Anyone who followed the Menlo School baseball team closely this season got a glimpse of the future and it looks as if the Knights are building toward something special over the next couple of years.
The Knights went 17-12 overall this season with 10 sophomores on the 22-man roster and many of them made significant contributions. Four of the 10 started for the Knights in the Peninsula Athletic League tournament championship game. Overall, six sophomore saw action in the Knights’ 7-6 win over M-A. Specifically, catcher Carson Gampell and second baseman Jared Lucian impressed throughout the season. Gampell appeared in 27 of the Knights’ 29 games this season, batting .357 and finishing second on the team in RBIs with 24. Lucian also played in 27 games, hitting .378 and driving in 21 runs.
Antonio Lopez II, who played in 26 games, was the Knights’ closer this season. He proved his toughness in the PAL title game, coming from left field to pitch with the bases loaded and no outs. Despite allowing three M-A runners to score, he got a sacrifice flyout and back-to-back strikeouts to preserve the victory. Overall, Lopez made 12 appearances on the mound, going 3-0 with three saves and a 2.39 earned run average. Garrett Matsuda and David Farnham also pitched in the title game as sophomores.
Rylan Pade also played a key role as both a first baseman and a pitcher. He played in 28 games and posted a 2.69 ERA over 13 innings pitched.
Craig Schoof, who announced he was stepping down at the Knights manager at the end of the season, is a bit envious of his successor.
“I won’t be around (to enjoy their maturation),” Schoof said. “But there’s a real future here.”
Sometimes, there just isn’t enough space in a game story to fully explain a game. The Aragon-Menlo-Atherton Peninsula Athletic League second-round tournament game is one such example. There was so much that went on in that game that I couldn’t possibly get it all in to my game story.
So, I’m fortunate to have this space to expand further.
First of all, it is probably the most exciting high school baseball game I’ve ever witnessed. The fact it ended on a two-run, squeeze-bunt play was the icing on the cake. And while I touched on some of the incredible feats in the game, I’d like to break them down a little more.
First, there was Aragon pitcher Chad Franquez picking off four M-A baserunners in less than five innings of work. His first came in the first inning at first base, his second in the second inning, also at first base. He picked off a runner at second base in the third inning and completed his quad in the fourth inning.
Then there was Lawson Joos’ game-winning sacrifice bunt. With one out, M-A got a walk and a single to put runners on first and second. The big play in the inning, however, was the balk called against the Aragon reliever, which enabled the runners to move up to second and third. After an intentional walk to load the bases and set up force-outs at any base, Joos delivered his sac bunt.
All told, the game last 3 hours and 40 minutes, beginning at 4 p.m. and not ending until 7:40 p.m. as daylight was rapidly fading. If M-A had only tied the game and not won it, chances were very good the game would have been called on account of darkness, and that would have thrown a serious wrench into the tournament, which scheduled four straight days of games.
Aragon sent 44 batters to the plate over 10 innings, while M-A had 48 in 9 2/3 innings. The two teams combined for 19 strikeouts, 12 walks, eight sacrifice bunts and three hit batters. M-A pitchers Matt McGarry and A.J. Lemons combined to strike out 13 Aragon batters. M-A struck out six times, five of them looking at called third strikes. The Bears also drew nine walks.
And in nearly 10 innings of a 7-6 game, there were only two extra-base hits: a double from M-A’s Erik Amundson leading off the bottom of the first inning and a double from Aragon’s Matt Foppiano in the top of the eighth inning.
Mike Marshall’s stay at the Golden Gloves National Tournament was a short one.
Marshall, a super heavyweight amateur boxer who trains out of Westside Boxing Club in San Mateo, won the San Francisco, the regional and state Golden Gloves titles to qualify for nationals. He didn’t receive a favorable draw and lost his one fight in Las Vegas — against two-time defending national Golden Gloves champion Cam Awesome.
Awesome’s bid for a three-peat fell short, however, as the Kansas City fighter lost in the title match to Jermaine Franklin of Michigan. Franklin won three rounds to two.
Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117. He can also be followed on Twitter @CheckkThissOutt.