SANTA CLARA - Each time Monte Vista Christian took a lead in the Central Coast Section Division III semifinals, Menlo had an answer. At least until the 11th inning, when a pair of Mustang runs in the top half of the inning stood up, sending MVC to the section title game with a 7-5 victory.
The Mustangs built a 3-0 lead heading to the bottom of the fifth, only to see Menlo erase it with it with a three-spot. Monte Vista Christian scored what might have been the game-winning run in the top of the seventh, but Menlo answered in the bottom half to send it to extra innings. The Mustangs took the lead again in the top of the 10th, but once again the Knights were able to keep extending the game.
That is, until Matt Woods' one-out single in the top of the 11th inning scored Tyler Keenan for a 6-5 lead and Dominic Felice scored on a wild pitch two batters later for some insurance. Menlo got two runners on base with one out in the bottom of the 11th, but a ground ball to Marshall Silva at second base resulted in a game-ending double play.
Each team scraped together runs through regulation, with Monte Vista Christian scoring on a ground out, a double steal and a squeeze bunt. Menlo strung together its first three runs courtesy of a sacrifice fly, a bases loaded walk and a one-out error on a line drive to third base. It was Quinn Alexander's RBI single in the top of the seventh which gave the Mustangs their second lead of the game, but Menlo's JC Ng answered with a run-scoring single in the bottom half to keep the Knights alive, delivering with two outs and after he had fallen behind 0-2 in the count.
In the top of the 10th, it was Silva's sacrifice fly which again put MVC in front, but Ian Collins responded with a one-out solo home run to right field for the Knights in the bottom half.
Alexander earned the win in relief for the Mustangs, allowing one hit in four innings, the solo shot to Collins. Collins went 3-for-4 for Menlo, while Charlie Giesler and Kevin King had two hits each. Monte Vista Christian had five different players each collect two hits in the win.
Monte Vista Christian now faces The King's Academy on Saturday for the section title, after the Knights beat Pacific Grove 2-0 in the other semifinal.