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‘Jackets softball advance to quarterfinals
Hilmar 10-run rules Mariposa in first round
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Madison Aguiniga of Hilmar High pitched a complete game on Monday against Mariposa in a 12-2 mercy-rule victory and struck out nine, gave up no earned runs on four hits allowed (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

The Hilmar High varsity softball team is back where they were last year in the postseason after capturing a first-round mercy-rule win over No. 6 Mariposa on Monday in the Division-V Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs that ended in the fifth inning, 12-2.

“Mariposa has got a good hitting team… we knew they could hit the ball,” said head coach Paul Willis. “We just knew we had to keep them off base as much as possible. We gave them a couple; we had a couple mistakes and they capitalized. That is the type of team they are, you give them chances and they capitalize and it is what they did.”

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Hilmar’s Madison Steelman rounds third base during Monday’s first round of the Division-V Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

The errors from Hilmar resulted in two unearned runs—the only runs scored for Mariposa.

The score was 1-1 heading into the third inning.

Hilmar added a run in the bottom of the third to go up 2-1 after Cheyann Hughes leveled an RBI double that scored Gen Fontes.

Mariposa tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fourth after scoring an unearned run after an error occurred by Hilmar’s defense.

In the bottom of the fourth the floodgates opened.

Hilmar went on to rally with a 10-run inning that put them up 12-2 heading into the fifth inning.

That inning saw an array of hits that began with a Kaydence Alvey, who smacked a two-run triple to make it 4-2.

Fontes then hit an RBI single to extend the lead to 5-2.

Hughes followed with a two-run triple to make it 7-2.

Hughes then scored on an RBI from Morgan Amarante to make it 8-2.

Sophia Alamo hit a two-run triple to make it 10-2 then Alvey, once again, in the same inning, hit an RBI single that made it 11-2.

Fontes ended the scoring frenzy with an RBI single to make it 12-2.

Hilmar starter Madison Aguiniga pitched a complete game and didn’t allow a single earned run after going five innings and striking out nine, while giving up no walks and four hits.

Aguiniga also struck out two of the final three outs in the fifth.

“It was exactly what you expect from the girls,” said Willis. “They hit the ball hard and good things happen and the inning continued from there and we batted around. You may look at the box score at 12-2 and say we really won but it was 2-2 going into that inning. So that one inning is a huge inning for us. I told the girls that the hits are contagious and that fourth inning was crazy. We were not just getting singles, a few triples and doubles and a couple of big hits in there in the bottom of the order.”

Hilmar’s record is currently 18-9 overall.

Fontes was 4-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored. Hughes was 2-for-3 with three RBI, a double and triple. Gabriella Segars was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Sophia Alamo was 3-for-3 with an RBI, a single, double and triple and was a home-run away from hitting for the cycle. Alvey was 2-for-3 with a triple and three RBI.

“They didn’t make mistakes, we just hit the ball,” said Willis. “We made some mistakes, which we need to clean up. Here in playoffs if you get someone that team will capitalize and that is just the way it is. We have to play a little cleaner, but Madi on the mound limited the damage. If we make a mistake, we limit the damage and we can hit.”

Last year, Hilmar was 20-9 overall and reached the Section Championship game as the No. 5 seed.

They got there by winning their first-round game and then losing the second-round game only to secure back-to-back wins in the consolation bracket to reach the finale against Escalon where they lost 6-0.

Hilmar’s next game will be against No. 2 Linden on the road from Arnaiz Softball Complex at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

“To me it does not matter because we are just happy to be moving on to the second round,” Willis added. “We will be ready for them, and we are in double elimination now. So, we are guaranteed at least two more games. It is all we want; we want to compete.”