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May 17, 2011 > HAAL baseball, softball seasons nearing end

HAAL baseball, softball seasons nearing end

By Gary van den Heuvel
Photo by Mike Heightchew

Several crucial showdowns and do-or-die scenarios played out as the Hayward Area Athletic League (HAAL) baseball season neared its end. At the start of last week, five teams were jockeying for position at the top of the standings. By the end of the week, absolutely nothing had been settled.

Moreau Catholic High School stayed alive with a tight 3-2 win at Mount Eden High School (May 12). Aaron Acosta pitched 6 strong innings for the win. Reliever Daniel Aguirre pitched the seventh inning and gave the Mariners a scare when he loaded the bases by hitting three Monarch batters, but he was able to get out of the inning unscathed to pick up the save.

Moreau was led by two-hit games from Brian Hickel (a run scored and a double) and Richard L'Heureux (RBI). Edwin Alvarenga (2 hits, RBI) and David Contreras (a double, run, and an RBI) starred at the plate for Mt. Eden, and Andrew Tamaru kept the Monarchs in the game with his effective pitching performance.

The loss to Moreau knocked Mt. Eden (7-4 in league play) out of HAAL contention, and in an ironic turn, the Monarchs bounced back to upset the suddenly faltering Bishop O'Dowd Dragons, 5-3, on the road (May 13). David Contreras notched the complete-game win for the Monarchs, who pushed two runs across in the top of the seventh to break a 3-3 tie. Dylan LaCombe launched a two-run homer in Mt. Eden's three-run second inning. Michael Robinson tripled and scored a run in the win.

Moreau's win over Mt. Eden locked the Mariners in a three-way tie for second place, along with Arroyo and O'Dowd. Each team has identical 8-3 HAAL records, and they all trail the hard-charging Castro Valley Trojans, who won at Arroyo 7-5 to take over first place, by a half-game (Castro Valley is 8-2).

There is certain to be a lot of scoreboard-watching this week. Moreau finishes up the regular season by hosting last place Tennyson on May 19. The Lancers are winless in the HAAL and last week took an 18-1 nonleague beating by Miramonte. The Mariners will need some help, and will be rooting for sixth-place San Leandro to upend Castro Valley this week. Moreau's co-tenants at second place, Arroyo and O'Dowd, finish their seasons with Mt. Eden (May 17, at Arroyo), and eighth place Hayward (May 17, at O'Dowd).

On the softball diamond, Moreau's hopes of a league title came to an end in an 8-1 loss to Castro Valley (May 11). Pitcher Alyssa Castillo was overmatched by the Trojan bats, who broke a 1-1 tie with seven runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Jessica Marin had two doubles and scored the Mariners' lone run.

Moreau were able to take out their frustrations in a 19-0 win over Mt. Eden. The Mariners scored 12 runs in the first inning, and for the Monarchs, the fifth inning (when the game was ended by the 10-run mercy rule) couldn't come quickly enough. Shelby Long really only needed one of Moreau's runs, as she held the Monarchs at bay, striking out 10 in her complete game win. Lighting up the scoreboard for the Mariners was Kyralyn Kawasaki (homer, double, 2 RBIs), Rebecca Quintero (3 hits, run, 3 RBIs), Kayla Richard (2 hits, 2 runs, RBI) and Amanda Martin (triple, 3 runs, RBI).

Hayward High School won't be seeing any postseason action but the Farmers took advantage of the opportunity to feast on winless Mt. Eden, winning a 26-20 rainmaker early in the week. The roll call of Hayward mashers included Priscilla Carbajal (homerun, double, 4 runs, 7 RBIs), Erin Muhammad (HR, double, 3 R, 5 RBIs), Brianna Thompson (4 R, RBI), Reena Patel (3 hits, 3 R, RBI) and Alexia George (3 runs).

Arroyo's 13-3 thumping of previously unbeaten (in the HAAL) Castro Valley on May 13 left both teams with 10-1 records. If both teams win their final league game, Arroyo would get the automatic bid to the North Coast Section playoffs due to their second-half win over the Trojans. Moreau (7-4) will finish their season on the road with a battle for third place against Bishop O'Dowd (6-5) on May 17.

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