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In calm, cool, collective manner, Palizo delivers when needed for Bulldogs

Posted Date: 05/07/2024

In calm, cool, collective manner, Palizo delivers when needed for Bulldogs

The playoffs can make heroes, even for a short while. And on Saturday, Peter Palizo was Alexander’s cape crusader. 

Entering the bottom of the sixth inning in Game 2 of their three-game first-round series against San Antonio Sotomayor, the Bulldogs trailed 3-1. It seemed almost inevitable that the Wildcats would force a Game 3 – Alexander won Game 1, 2-0, on Friday – as the Navy & Gold couldn’t muster any sort of momentum. But that all changed when Palizo stepped up to the plate. 

With the bases loaded with no outs, Palizo ripped a triple to right field, resulting in three runs to put Alexander up 4-3. The Bulldogs would tack on another run in the sixth frame – on an RBI single by Adrian Villarreal – to secure a 5-3 victory and advance to the second round of the playoffs. 

“I was just trying to do my job,” Palizo said of the moment. “The bases were loaded. We were down. I was just trying to move the runners over, trying to get some in.” 

Alexander head coach Fernando Lemus wasn’t surprised Palizo came up clutch in such a crucial moment. On a team full of quality, big-name players, the junior has quietly been one of the Bulldogs’ most consistent contributors this season. 

Over Alexander’s last 16 games, Palizo has hit .295 with six runs and 15 RBIs. And Palizo has done it in a calm, cool and collective manner. 

“He has been one of our better bats lately during the second part of the season,” Lemus said. “It was great to see him get that big hit. 

“He’s a cool, calm, collective kid. Really quiet. You’ll get a smile or a smirk now and then. But he’s a competitor. I am happy that he is having success.” 

Palizo has an uncanny ability to be unphased by moments. After he hit his game-changing triple on Saturday, he didn’t react with a big celebration like most do after such a hit. Instead, he fists bumped Lemus – who is the team’s third-base coach – and stayed composed. He acted like his triple was just another hit to him. 

“That’s how I’ve always been,” Palizo said. “I’ve never been the type to get super happy. I always stay calm all the time.” 

Lemus feels Palizo has succeeded this season, especially during the second half, due to the experience he gained last year as a sophomore. Palizo played in some big games in 2023. So, this season, those typical big-time games – like Saturday’s – don't feel as humongous anymore. They just feel like normal matchups to the junior, which has allowed him to stay within himself and be the calm, cool, collective player he is. 

Although Palizo didn’t show it during his at-bat, he was a little nervous before he hit his triple. According to him, his heart was pumping a little faster than usual. 

The Bulldogs have the makings of a team that could go far in this year’s playoffs. Their pitching is solid and anyone within their lineup can be a sparkplug at any given moment. So, for Palizo to help Alexander advance far into postseason play, all he believes he has to do is come through when needed – just like he did Saturday. 

“Whatever situation I am in, I have to come through,” Palizo said. “That’s my role. Come through during whatever situation we are in.” 

Playoffs can make heroes. And Saturday, Palizo was truly a hero for the Bulldogs. 

In a big-time moment – one in which could rattle the best of athletes – Palizo delivered for Alexander, just like he has all year. In that at-bat, he showed why he has quietly been one of the Navy & Gold’s best players this season. 

The Bulldogs will face PSJA in the second round of the playoffs, with times, dates and locations to be determined as of Saturday. The Bears won’t be an easy opponent as they dominated District 31-6A. But Alexander likes its chances against PSJA. And if Palizo can continue to deliver in crucial situations – just like he did against Sotomayor – that should help the Bulldogs’ chances to advance to the third round tremendously. 

“He has been big for us this year,” Lemus said.  And with the manner he plays with, don’t be surprised if Palizo continues to produce this postseason.