and eventually held on to win with junior Chris Smith’s relief pitching.

This was a massive upset considering that Bellarmine was one of the hottest teams in California according to Prep2Prep.com. The Bells came in to the quarterfinal matchup riding a ten game winning streak, which included winning the WCAL championship.

“It was a really good win and we deserved it,” Smith said. “We’re happy to see all our hard work at practice finally pay off.”

Paly fell 3-1 to the Saint Francis Lancers during the regular season, but it was only the second game of the year. The Vikings acknowledge that the Lancers are one of the best teams in the nation, but still believe they can pull the upset in this rematch.

“We need to remember that they’re all just 16-18 year olds just like us and no different,” junior catcher Austin Kron said. “We just need to come out with our A game in the field and attack the ball at the plate.”

Junior infielder Anthony Lim added a slightly different perspective on the Vikings’ chances.

“The mohawks will give us the win,” Lim said, referring to the hairstyle the team collectively rocks.