Menlo-Atherton 2, Watsonville 1
No. 12-seeded Menlo-Atherton needed a big performance to overcome No. 5 Watsonville on the road, and right-hander Erik Amundson delivered.
The senior fired a one-hitter in the Central Coast Section Division I opener Thursday at Watsonville to lead the Bears to their first CCS win since 2010. Amundson surrendered one run on one hit on a second-inning RBI double by Canek Gomez. M-A’s ace buckled down from there, striking out 13 to improve his record to 8-5.
Trailing 1-0, Menlo-Atherton rallied for all the runs it would need in the third. Charlie Cain led off the inning with a single. After Amundson walked, both runners advanced on a passed ball. Then with two outs, Max Gardiner delivered a two-run single to give the Bears a 2-1 lead.
The Menlo-Atherton defense committed no errors in the game.
With the win, the Bears improve to 17-12-1 overall. They advance to Saturday’s quarterfinal matchup with North Salinas at Hartnell College. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Wilcox 12, South City 2
As South City manager Jesse Velez described it, the No. 16-seeded Warriors’ opener with No. 1 Wilcox (22-8) was a Goliath vs. “the guys in blue” matchup.
Thursday, South City (15-14) succumbed to the CCS Division I top seed with junior ace Jesus Jimenez taking the loss.
The 2014 season saw an insurgence of South City baseball. Playing out of the revamped Peninsula Athletic League Lake Division — a C-league — the Warriors rolled to an undefeated 12-0 season in league play, highlighted by a May 1 win over division rival San Mateo as South City won 3-1 in an extra-inning thriller.
Velez is poised to move his club up to the PAL Ocean Division next season. And it should prove perfect timing as the Warriors stand to get both their ace pitchers Daniel Perez and Jesus Jimenez back as seniors in 2015.
Perez posted a 5-5 record and paced the team with a 1.62 ERA, 64 2/3 innings pitched and 59 strikeouts this season. Jimenez was also a force on the mound, posting a 5-2 record with a 1.97 ERA and striking out 57.
Jimenez, the Warriors’ top offensive player, paced the team in almost every offensive category with a .406 batting average, 39 hits, 16 RBIs, 12 doubles, two triples (tied with two others), 23 runs and a .572 slugging percentage.
South City graduates just five players from the 2014 squad: Tyler Keahi, James Felix, Isaiah Soto, Bryan Ortiz and Brandon Barrios.
Branham 7, Sacred Heart Prep 6
Branaham (17-14) went up 5-0 in the second inning Wednesday and held off a late charge by Sacred Heart Prep (15-14), as the Gators saw their season end on the road in the CCS opener.
The Gators rallied for two runs in the seventh to close to within a run, but Branaham closer Arman Sabouri shut the door to send the Bruins to Saturday’s quarterfinal Saturday against top-seed Pacific Grove.
Kyle Johnston paced all SHP hitters with three hits, while sophomore Andrew Daschbach hit his team-best third home run of the season in the seventh.