Baseball falls to Los Gatos 7-5 in first league loss

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Sam Maliska (’11) closed the game for the Vikings, allowing no hits in the last two innings.

Mark Raftrey, News Editor

The Palo Alto High School baseball team fell behind early and saw its 10-game winning streak snapped by Los Gatos on Friday afternoon at Paly.

The Wildcats won 7-5 to avenge an 8-1 loss to the Vikings on Wednesday in the first game of the two-game series.

Los Gatos exploded in the third inning to take a 4-0 lead, which could have easily been more. The Wildcats teed off on pitches from Paly’s Drake Swezey (’11), hitting a pair of doubles and triples with a hit batsman in between. The Vikings limited the damage by throwing out two Los Gatos runners at third base.

“They were sitting on my fastball, and I got knocked around the yard quite a bit,” Swezey said.

Los Gatos head coach Mike Denevi was happy with the offensive output.

“Our extra base hits helped a lot,” Denevi said. “A couple of guys who were struggling came through.”

Paly, however, responded in the bottom of the frame. After consecutive singles from left fielder Cory Tenanes (’11) and shortstop Austin Braff (’12), center fielder Christoph Bono smacked a three-run shot that carried over the fence in left-center.

But the Vikings, who had averaged more than 10 runs per game their last 10 games, could not muster much more offense off Los Gatos starter Hayden Hibberd (’11).

“He’s pitched great all year,” Denevi said. “He mixed his pitches well and kept them off balance.”

Kevin Kannappan (’12) came in to relieve Swezey in the fourth but gave up three runs after the Vikings failed to come up with a pair of tough defensive plays.

Paly threatened to come back in the sixth and loaded the bases with one out. After a strikeout, the Vikings took advantage of an errant throw to first and picked up two runs, closing the gap to two, but the rally ended quietly.

Pitcher Sam Maliska (’11) gave Paly a chance by not allowing a base runner over the final two innings, but the Vikings did not score.

“This doesn’t derail us from our goal of a league title,” Paly head coach Erick Raich said. “You tip your hat to [Los Gatos] and say great job.”