The 2018 spring season will never be forgotten by the Hilmar High softball team.
The Yellowjackets, who were the No. 5 seed in the Division-V Sac-Joaquin Section tournament, are advancing to the Championship game against No. 1 Escalon after a remarkable run on Thursday that saw them win back-to-back elimination games.
Hilmar lost to No. 1 Escalon, 9-1, on Wednesday then they followed up with winning consecutive games on the same afternoon.
First, they beat Hughson for the second time in three meetings, 9-5, setting up a semifinal and win or go home scenario against Linden.
Hilmar won that game, 8-4, which catapulted them into the section finale on Saturday, in a Trans Valley League rematch.
“The team is excited, you never talk about the next game or playing in the championship, mainly playing at hand,” said Hilmar head coach Paul Willis. “The excitement was there that we are playing for the Section title game since Escalon, which is such a great team.”
Willis said that the reality of the situation hasn’t set in yet, mainly because what they hope to accomplish is still in the air.
Hilmar has won seven of its last eight games heading into Saturday’s final.
They also become the fourth team from Hilmar High to reach the Section championship game in one year. The others were football, girls volleyball and girls soccer so far.
Against Hughson, the Huskies went up 3-0 in the first inning, then the Yellowjackets responded and never looked back, outscoring the Huskies 9-2 to win the game.
“Then we had the whole idea of never give up,” said Willis. “We just battled and good things happen when you play hard for seven innings. I think the reality set in with what they accomplished and they still have work to do.”
Madison Aguiniga pitched both games for Hilmar and helped assist the ‘Jackets in earning the berth to play in the finale.
“Madison pitched both games, when you get in that situation you get what you get and go into the losers’ bracket, but she did good… she stepped up and did a great job for us,” said Willis.
Against Linden, Hilmar carried their momentum and scored five runs in the first two innings alone.
By the fifth inning, Hilmar led 8-2 and they were able to fend off the offense of Linden.
“The never give up attitude showed a lot last night… the whole idea of never give up and we just battled,” said Willis. “It was quite a night, needless to say, beating two quality teams in Hughson and Linden.”
Hilmar’s current record stands at 20-8 and they will take on Escalon who is 20-7 from Arnaiz Softball Complex in Stockton at noon Saturday.