Legends belt Seals for 9th win in row
By Vytas Mazeika
The wins are piling up for the Menlo Park Legends, who made it nine in a row Friday at Canada College with a 10-3 triumph over the San Francisco Seals. But the Legends barely have time to feel good about themselves during a stretch of five games in four days that includes a doubleheader today starting at noon.
“It’s exciting to come out to the ballpark and just get to play again,” Legends catcher Peter Woodall said. “Guys know you’re on a roll, they’re feeling it. Everyone is coming together and it feels good to be out here every day.”
The Legends (25-11) played late into Thursday night at Laney College in Oakland during a 7-6 win over the Seals, who had to make the trek to Redwood City for Friday’s first pitch at 5 p.m.
In the rematch, Menlo Park took control with five runs in the bottom of the first. The big blow was a three-run homer to left field by Menlo-Atherton graduate Jeff Keller, though for a moment the mammoth shot was judged to be a loud foul ball by the home plate umpire.
“I was halfway towards him yelling, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,'” said Keller, who made a figure eight between first and second during his elongated home run trot. “Luckily they consulted. That ball was 20 feet fair, I thought. At least they got the call right, but I was nervous for a little bit.”
The next two batters walked, Mike Marcoux hit a sacrifice fly and the fifth run scored on a wild pitch.
Legends starter DJ Sharabi got into troublein the top of the second, when after a two-out error he lost the shutout on a bases-loaded walk and allowed another run on a single to right field. But the damage was limited when right fielder Joe Goldenberg showed off his arm by gunning down a runner at home for the final out of the inning.
“I don’t know if you’ve seen him pitch, but he throws gas,” Keller said of Goldenberg. “He’s legitimately 94-95, and from the outfield it’s probably harder than that.”
The Seals managed another run in the top of the third, but it scored as third baseman Grant Nelson (Serra-San Mateo) started a double play. From there, the Menlo Park pitching clamped down.
The strategy with the lead was simple: throw strikes.
“If they get a hit, they get a hit — but let the defense work,” Woodall said. “Don’t take the defense out of it by trying to strike everybody out and walking people. Keep it flowing and keep throwing the ball over the plate.”
Sharabi picked up the win after surrendering five hits and four walks over six innings in which he struck out three, while right-hander Brad Banker allowed one hit in three innings of scoreless relief for the save.
The 10-hit attack produced an insurance run in the bottom of the third with an RBI single by Marcoux to make it 6-3. A jam shot by designated hitter Chris Freeman in the sixth plated a pair and the last two runs scored off a wild pitch and a flare to right field by Pierson Jeremiah.
“This is as scrappy of a team that I’ve ever been on,” Keller said. “A lot of one-run, two-run victories. We’re finding ways to win. Pitchers are keeping us in it. Offense just scoring enough to win.”
For the last nine games, it’s been a winning formula.