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Taking the next step: Hillsdale has made semifinals two of the last three years
May 24, 2014, 05:00 AM By Nathan Mollat Daily Journal

Daily Journal Sports File
Hillsdale’s Sharona Mataele takes a pitch off the back of her knee during a game against Capuchino earlier this season. The Knights will need to take advantage of every opportunity they get if they are to advance all the way to the CCS Division II championship game. They must first beat Presentation in a quartefinal game Saturday morning at Hawes Park.

The Hillsdale softball team has won three Central Coast Section titles in the program’s history: in 1983, 1990 and 1991, all under Randy Metheany, who stepped down as coach in the mid 1990s.

Metheany returned to helm the softball team prior to the 2008 season and the Knights have once again become one of the top programs in CCS.

The only thing missing, however, is a fourth CCS championship. Chalk it up to playing in arguably the toughest division in CCS, Division II, which has been dominated in recent memory by Mitty.

The Knights won’t face Mitty unless they make it to the finals — which they haven’t accomplished in Metheany’s second go-around with Hillsdale.

Before Hillsdale can even begin thinking about Mitty, however, the Knights have a matchup 10 a.m. Saturday at Hawes Park in Redwood City against another West Catholic Athletic League team in Presentation.

Hillsdale, the No. 3 seed, boasts a 20-7 record in 2014, the fourth time in five years the Knights have won at least 20 games. As a team, the Knights are batting .269 on the season, but that is offset by a team pitching ERA of 1.26.

Presentation, the No. 6 seed, compiled a 22-7 mark this year and are batting .346 as a team, while the Panthers pitchers are allowing just over two runs per contest.

“I went down to see them (in a tournament earlier in the season). They’re a good softball team,” Metheany said of the Panthers. “I have to expect to see a good softball team.

“There’s no patsies at this point of the season.”

If the Knights can pull out a win Saturday morning at Hawes Park in Redwood City, they would face the winner of No. 10 Westmont and No. 2 Pioneer in the semifinals next week, with the prospect of Mitty looming in the championship game.

The Knights have experienced nothing but frustration in the playoffs over the last few years. They have advanced to the semifinals three of the last four years, only to fall short of the finals. In the Division III bracket in 2010, they lost to eventual champion Valley Christian. In the Division II semifinals in 2011, they fell to Mitty, which went on to win the crown. Last year, the Knights avoided a WCAL team in the semifinals, instead losing to Mt. Pleasant.

Despite the disappointing defeats, Metheany says he’s not frustrated by them.

“I like the challenge (of playing high-caliber teams),” Metheany said. “I think you can learn things.

“I’m honored to be there (in CCS), but you want to walk away winning that last game. We have to find a way to scratch and claw more.”

With only two seniors, eight juniors and six sophomores, the Knights still have to find a way to win the big games. The only way to do that is to do that — win the big game.

“They have to know how hard it is to take that next step,” Metheany said. “They just have to prove it to themselves on the field.”

Division I

No. 1 Carlmont (24-3) vs.

No. 8 Milpitas (20-8), 2 p.m. at Hawes Park

For the second time in three years, the Scots are the top seed in the Division I bracket.

And yet the last time they were No. 1, they fell to San Benito in the 2012 championship game, denying them their eighth CCS crown.

Will this be the year Carlmont gets it done? The numbers suggest the Scots have as good a chance as any. As a team, they are batting .393, with an on-base percentage of .447. The pitching staff, meanwhile, has a team ERA of 1.68. But Rebecca Faulkner, who has thrown 128 innings this season, has posted an ERA of less than one run per game.

Milpitas has posted similar numbers, batting .366 with an on-base percentage of .413. The Trojans’ pitching is allowing just over two runs per game this season.

Milpitas advanced to the quarterfinals by virtue of a 6-5 win over No. 9 Christopher, while Carlmont had a first-round bye.

Division II

No. 8 Capuchino (17-10) vs.

No. 1 Mitty (27-1), 6 p.m. at PAL Stadium, San Jose

The Mustangs opened CCS with a convincing 10-0 win over No. 9 Monterey in the first round of the Division II tournament, but their chore becomes infinitely tougher taking on the top-ranked Monarchs.

The 10 runs scored was a season high for Capuchino, but Mitty is allowing an average of less than one run per contest.

Cal-Hi Sports ranks Mitty as the No. 2 team in the state in Division II.

Division III

No. 5 Notre Dame-Belmont (17-11) vs.

No. 4 Half Moon Bay (21-7),

noon Saturday at Hawes Park

The Tigers won their first-round game 4-1 over Pacific Grove, while the Cougars were down to Castilleja early before cruising to a 12-2 victory.

Notre Dame was 0-4 against the Peninsula Athletic League’s Bay Division this season, where Half Moon Bay finished in a tie for second this season.

The Cougars are led offensively Harlee Donovan, who leads the team with a .467 batting average and is second on the team in RBIs with 23. Kallista Leonardos has also feasted offensively this season, with a .434 batting average and a team-leading 25 RBIs.

Ally Sarabia, a freshman, has been the Cougars’ horse in the pitcher’s circle this season, compiling a 19-6 record with a 2.06 ERA.

Cal-Hi Sports has Half Moon Bay ranked No. 7 in the state in Division IV.

 

 

Tags: division, season, knights, mitty, batting, metheany,


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