No. 2-seed San Mateo rallied for six runs in the bottom of the fifth to top No. 15 North Salinas 7-1 in Friday’s Central Coast Section Division I playoff opener at College of San Mateo.
With the score deadlocked at 1-1, San Mateo (16-5) loaded the bases for senior Monet Scheller to get hit by a pitch and force home the winning run. Then junior Charlotte Velasquez stepped to the plate a lined a two-run double to left-center to stoke the game-winning rally.
Velasquez was 2 for 3 with three RBIs on the day in support of starting pitcher Sage Hager who was her usual dominant self.
After San Mateo jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI double by Giuliana Selvitella, North Salinas (13-11) answered right back. Sofia Gombos tied it up in the top of the second with a solo home run which, in the long run, seemed to help Hager more than it helped North Salinas.
“I talked to Sage and we said never again,” San Mateo head coach Alyssa Jepsen said. “And it was right back to work.”
Hager went on to set down the next 12 batters she faced. The sophomore right-hander allowed one run on three hits and a walk while striking out 10.
“Her energy was good,” Jepsen said. “And when she’s smiling, we have a good day … when she knows she has her defense behind her and we’re swinging hard on offense, good things are going to happen.”
Freshman leadoff hitter Bethany Shih also had two hits for San Mateo.
With the win, the Bearcats advance to the quarterfinals of the Division I bracket. Mateo is slated to take on No. 7 Branham Saturday at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m., weather permitting. If the forecast for rain holds true, the game will be postponed to Monday, which would benefit the Bearcats as the venue would also change to their home yard at San Mateo.
“I’m rooting for rain to get my pitcher some rest, to get my team some rest and then we’re hosting on Monday,” Jepsen said.
Friday’s game was originally scheduled for Wednesday at San Mateo, but was rescheduled due to inclement weather.