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CCS baseball: Serra moves into Open semifinals

SARATOGA – When a No. 8 seed beats a No. 1 seed, a loud celebration by the winning team usually follows.
That wasn’t the case Saturday in a Central Coast Section Open Division baseball quarterfinal at West Valley College.
The eighth-seeded Serra squad quietly congratulated each other after a 4-1 victory over top-seeded Willow Glen.
“I think it’s a little bit different this year because there are only eight teams in the Open. I would imagine all eight of these teams feel like that they belong there,” said Serra first-year coach Chris Houle about the mindset coming into Saturday’s game. “We weren’t too worried about the seed at all. We knew whoever we played, it was going to be a tough game.”
Serra (23-8), the tough West Catholic Athletic League round-robin champion, reached the Open Division championship last year as a 15th seed in a 16-team bracket. The CCS Board of Managers decided to cap the Open Division in all sports at eight teams this school year.
“We knew going in against Serra that we probably had to play maybe perfect,” said Willow Glen coach Sam Piraro, whose team won the Blossom Valley Athletic League Mt. Hamilton Division. “We had the tying run at the plate at the end … The guys had a great season. Serra is the champion of their league, which is a great league.”
Piraro said that he knew that the Rams (22-5) would be the No. 1 seed in the Open Division because they had the most CCS points.
“We were the Number One seed, we earned it by the rules … we’re proud of that,” Piraro said. “Do I think a 16 (team bracket) might be a better plan? Maybe in the future (the CCS) will consider it. I don’t know if they have a two-year commitment to this plan or not.”
Serra moves on to face No. 4 Los Gatos (22-8) on Tuesday in a semifinal at San Jose Municipal Stadium. The first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.
All of the scoring in Saturday’s game occurred in two innings.
Serra’s Brad Shimabuku and JJ Ota walked to start the third inning. Nicolas Lopez then flew out to right field, moving Shimabuku to third. Ota stole second on the next pitch, then Ryan Sutter hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
On the next pitch, Jack Damelio hit an RBI single to left field for a 2-0 Padres lead.
Willow Glen cut Serra’s lead in half in the bottom of the third. Antonio Silvas reached base on an error to lead off, moved to third on a one-out double by Joey Costantino, and scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Sal Munoz.
But Serra got a pair of insurance runs in the fifth inning. Ota reached second base on an error to lead off, then scored two pitches later on a double by Lopez. Noah Marcelo drove in the final run of the game with an RBI single that inning. Both Damelio and Marcelo were 2 for 4 in the game.
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“Our middle-of-the-order guys came up with some big hits when we needed it,” Houle said.
Mitchell Scott scattered four hits, struck out seven batters and walked two in a complete-game performance for Serra.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Willow Glen’s Charles Falcone reached base on an infield single, then Costantino walked. But Scott induced a fielder’s choice to end the game.

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