Baseball tops Watsonville in CCS, 12-4


Palo Alto started Central Coast Section play strongly with a decisive, 12-4 win over an error-plagued Watsonville team that couldn’t match the Vikings’ potent offense.

The victory sends Paly to the quarterfinals of Central Coast Section Division I play on Saturday when it will meet Bellarmine Prep at Bellarmine at 2 pm.

Despite the outcome, Palo Alto started sluggishly. Back-to-back errors proved consequential as Watsonville jumped to an early 2-0 lead. Right fielder Austin Poore ended the inning when he drifted back to catch a ball drilled deep to him.

But as the second inning commences, Palo Alto’s defense stepped to the fore to shut down the Wildcatz.

“We didn’t really panic,” Palo Alto head coach Erick Raich said “We said ‘let’s make the most of these outs and minimize damage. And we got better as the game went along”.

Indeed Paly got better as the Vikings lineup jumped on Watsonville’s pitching. A combination of solid Viking hitting brewed with several Wildcatz errors and walked batters, allowed Paly to seize a 4-2 lead.

Watsonville rallied with two more runs of its own to tie the game 4-4, but it was the Wildcatz’s last hurrah.

Palo Alto not only matched Watsonville’s two runs, to make it a 6-4 game at the end of the third, but began to run away with it as the Watsonville offense simply couldn’t keep pace.

The Vikings went on to take 8-4 and 9-4 leads by the end of the fourth and fifth innings respectively en route to a final score of 12-4.

Said Watsonville coach James Gomez, the former Wildcatz star: “Defensively, there were a couple plays that we gave up that gave them opportunities, that gave them the lead. A couple fly balls misjudged. A couple defensive miscues.

“Palo Alto just hit the ball really well. They put the ball in play, and our defense faltered a little bit and their pitchers did a good job, hit their spots really well and kept us off balance. You gotta give credit to Palo Alto, they played well.”

Poore, a senior, was 3-for-3 at the plate.

Poore knew that if his team kept composure, despite a sluggish start, it would prevail.

“Our coach always tells us you don’t win the game in the first, second, third inning.” Poore said. “It’s the fifth, sixth and seventh where you win the game.”