Stuart Hall advances to title game

After two slugfests resulted in 47 runs during two regular-season meetings, pitching dominated Tuesday’s Bay Counties League West baseball semifinal game.

Fourth-seeded Stuart Hall beat Marin Academy 2-0 behind freshman Frank Duncan’s two-hitter. The Knights (16-8) move on to face top-seeded Lick-Wilmerding (16-6) Thursday at Big Rec-Nealon at 3:30 p.m. Fifth-seeded Marin Academy’s season ends at 6-14.

“This was a playoff game,” Stuart Hall coach John Bertken said, “and it’s nice to play up here [at USF’s Benedetti Diamond].”

Bertken’s nomadic Knights have no home field. On USF’s well-groomed diamond, they played the errorless ball they needed to get Duncan (who walked nine) the shutout win.

The game was scoreless into Stuart Hall’s half of the fourth when Kris Suzuki, the BCL West’s leading hitter, led off with a ground-rule double. Suzuki stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Ben Costa. With two outs, Stuart Hall loaded the bases, but Wildcats pitcher Ross Pomerantz coaxed a fielder’s choice out of sophomore James Kessler to end the threat.

With Duncan working in and out of trouble, few watching realized he had a no-hitter until Marin’s Spencer Scheidt broke it up with a single in the sixth. Another single followed. Despite his team’s precarious 1-0 lead, Bertken stayed with Duncan.

“Frank is one of our most competitive players,” Bertken said. “I like to stay with my most competitive players.”

His faith was rewarded. Duncan worked out of trouble.

“[The coaches] told me to relax,” Duncan said. “Sometimes I try too hard out there. It’s tough.”

After the inning, Bertken asked his catcher, senior Andy Loftholm, about his pitcher. “We had our closer warming up,” Bertken said. “But [Andy] stuck up for [Duncan], so we stayed with him.”

Duncan got the Wildcats 1-2-3 in the seventh.

Crystal Springs Uplands 5, Drew 4

FOSTER CITY — Mason Mazzola’s clutch two-out, two-run single in the top of the sixth gave the upstart Dragons a 4-3 lead, but the third-seeded Gryphons (9-5) rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to knock off sixth-seeded Drew (5-18). Crystal Springs advances to face second-seeded University (13-7-1) Thursday at Big Rec-Graham at 3:30 p.m.

Cameron Susk came on in relief to earn the win for the Gryphons and also delivered the game-tying hit with one out in the seventh. The winning run scored on a passed ball.

— Staff report

BAY COUNTIES LEAGUE CENTRAL

International 14, Bay 6

Despite collecting three hits and driving in six runs, International center fielder Luc Hancock was still looking for one more hit in the bottom of the sixth inning against Bay.

Needing a double to complete the cycle, Hancock instead settled for a run-scoring single — his seventh RBI of the night — to finalize the Jaguars’ win over the Breakers in the semifinals of the Bay Counties Central League playoffs at Hennessey Field.

“I was hoping Harry [DiFrancesco] would move over to third, so I could try for a double, but it didn’t work out that way,” Hancock said of his late-game single. “I was just looking for the curveball all game and reacting to the fastball and I was able to pick up some big hits.”

DiFrancesco added two hits and four runs, Adam Levinson went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Charlie Boatwright pitched a complete game with nine strikeouts to lead the Jaguars into the BCL Central championship game against Leadership on Friday.

The Jaguars scored three runs in the first inning, taking advantage of five walks issued by Breakers starter Harry Ward. After Bay scored four runs in the top of third to take a 4-3 lead, International answered with a run in the bottom of the third and three runs in bottom of the fourth to take a 7-4 lead.

— Will Reisman

Leadership 18, Gateway 3

Chester Patton went 3-for-3 with four runs scored and allowed just two hits from the mound to lead the Griffin (16-7) past the Gators (4-15) and into the BCL Central final. Top-seeded Leadership will play No. 2 International for the championship Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Big Rec.

“I was a little nervous at first but then I calmed down and let my defense work for me,” Patton said. “The key for us is playing every game the same — whether it’s the regular season or the World Series.”

Shortstop Zach Trevor was 2-for-2 and also scored four runs for Leadership, which was aided by six Gateway errors, nine walks and two hit batsmen. Designated hitter Jesse Aguilar also had two hits, including a booming triple in the bottom of the third that made the score 13-2.

— Matt Elliser

SMALL SCHOOL BRIDGE LEAGUE

Orinda Academy 6, Jewish Community 4

ORINDA — Adam Rosenbloom had a two-run triple in the first inning, but the Wolves (2-4) watched Orinda Academy scored five runs over the third and fourth innings to pick up the victory. Josh Kaye went 3-for-4, while Spyq Sklar and Rosenbloom each had two hits for Jewish Community.

— Staff report

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