Los Altos Falls to Westmont in CCS Final

Julia Santos, Sports Editor

Los Altos and Westmont stood on opposite ends of the spectrum going into Saturday’s baseball Division I CSS championship. The 1st-seeded Westmont Warriors arrived at San Jose’s Municipal Stadium with three shutouts under their belt; the 7th-seeded Eagles, meanwhile, were recovering from three increasingly close CCS matches and unable to put junior Alex Reelfs on the pitcher’s mound due to an injury. While the Warriors led with outstanding offensive and defensive efforts, it soon became clear that the Eagles had nothing left in their tank, falling to their opponents by a final score of 8-1.

“We were definitely hot through the playoffs, but this game was a let down,” catcher and junior Keenan Hanley said. “But everyone gave it their all and left it on the field.”

In the first inning, the Warriors struck out the Eagles’ first three batters — sophomore Ben Parker, senior Ryan Buchner and junior Alex Reelfs — then immediately scored three runs. After a long defensive effort by the Eagles, shortstop and senior Aidan Kelleher finally ended the inning with a diving catch.

The second inning saw more offensive opportunities for Los Altos. Keenan and senior Max Higareda made it on base, but Los Altos finished the top of the inning scoreless. The Warriors then furthered their lead with two more runs, capitalizing on miscommunication in the outfield from Los Altos, leaving the score at 0-5.

After the first two innings, the game became more competitive as Los Altos played a stronger defensive game. Starting pitcher Max shutout the Warriors in the third inning, but was pulled from the pitcher’s mound in the fourth after the opposing team scored their last three runs of the game. Los Altos held Westmont scoreless for the last two innings, with Ben contributing by catching back-to-back fly balls in the right field.

In the sixth inning, junior Colin Homan batted in senior Ryan Buchner, who scored Los Altos’ first and only run of the game — the only run Westmont gave up in the entire CCS tournament.

The championship loss ended the Eagles’ 2017 season, in which they finished 20-12-1 overall. The last time Los Altos has won a CCS championship was in 2007, and since then, the Eagles have only appeared in the finals a total of three  times including their most recent loss.

“Obviously, we’re bummed that we lost,” head coach Gabriel Stewart said. “Many of the seniors are upset because that was the last time they walked off the field with their Los Altos uniform on, but no one has anything on this team to be ashamed of. The hard work that they put in starting way back in December, this is where it paid off. We are CCS finalists, we’re the second best team in Division I, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.”