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May 10, 2011 > HAAL diamond update

HAAL diamond update

By Gary van den Heuvel

It seems fitting that during Kentucky Derby week, the Hayward Area Athletic League (HAAL) baseball season suddenly became a horserace. Coming down the stretch, five contenders find themselves separated by one game as they make a final mad sprint for the roses.

The major development of the week, which sent waves of hope through the HAAL, was the unexpected unraveling of Bishop O'Dowd High School, who lost twice - their first league defeats this season. The Dragons' bats were dormant in losses to Castro Valley (5-2) and Arroyo (7-2). The Arroyo loss knocked O'Dowd out of the league lead - they're now in a flat-footed tie for first with Arroyo, both teams sporting 7-2 HAAL records.

Moreau Catholic High School had a busy week, but squandered a chance to leapfrog both O'Dowd and Arroyo in the standings. The Mariners started the week by taking care of business against San Lorenzo, 6-4. Larry Maya had two hits including a homerun, scored twice and drove in one on the solo dinger. Brian Hickel (RBI and a double) and Ronald Zelaya (Run, RBI) also had two-hit games in the win.

Cinco de Mayo was not a festive day for the Mariners, who couldn't hold off the hot Castro Valley Trojans. Moreau tied the game 2-2 in the fourth inning, but the Trojans responded with four in the bottom of the fourth before coasting to a 7-3 win.

Moreau's offense reawakened in a 10-7 win at Tennyson High School (May 6). Daniel Aguirre put up the really big numbers, stroking four hits, scoring three runs and driving in two. Hickel had another two-hit game, scoring twice and driving in one, as did Michael Temple (2 RBIs, Run) and Richard L'Heureux (Run).

At week's end, the Mariners are tantalizingly close to the top of the standings - they're a half-game out of first with a 7-3 record, but are still staring up at three teams. Castro Valley's surging week put them at 6-2, also a half-game behind O'Dowd and Arroyo, in sole possession of third place as the Trojans lead Moreau by percentage points.

In fifth place, a whopping one game out of first place themselves, are the Mount Eden Monarchs (6-3 league record), who jumped back into the HAAL fray with a fruitful week, notching three wins, with two of those victories coming in league contests. The Monarchs out-batted Tennyson 9-7 early in the week, scoring two runs each in the third, fourth and fifth innings, and three in the sixth. Dylan Lacombe was the winning pitcher, giving up three runs in six innings and striking out five. Pablo Magallones had two hits and scored twice for Tennyson.

Mt. Eden continued to hit the ball solidly, punching out San Lorenzo High 7-1. Andrew Tamaru picked up the win, and delivered with the bat as well (2 hits, 2 runs, 2 RBIs). Edwin Alvarenga had three knocks and two RBIs. Mt. Eden continued their roll late in the week with a 6-0 non-league win over San Mateo.

At this point, every game still counts, but each team will likely need help from their rivals to keep their hopes for an HAAL championship alive. Moreau's two remaining league games come on May 12 at Mt. Eden and May 19 at home against last-place Tennyson. Mt. Eden is in a position to not only play spoiler but could sneak into the league lead if the cards fall just right; following the showdown with Moreau, the Monarchs will get their shot at the two top dogs: at Bishop O'Dowd (May 13), and will finish the regular season at Arroyo (May 17).

Moreau Catholic's softball team remained in contention - but just barely. The Mariners split their two games last week and at 6-3 trail first place Castro Valley (9-0) by three games. Second place Arroyo (8-1) may have put the kibosh on Moreau's title hopes with an 11-3 whipping of the Mariners (May 4). Shelby Long, who struggled on the mound against Arroyo, bounced back at the plate in Moreau's 8-1 win over San Leandro. Long had three hits, scored three runs, and drove in three runs. Her teammate Alyssa Castillo was stellar on the mound, striking out nine. Castillo also homered and drove in three. Kyralyn Kawasaki contributed two hits and scored two runs.

Moreau will need to run the table, finishing the season at Castro Valley (May 10), a home game against Mt. Eden (May 12), and a roadie at Bishop O'Dowd (May 17). The Mariners will also need some help - now would be an ideal time for Castro Valley to start playing like mere mortals, but the Trojans have shown no indication that that is likely to happen.

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