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CCS baseball: Los Gatos ousts league rival Palo Alto

SANTA CLARA — Luke Short had one thought when the final out was recorded Saturday that sent Los Gatos to the section semifinals with a 3-2 victory over league rival Palo Alto.
“What went through my mind is Muni,” the Los Gatos pitcher said.
The Wildcats are going back to Municipal Stadium for the first time since they reached the Central Coast Section Open Division final in 2015 — when the current seniors were freshmen — after they flipped the script against Palo Alto.
Los Gatos will play Serra on Tuesday for a spot in the final.
Palo Alto had won two of the three previous games this season against Los Gatos, including a victory in a league playoff final eight days earlier that clinched the outright league crown for the Vikings.
But the game Saturday at Washington Park was far different than the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division final, specifically because of Short.
The Saint Mary’s-bound left-hander got stronger as the game moved along, striking out the side in the sixth after Los Gatos scored in the fifth on a bases-loaded hit batter to break a 1-1 tie.
Tyler Williams added another run for Los Gatos in the home half of the sixth with a single to right off closer Josh Kasevich, a run both he and Short called huge.
With a two-run cushion in the seventh, Short did not allow Palo Alto even a hint of a comeback, retiring the bottom of the order on a flyout, strikeout and groundout.
“Saint Mary’s has got a good one,” Los Gatos coach Nate Anderson said. “That’s the best I’ve seen him pitch. He was telling me what he was going to do before it happened. I just kind of smiled the whole game. It was pretty fun.”
Thomas Moore’s single to center gave Los Gatos a 1-0 lead in the first after walks put two runners on.
Palo Alto, which overcame a 6-2 deficit to beat Los Gatos 7-6 in the league final, evened the score in the third on an error.
It stayed tied until an off-speed pitch in the fifth hit Trevor Allen in the shoulder with the bases loaded.
“We knew they were talented, but we have a lot of guys that are going to fight and go in one direction,” Williams said.
The loss was heartbreaking for Palo Alto, a team dominated by seniors who wanted to end their careers with a strong CCS run after losing in the first round the previous three years.
“You saw the entire season, we put so many games together where we were down and, like I said last week, we don’t quit,” said an emotional Max Jung-Goldberg, Palo Alto’s second baseman. “Quite honestly, today isn’t even close to the representation of this team. I can’t really put into words how much these guys mean to me. It’s going to be weird not being able to come back next year. This being the last game is really tough.”
Because of a questionable point system the CCS uses for baseball to seed teams, Los Gatos (22-8) finished with more points than Palo Alto and was the designated home team Saturday as the fourth seed.
Palo Alto was seeded fifth.
Asked if his players felt slighted, Palo Alto coach Pete Fukuhara said, “The way that I am trying to teach them is just keep our head down and play the game and whatever comes our way we take care of. We try not to look up to see where we’re ranked or seeded against, any of that.”
Palo Alto (22-7) had won its previous 12 games, but its CCS drought continues. The Vikings have not won in the section playoffs since they beat Bellarmine College Prep in the Open quarterfinals in 2013.
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“It’s hard to win the last one,” Palo Alto shortstop Niko Lillios said. “Two good teams play each other, two good arms on the mound, one person has to win. They won today.”

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