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March 25, 2009 > HAAL baseball roundup

HAAL baseball roundup

By Gary van den Heuvel

The bad news first: it hasn't been the most auspicious of starts for the four high school baseball teams representing Hayward schools. With a combined pre-season nonleague record of 3-15, those four teams - Mt. Eden, Tennyson, Hayward and Moreau - may already find themselves behind the 8-ball in the highly competitive Hayward Area Athletic League (HAAL). But the beauty of nonleague games, is that, well, they just don't count on a team's record once the league season begins.

Now the good news: there are signs of life for at least one of these teams, namely the Mt. Eden Monarchs, who at week's end find themselves with a 2-1 HAAL record, tied for third with Castro Valley (both Bishop O'Dowd and San Leandro are the early co-leaders with 3-0 records) - although Castro Valley did hand the Monarchs their HAAL loss in the league opener for both teams, a 7-1 throttling on March 13.

The Monarchs climbed into that relatively lofty perch with two wins last week, the first an 11-1 road beating of Moreau. Besides the obvious bat strength of Mt. Eden's offense, the Monarchs were led by Stephen LaCombe's masterful pitching. But speaking of the batting, sophomore Edwin Alvarenga had two hits and a two-run homer; David Contreras and Justin Ruiz contributed two hits each.

Mt. Eden's momentum continued with a 5-1 home victory over Tennyson, who fell to 0-3 in league (2-5 overall). Earlier in the week, Tennyson had fallen behind, 7-0, after three innings to Bishop O'Dowd, but fought back to make it competitive, in large part due to the performances of Juan Lua (two hits, including a double and two RBI) and Teejay Ner's 2-4 performance with two runs scored).

The Hayward Farmers, who were winless in the preseason, continued that unfortunate trend with a 12-2 loss in their league opener to O'Dowd, followed by an 8-2 defeat by San Leandro. But the third time seemed to be a charm for Hayward High in a 4-1 home victory over Castro Valley. Jalen Hallman pitched a gem of a complete game, striking out four to allow the Farmers to get the losing monkey off their backs. Jesse Sepulveda drove in two runs and Andres Duran contributed an RBI as well as two hits for the victorious Farmers (1-2 HAAL, 1-8 overall).

Moreau has yet to post a win in either nonleague or HAAL action. Following their loss to Mt. Eden, the Mariners (0-3 HAAL, 0-7 overall) were edged by Castro Valley 2-1 on Friday, March 20.

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