The Half Moon Bay High baseball team capped what coach Steve Terraszas called “a huge turnaround” by celebrating a league championship on its home field on Tuesday afternoon. One year after enduring repeated struggles en route to a 7-19 record, the Cougars secured the outright Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division title with a 6-1 victory over Westmoor.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for these kids,” said Terraszas, whose program secured the championship with one game remaining. “I certainly didn’t expect to get 20 wins, and hopefully another.”
No one could have foreseen such a dramatic improvement from last season, when an inexperienced Cougar squad finished 3-11 in the upper PAL Bay Division, earning a demotion to the Ocean this year (alongside 0-14 Woodside).
This year, Half Moon Bay (20-6, 12-1 PAL Ocean) quickly gained confidence with its strong start, including non-league victories over Terra Nova and Sacred Heart Prep, and then reeled of 10 straight wins to begin the Ocean season.
“It’s a lot sweeter to know the kids bought in this year,” Terraszas said, “and we did it our way.”
Half Moon Bay’s league title is its first since 2008, when the Cougars shared the Ocean crown with Carlmont and Terra Nova.
In Tuesday’s clincher, Julian Garcia (7-2) hurled a complete-game two-hitter to stifle Westmoor (9-16, 4-9). The senior right-hander, who allowed one earned run, struck out seven, issued no walks and hit three batters in an efficient performance.
Junior shortstop Alex Jenkins (3-for-3) reached base four times and drove in two runs. Freshman center fielder Brett Berghammer (2-for-4) tripled and added two RBIs.
Half Moon Bay had already clinched a spot in the Central Coast Section playoffs—it entered Tuesday knowing it would finish with no worse than a co-Ocean championship with Capuchino, and the league’s top two finishers earn automatic postseason bids—and now the Cougars can begin their CCS preparations in earnest.
Terraszas is eager to see how his club responds in the single-elimination tournament against top teams.
“The competition will definitely step up for us, but I think we have a shot,” said the second-year coach, whose team finishes the regular season at Westmoor on Thursday. “We have good pitching, and we’ll go as far as our pitching will take us.”
Half Moon Bay, No. 10 in , will learn its opening-round matchup in Division III when the brackets are announced on Saturday. The first round is May 18-19.