The third seed Hilmar High softball team opened up the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs with a statement win against sixth seed Summerville High. It took five innings for the Yellowjackets to secure the 13-3 win after the game was called early due to the 10-run rule.
“We expect the girls to come out and play well every time,” said the assistant head coach Justin Steelman. “Every time they show up on the field, they surprise us with something. They came out swinging the bat and scoring runs early, when we score early, we’re used to coming out on top.”
It couldn’t have been a better start for pitcher Jenna Gomes, who put three batters away with four pitches. The Yellowjacket bats also got off with a hot start beginning with a double by Jayme Soares. She was brought home off of a double hit by Camryn Mattos. Abigail Blevins kept the pressure on with an RBI single, and Emily Cogswell hit an RBI triple to give the Yellowjackets a 3-0 lead after one.
“Anytime you could go up early it makes a huge difference,” said Steelman. “It relaxes your pitcher, giving her some run support, it settles her down to throw strikes.”
After giving up one run in the top of the second, Hilmar kept their bats hot with two runs scored of their own. One came off an error with another RBI from Mattos.
After three straight strikeouts by Gomes, the Yellowjackets added three more runs in the third. Soares had one of the best hits of the game with a two RBI double into right field.
Summerville started getting some momentum in the fourth and found a sweet spot hitting the ball into right field. They were able to score two runs in the inning to make the score 8-3. Hilmar never let them get back into the game though when they scored four runs off of RBIs by Madison Johnston and Lorelai Parreia to make the score 12-3.
Knowing they had to score one more run to win the game, the Yellowjackets got a runner in scoring position in the fifth. With two outs, Nicole Teixeira hit one into center field to bring her in and walk away with the victory.
Hilmar finished this season with a 10-2 record in league play which earned them a second-place finish in the Trans Valley League. Their quarterfinals take place on Thursday and will be on the road against second seed Linden.
“We have to have a great practice tomorrow, work hard and get ready for Thursday,” said Steelman. “It doesn’t matter if we’re on the road or at home. As long as we show up to play, we’ll be good.”