The Score: Santa Cruz 12, HMB 1.
The Star: Santa Cruz High starter Dominic Elkin shut down Half Moon Bay’s offense in the Central Coast Section Division III semifinals on Tuesday night. The right-hander first took the mound with a 4-0 lead in hand and pitched confidently throughout, hurling a complete-game three-hitter at San Jose Municipal Stadium to send the Cougars (23-7) to a season-ending defeat. For Half Moon Bay, freshman Brett Berghammer followed up a five-RBI showing in a quarterfinal win over Soquel by going 2-for-3 with a triple and scoring his team’s lone run.
The Turning Point: Fifth-seeded Half Moon Bay surrendered a grand slam to fall behind 4-0 before it first came to the plate, and the Cougars never recovered. No. 8 seed Santa Cruz (15-14) loaded the bases with one out, and then Ti DeMeo crushed a 2-2 changeup from Julian Garcia over the leftfield wall. Half Moon Bay didn’t manage a hit until Berghammer’s leadoff triple in the fourth – he then scored on junior Alex Jenkins’ ensuing groundout – and never got in sync against Elkin.
The Quote: “I didn’t expect it. I actually thought we’d win that. After the way we played Saturday, and we had our best (pitcher) going, I thought we’d come out and be the team to play Saturday. … I don’t think anybody expected the PAL Ocean team to get this far, that’s for sure. … (We) just kind of ran out of gas at the end here.” – Half Moon Bay coach Steve Terraszas, on his thoughts about his team’s season-ending defeat.
What’s Next? A promising future. The Cougars have many reasons to be excited about 2012 and beyond. With a freshman (Berghammer) batting leadoff and a sophomore (Peter Bacich) hitting cleanup, Half Moon Bay streaked to the Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division title at 13-1 and advanced to the program’s third CCS semifinal. The Cougars need to replace the considerable contributions of No. 1 and 2 pitchers Garcia and David Moody next year, but Jenkins and Berghammer should benefit from having logged valuable innings.
The Bottom Line: Half Moon Bay capped a season to remember with a forgettable finale. The Cougars were outplayed by a wide margin in all facets. The wheels came off with four errors down the stretch and then Santa Cruz’s six-run seventh. But while Half Moon Bay fell short of advancing to the program’s second CCS final (and first since 1988), the Cougars certainly bow out holding their heads high. They were the only PAL program to reach the semifinals – although it’s not a true comparison because the league’s four Bay Division representatives played in Divisions I and II – and one of just two of the PAL’s six CCS representatives to win a postseason game (and they won two).
Santa Cruz 12, Half Moon Bay 1
SC – 400 200 6 – 12 14 1
HMB – 000 100 0 – 1 3 4
WP: Elkin. LP: Garcia.
HR: DeMeo (SC). 3B: Berghammer (HMB). 2B: Adams, Colombini (SC).
2 hits: Berghammer (HMB); Delucchi, Bettar, Colombini, DeMeo, Roubal, Levy-Richards (SC). 4 RBI: DeMeo (SC). 2 RBI: Ferguson, Colombini (SC).
Records: Santa Cruz 15-14. Half Moon Bay 23-7.