By Julio Lara
Daily Journal Staff
M-A manager Mike Amoroso described his team’s season as a roller coaster ride.
And in the first round of the Central Coast Section Division I playoffs, that ride came to a heartbreaking stop.
After going down 1-0 on a controversial balk call, the Bears fought back and scored two runs to lead 2-1 after 5 1/2 innings of play. Up until that point, M-A starter Erik Amundson had been unhittable.
But the junior pitcher gave up his lone two hits in the bottom of the fifth. They were a pair of solo homers that gave San Benito the lead.
“Getting six hits in a CCS playoff game against a good pitching staff is good,” Amoroso said. “We just couldn’t close.”
M-A had the tying run thrown out at the plate and also stranded runners on first and third in the seventh.
“We finished strong,” Amoroso said. “We battled a good team and that speaks volumes for Menlo-Atherton baseball.”
Scotts Valley 11, Half Moon Bay 2
The Cougars played inspired baseball in the latter part of the PAL season to push their way in the CCS playoffs. But perhaps they spent all of their energy just getting there.
The base on balls cursed Half Moon Bay in its first round matchup with Scotts Valley. The Cougars fell to the team from Santa Cruz 11-2.
“We were giving guys extended at bats,” said Half Moon Bay manager Steve Terraszas. “We just didn’t pitch very well today.”
The Cougars scored in the first to take a 1-0 lead. But Scotts Valley plated two in the second and two more in the third before the wheels came off, according to Terrazas.
Half Moon Bay would not score against until the seventh.
“It definitely wasn’t our best offensive effort,” Terraszas said. “We just couldn’t adjust to their starter’s change-up. I think all of his strikeouts were on that pitch.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Terraszas said. “They played hard and really came together. We were playing our best baseball at the end of the season. I’m proud of how they battled in a tough division. We just couldn’t carry that element into [Wednesday].”
Homestead 4, Carlmont 3
The PAL Bay champion Scots found themselves down 3-0 early to Homestead and while they bounced back, a two-out rally saw their season end.
Carlmont scratched out a run in the top of the third when Matt Seubert led off with a walk andJesse Austin followed with ian nfield single. Tanner Westmoreland’s sacrifice bunt moved each of them up a base. Kai Haake was then hit by a pitch to load the bases and Justin Fink hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Seubert.
Carlmont managed to tie the score 3-3 in the fifth. Seubert led off with an infield single and would later score when Haake's ground ball to third was booted for Homestead’s second error of the inning.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the seventh when, after two outs, the Homestead designated hitter doubled to left-center. The Scots intentionally loaded the bases and the next batter hit the ball deep in the hole. Shortstop Aaron Albaum stopped the ball from reaching the outfield, but the infield single resulted in the winning run crossing the plate.
Sacred Heart Prep 4, Live Oak 1
The Gators scored two in the first and another two in the second, and that was all SHP starter Tyler VauDell would need as Sacred Heart Prep beat Live Oak 4-1. VauDell limited Live Oak to five hits (three doubles) and overcame three errors by the SHP defense.
Mike Covell was the offensive hero for the Gators. He had two hits including a double.
North Salinas 3, Woodside 1
Speed kills. And the Woodside softball team found that out the hard way in their 3-0 loss to Santa Teresa.
“They’re 1 and 2 hitters are really fast,” said Woodside head coach Mike King. “They have a lot of speed and it’s really tough to stop that.”
The Wildcats scored their run in the second inning and for the most part got great pitching from starter Christina Patton.
“We made a couple of errors that basically cost us the game,” King said. “They’re a good team. We just didn’t get the key hits when we needed to. But, we played a good game. It’s tough when you’re a ‘C’ team to condition yourself for ‘A’ teams.”
Santa Teresa 1, Sequoia 0
In what was Sequoia’s fourth appearance over the last seven years in CCS, the Cherokees put forth their finest effort. Unfortunately, they came up short.
Santa Teresa pushed a run across in the sixth inning on a fielder’s choice and that was the difference in the ball game.
“In general, we’re really proud of our girls with how hard they played, especially today,” said Sequoia manager Scott Reynick. “Nonetheless, it was a heart-breaking loss. We had our opportunities but we couldn’t quite cash them in.”
Sequoia had a chance to tie the game when they got runners to first and second with just one out in the seventh. But they could get neither home.
Gina Rodriguez had a solid outing in the circle for Sequoia. “She pitched really well,” Reynick said. “And we played really good defense behind her.
“This was by far the most competitive result we’ve had in CCS against a solid San Jose team. Big picture, we’re pretty happy with the way things went this season.”
In other CCS news, Menlo School fell to Notre Dame-Salinas 11-0.