Daily Journal Sports File
Half Moon Bay freshman Ally Sarabia has done a stellar job taking over for the graduated
Lyndsay Klimenko. Sarabia is 20-6 this season and has helped lead the Cougars back to the CCS semifinals.
In 2013, the Half Moon Bay softball team was making just its second appearance in five years in the Central Coast Section and, behind the pitching of Lyndsay Klimenko, the Cougars advanced all the way to the Division III title game, falling to Notre Dame-Salinas.
With Klimenko having moved on to Cal State Bakersfield, the biggest question facing Half Moon Bay this season was who would take over in the pitcher’s circle.
The rest of the lineup appeared set. Despite having just two seniors and four juniors, the Cougars brought back four sophomores who saw significant playing time as freshmen, along with four more freshmen.
Anyone who follows softball knows, however, a team will only go as far as its pitching will take them.
So who did coach Deanna Rocha Towers tab to take over for the all-league Klimenko? A freshman, naturally. Ally Sarabia may be in her first year at the high school level, but has looked anything but this season. Sarabia pitched 163 of 180 innings for the Cougars this season, compiling a record of 20-6 in 27 appearances, with a 2.06 ERA, helping the Cougars to a 20-7 record overall and a 10-4 mark in the Peninsula Athletic League’s Bay Division and an automatic bid to CCS, where they received the No. 4 seed in the Division III tournament.
Sarabia was lights-out in her CCS debut against Castilleja May 21, holding the Gators to just two runs on two hits in a 12-2 Half Moon Bay win. In the quarterfinals against Notre Dame-Belmont Saturday, the Tigers squared her up a little more, pounding out 11 hits, but Sarabia held them to just three runs in an 8-3 Half Moon Bay victory.
Sarabia has been just as impactful in the Cougars’ batting order. She’s batted .356 on the season and is third on the team in RBIs with 20.
She and the rest of her Half Moon Bay teammates will face their toughest test of the season when they face top-seeded Santa Catalina in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday at PAL Stadium in San Jose.
This is the fourth straight season Santa Catalina has been the No. 1 seed in Division III. Santa Catalina — also nicknamed the Cougars — captured the 2012 title, but fell in the semifinals last year to Notre Dame-Salinas — which crushed Half Moon Bay in the 2013 final, 14-1.
Santa Catalina was one of only three teams in the seven-team Mission Trail Athletic League to finish with a winning overall record in 2014, which currently stands at 18-4-1 following Saturday’s 8-3 win over No. 8 Carmel. It was a win that ran their unbeaten streak to 13 in a row. The only blemish on Santa Catalina’s record over the last two months is a 3-3 tie with Gregori-Modesto April 26.
If nothing else, Santa Catalina can swing it. As a team, Santa Catalina is batting .367. A pair of sophomores, Marissa Bruno and Tatumn Satow, are batting .512 and .500, respectively. But it’s a couple of seniors who drive the offense. Chase Lee Hong has 30 RBIs on the season, while Rene Kausin has driven in 26. Satow has 23 RBIs on the season.
Santa Catalina is not too shabby in the pitcher’s circle either, with a team ERA of 2.30. Its two main pitchers, however, allow less than two runs per outing. Sophomore Lauren Garcia has been the team’s workhorse, throwing 110 innings this year, compiling a 14-4 record in 21 appearances this season, posting an ERA of 1.97. Satow went 4-0 in nine appearances.
No. 3 Hillsdale (21-7) vs. No. 2 Pioneer (23-4), 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at PAL Stadium
The Knights got off to a bit of slow start against Presentation in their quarterfinal game Saturday, mustering two hits through the first three innings.
Over the final three, however, they teed off on Presentation pitching, rapping out eight hits and scoring eight runs to post an 11-2 victory.
Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit for Hillsdale, with Riley Wells and Eryn McCoy each having a pair. Seven of the nine starters drove in a run, led by Sharona Mataele and McCoy, who each drove in two. Seven of the nine starters also scored a run, with Megan Wells, Riley Wells, Lauren Quirke and McCoy all scoring twice.
Pioneer had just as easy a time in dispatching No. 10 Westmont 10-3 in its quarterfinal game.
The Mustangs have a team batting average of .322 this season, with a staff ERA of 1.09.
Freshman pitcher Holly Azevedo has been virtually unhittable this season in posting a 22-4 record with a 0.75 ERA. In 130 innings, Azevedo has allowed only 58 hits and 14 earned runs, while striking out 181 and walking just 27.