Legends Eliminated from Playoff Contention with Loss to Healdsburg
Palo Alto, Calif. – In a season that has been full of exuberant highs and devastating lows, the Menlo Park Legends suffered the biggest blow of them all on Tuesday night against the Healdsburg Prune Packers. Entering the night just one-half game behind the Prune Packers for the CCL Wild Card spot with two days left, the Legends fell to the visiting Prune Packers 11-3 at Baylands Athletic Center. The Legends never stood a chance to get back into the game after falling behind early on and with the Santa Barbara Foresters announcing they will in fact compete in the CCL playoffs that begin on Friday, the Legends fall out of contention. Healdsburg improves to 35-15 on the summer and 14-11 in conference play while the Legends drop to 25-18 and 12-12 in CCL games, now 1.5 games behind the Prune Packers.
It did not get off to the best start for Menlo Park as Ryan Lefner took the mound. The first five batters of the game reached base against him as he allowed four consecutive singles followed by a walk. He would wind up getting two outs with only allowing two runs to score, but the damage came when Alex Larivee scored a pair with a double to the wall. That capped off a four-run first that the Legends would never recover from. They did their best in the next two frames, as Clayton Casey hit a sacrifice fly and Nick Brooks doubled home a run in the first to make it 4-2. In the second, Dempsey Grover singled home Scott Ota to cut it to a 4-3 game. The Legends just couldn’t push past any more runs to tie the game. They left a runner at third in the third, and RJ Williams was thrown out trying to score to end the fourth inning.
That would be when the Prune Packers put their foot on the accelerator and began to put the Legends in their review mirror. Three runners got on board to open up the fifth, and that chased Ryan Lefner from the game. Kevin Hahn came in as the first reliever and allowed two of those three runs to score, though only one was earned thanks to a Nick Brooks error. Brooks committed a second error to lead off the sixth and that pushed across another run for the Prune Packers in inning after Kenny Corey singled home Tyler Meditz. With the score at 7-3, Healdsburg added on two more runs in the top of the seventh after Billy Wilson tallied his forth hit of the game with a triple and scored on a subsequent wild pitch, and Jamey Smart hit a homerun to centerfield just two batters later. That chased Hahn from the game, and Matt Bergandi was summoned from the ‘pen to get through the rest of the outing and he allowed two runs to score in the ninth after Eli Orona singled home Brandon Shearer and Michael Russo. The Legends left nine runners on base despite getting ten hits, receiving two free passes, and being the beneficiaries of two Prune Packers errors.
The Academy Barons, Neptune Beach Pearl, and Santa Barbara Foresters are the three division winners in the CCL. The Wild Card spot is still up for grabs as the Conejo Oaks, Prune Packers, and San Luis Obispo Blues (depending on the outcome of games today) are all alive. Menlo Park will finish off the summer with a doubleheader at Baylands on Wednesday against the Walnut Creek Crawdads. The first pitch for game one will be at 3:30 PM and game two will be Family Appreciation Night. If you can’t make it out to the park, make sure to catch the final broadcast of the summer on the Legends Radio Network.