Mustangs Capitalize on Errors in CCS Opener

Mustangs Pounded by Salinas, Can't Clinch Title

Patty Olvera allowed three hits and struck out six as Gilroy
High took advantage of three Piedmont Hills errors for a 3-1
victory in Wednesday’s first-round Central Coast Section playoff
game at Salinas Sports Complex.
By Mark Powell Special to the Dispatch

Gilroy – Patty Olvera allowed three hits and struck out six as Gilroy High took advantage of three Piedmont Hills errors for a 3-1 victory in Wednesday’s first-round Central Coast Section playoff game at Salinas Sports Complex.

All three Mustang runs came in the second inning thanks in part to two defensive miscues by Piedmont Hills and singles from Yolanda Esquivel and Alicia Reese.

Gilroy plays No. 3-seeded Lynbrook (18-3) at 10am Saturday in the semifinals.

“We learned quickly we’re going to have to score every inning in our next game,” said Gilroy coach Catharine Hallada. “We can’t just do it all in one inning.”

The third Piedmont Hills error came in the sixth inning on a muffed ground ball by shortstop Renne Mayfield, but the play yielded no runs.

Reese was the only player from either team with more than one hit, going 2-for-3 with two singles for the sixth-seeded Mustangs.

“The girls know that was the first round,” Hallada said. “Anything after this we’re going to have to make our own hits and our own RBIs and not rely on errors by the other team, which we can do.”

Olvera, who tossed a one-hit shutout against Alisal High in the regular season finale a week ago, went the distance for Gilroy, walking none and retiring 13 of 21 batters on ground balls.

“I know I have a really good defense, so even little groundouts I’m totally OK with,” Olvera said. “I’ve got a good defense. I’m really more of a ground-ball pitcher than a strikeout pitcher.”

Trailing 3-0 in the sixth inning, Julia Ortega doubled down the left-field line for Piedmont Hills and later scored on a deep double to left-center by Ashley Bell. With Bell on second base, Olvera struck out Jenina Ortega to end the Pirate rally.

Olvera retired 12 of 13 batters at one point, including nine consecutively during the second through fourth innings.

“I think (Olvera) did a great job,” Hallada said. “She was definitely was hitting her spots. I think she fooled them.”

Hallada said that she didn’t know much about Lynbrook High, Gilroy’s opponent for Saturday.

“We do our best not to look into the other teams and their record,” she said. “We know they are a good team and we’re going into it kind of blindsided, but we’re just going to play our game and hopefully we can win.”

Kylie Herrada and Jasmine Perrez both went 1-for-3 for the Mustangs, hitting singles.

“Gilroy is a good team,” said Piedmont Hills coach Willi Lopez. “They hit right off the bat. When they hit right off the bat, that’s a warning sign right there.”

Lopez acknowledged his team’s poor defensive play and lack of clutch hitting kept a close game from being even closer.

“It was the errors,” Lopez said. “Our pitching wasn’t bad. We just couldn’t get some hits when we needed them.”

Lopez added, “Gilroy is a good team. They’re beatable, though – we just weren’t up to it.”

Gilroy junior catcher Brittany Balanesi said that the Mustangs have a shot to continue their winning ways as the playoffs progress.

“We’re just going to have to stay as a team and everyone is going to have to come out giving 110 percent every game,” Balanesi said.

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