Menlo News May 30, 2024

NorCal Championship bound: Baseball wins thriller in 9th

Knights play Woodland Christian in final

In its second walk-off victory this postseason, the Menlo baseball team used stout defense and timely hitting in the ninth to rally past visiting Oakland Tech 3-2 in the CIF-Div. V NorCal semifinals at Menlo on Thursday.
Senior third baseman Garrett Tran drove in the winning run in the ninth to send Menlo to the CIF-NorCal Championship Senior third baseman Garrett Tran drove in the winning run in the ninth to send Menlo to the CIF-NorCal ChampionshipThe game was knotted 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth when Menlo senior Garrett Tran singled on a hard line drive to center, and junior Luke Rogers, who led off the ninth with a double, ran across home plate and bolted to center field with his teammates to celebrate.
“When we started shutting them down on defense, it felt like there was a momentum shift, and every inning after, we were that much closer to getting some runs,” Tran said.
Top seed Menlo will host No. 2 Woodland Christian in the NorCal Championship at 4:00 pm Saturday.
Knights junior Ben Salama threw seven innings, allowing an unearned run on three hits, striking out five and walking one in seven innings Knights junior Ben Salama threw seven innings, allowing an unearned run on three hits, striking out five and walking one in seven inningsThe Bulldogs opened the game with a run in each of the first two innings, and held a 2-0 advantage until the sixth inning.
Menlo, which has made a pattern of coming up big in the middle and late innings, tied the score at 2-2. Knights sophomore Jack Freehill, who walked to reach base, scored on an error. Chuck Wynn, also a sophomore, scored Tran to tie the game.
Knights junior Ben Salama allowed just three hits and struck out five in seven innings. In the seventh, he delivered a strikeout, a groundout before sophomore Jackson Flanagan leapt to make a catch in left forthe final out.
Knights senior Ryan Schnell threw two shutout innings for the nine-inning win Knights senior Ryan Schnell threw two shutout innings for the nine-inning winMenlo senior Ryan Schnell came on in the seventh and delivered two shutout innings for the victory.
“The momentum aspect is so important,” Tran said. “When you get a 1-2-3 inning, it really fuels your offense.”
Rogers finished with a pair of hits, including a double. Knights senior Jake Sonsini also doubled.