Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Hillsdale’s Sharona Mataele strokes a two-run single in the first inning of the Knights’ 13-0 win over Sequoia in the PAL Bay Division opener for both teams.
The highlight for the Sequoia softball team in 2013 — its first ever in the Peninsula Athletic League’s Bay Division — was sweeping Hillsdale in a pair of league games.
The Cherokees will have no such chance in 2014.
Hillsdale traveled to Redwood City for the Bay Division opener for both teams Tuesday and the Knights let it be known they will be a power to be reckoned with this season as they blasted Sequoia 13-0 in a game that was halted after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Hillsdale coach Randy Metheany was not ready to proclaim his team great just yet, however.
“We might not know that for a while,” Metheany said. “You don’t want to get too high. We can get better.”
Hillsdale (1-0 PAL Bay, 5-0 overall) certainly looked great for one day at least. The Knights scored multiple runs in four of the five innings — two in the first, three in the third, two in the fourth and six in the sixth — banging out 12 hits in the process. They also drew seven walks and struck out just three times.
Sequoia (0-1, 1-2) did not help its own cause, committing four errors which extended innings for the Knights and led to three unearned runs.
“I don’t think we executed as well as we can — pitching, offensively, defensively,” said Sequoia coach Scott Reynick. “[Hillsdale] is a good team. I think they’re going to challenge this year for the (Bay Division) title.”
That was more than enough offense for pitcher Eryn McCoy, who was perfect through three innings before Sequoia’s Allison Amaya broke up the quest for perfection with a one-out double in the bottom of the fourth inning.
McCoy worked four innings before giving way to Tori Pierucci, who pitched an uneventful fifth inning.
“I thought [McCoy] was super today,” Metheany said. “I was calling five different pitches.”
Hillsdale’s junior left fielder Sharona Mataele, a three-year varsity player, did a bulk of the damage for the Knights. She hit the ball hard all four times she came to the plate, stroking a two-run double in the top of the first inning and adding a run-scoring double in the third. In the fourth, she smoked a line drive, but Sequoia second baseman Bailey Killmon robbed her as she climbed the ladder to make the catch and then threw to first to complete a double play.
Metheany said Mataele has been locked in all season thus far.
“She had a really big hit against the Wilcox girl. She had a triple against Homestead. I expect a lot out of Sharona,” Metheany said. “Last year, she lost a little bit of confidence. I think she just refocused (this season).”
Hillsdale leadoff hitter Riley Wells, the only senior starter on the team, had a strong game, reaching base three times, scoring twice and driving in a pair of runs with a single in the third. Lauren Quirke went 3 for 3 and reached base in all four of her plate appearances, scoring twice, driving in a run and doubling. Kelly Miller also reached base in all four of her at-bats, going 3 for 3 with a double, a RBI and two runs scored.
McCoy helped her own cause at the plate, drawing a pair of walks to go along with two singles and three runs scored.
“We hit the ball all over the yard,” Metheany said. “We can do that. We were sharp at the plate.”
The Knights figure to challenge for the PAL Bay Division title again this year, and with a young, yet experienced team, they figure to be poised to do just that.
“I have about six girls who have played 60 (career high school) games and they’re only juniors,” Metheany said. “We can compete with anybody.”
The Knights will find out just how good they really are when they face defending Bay Division champion Carlmont in Belmont Thursday.
Sequoia, on the other hand, appears to be in a bit of a rebuilding mode this season after graduating six starters from last year’s squad and starting just a pair of seniors this season — pitcher Gina Rodriguez and catcher Jackie Hutchinson.
“We have a lot of turnover,” Reynick said. “But we still think we’re better than we showed today.”