Despite seeing six Peninsula Athletic League teams, plus Serra, eliminated in the first round, there are still three San Mateo County teams left in the Central Coast Section playoffs.
Below is a look at the matchups for Saturday’s games.
No. 3 Sequoia (20-7-1) vs.
No. 6 Christopher-Gilroy (15-12),
4 p.m. at Sacred Heart Prep
The Cherokees won their first Central Coast Section game since 1998 with a 5-2 win over Fremont-Sunnyvale Thursday, while the Cougars beat No. 11 Alvarez 6-5.
The strength of the Cherokees this season has been its pitching, with a staff ERA of 1.63. They threw their ace, Kyle Cambron, in the win over the Firebirds, but Cameron Greenough has been nearly as good, with a 2.24 ERA. Look for Kenny Belanger to factor in at some point as well. In nine appearances, he has a 1.33 ERA.
Offensively, Sequoia has a team batting average of .281.
Christopher went 7-8 against teams that qualified for CCS — including losses to Leigh (No. 1 Open Division) and San Benito (No. 5 Open Division).
No. 12 Menlo-Atherton (17-12-1) vs.
No. 4 North Salinas (19-9),
2 p.m. at Hartnell College
The Bears advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-1 win over No. 5 Watsonville, while the Vikings posted a 3-0 win over No. 13 Lincoln-San Jose.
M-A has been one of the most maddening teams around this season. With talent up and down the lineup, the Bears have struggled at times this season.
They opened the year by winning 10 of their first 12 games, but over their final 10 games of the regular season, they were 3-6-1. They righted the ship by winning two straight games in the Peninsula Athletic League tournament, before losing 7-6 in the championship game to Menlo School.
North Salinas captured the Monterey Bay Athletic League Pacific Division championship, going 17-1 in the process. Offensively, the Vikings have seven players who drove in 10 runs or more this season, led by senior Zach Foster, who is batting .419 and has driven in a team-leading 22 runs.
The good news for M-A is the Bears will miss the Vikings’ ace on the mound. Sophomore Joseph Gutierrez threw a two-hitter in Thursday win over Lincoln.
The bad news for the Bears is they will most likely face junior Isaac Garcia, who has compiled a 5-1 record with a 0.39 ERA this season in 36 1/3 innings pitched.
M-A will most likely counter with its co-ace Matt McGarry, who has the stuff to dominate anyone. A.J. Lemons could also factor in. Lemons has posted a 1.03 ERA in 13 appearances this season.
No. 12 Menlo School (18-12) vs.
No. 4 Santa Cruz (14-10),
1 p.m. at Sacred Heart Prep
The Knights beat Capuchino 2-1 in the first round, turning a triple play with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning to preserve the win.
The Cardinals had a much easier time, beating No. 13 Gilroy 10-2.
Santa Cruz finished in a tie for last place, with Harbor, in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League. But with Soquel, Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley all qualifying for the Open Division, it left spots available in the other divisions, thus allowing the Cardinals via an at-large bid.
Having used Wyatt Driscoll Wednesday, Menlo’s greatest concern going into Saturday is its pitching depth. Junior Austin D’Ambra and Davis Rich are second and third behind Wyatt, but those two have a combined ERA of about 4.00.
The Knights will continue to need their offense to pick up the pitching. While they have a decent team batting average of .299, it’s been their clutch hitting that has been the difference. Menlo has four batters with 20 or more RBIs on the season. Those four — Sam Crowder, Mikey Diekroeger, Carson Gampell and Jared Lucian — are also the Knights’ best hitters. They’ll need them on top of their game if they are to advance to the semifinals for the fifth straight season.