El Estoque

Softball: Matadors enact mercy rule, secure 10-0 victory

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Players meet on 25.

Players meet on 25.

Players meet on 25.

Alina Abidi

Senior Tamanna Ahluwalia pitches to Mission San Jose High School on March 25. Ahluwalia, player of the game, threw a shutout in the 10-0 game. Photo by Pranav Iyer

Senior Tamanna Ahluwalia pitches to Mission San Jose High School on March 25. Ahluwalia, player of the game, threw a shutout in the 10-0 game. Photo by Pranav Iyer

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n softball, the mercy rule dictates that a game is cut short when one team is ahead ten runs in five innings. Five innings into their game against Mission San Jose High School, the Matadors were up 10-0. The game was over.

Before senior Tamanna Ahluwalia faced MSJHS on March 25, she was nervous. The Warriors were not in their league, and like the rest of her softball team, she didn’t know what to expect.

“[Coach Ray Teixeira] knows a lot of the teams we play and I like looking at their stats before,” she said.

Five innings, ten MVHS runs and zero Warrior runs later,  Ahluwalia wasn’t completely satisfied.

“It was good when I struck a lot of people out, but I’m kind of a perfectionist,” she said. “I still need to work on my location.”

Ahluwalia began the game by striking out three players. One MSJHS player was stranded at third base, and ten minutes into the game, the lopsided victory that would follow was not yet apparent.

The Matadors racked up quick runs in the first inning after an RBI single batted by sophomore Kaitlynn Yamauchi and 2-RBI single from freshman Sara Nordby.

“Across the board we’ve been hitting a lot better,” Nordby said. “We’ve tightened up our defense as well.”

After more strikeouts thrown by Ahluwalia, the score remained 3-0 and it was MVHS’ turn at bat. With the bases loaded, junior Maddy Marten walked in an RBI and brought the Matadors up to four runs. Ahluwalia stepped up to bat next, doing double duty and batting a 2-RBI single of her own. Senior Emily Simmons followed with a 2-RBI double, bringing the score up to 8-0.

Senior Janaye Sakkas, fresh off of two Powderpuff touchdowns the same day, pinch-ran as sophomore Amanda Chan batted an RBI single and put the Matadors ahead 9-0.

Seniors Katie Sommers and Arushi Agarwala, field hockey teammates of Sakkas, cheered ardently for the senior whenever she was on the field, and even when she wasn’t. During the random bursts of support (“#5, you make me feel alive!” Agarwala said) Sommers noticed the score.

“We were up eight!” she said, surprised, looking through the fence at the scoreboard while it changed from eight to nine. “I thought it was 0-0.”

The Warriors then hit a ball over the shed and it crashed on to the concrete as baseball players walked by. The next ball also flew over the shed, and this time, the baseball players gathered around, pushing each other to catch the ball as they caught a few minutes of the game.

Marten scored another RBI single, bringing the score to 10-0 and fulfilling half of the mercy rule. But there were still two whole innings to go.

Photos by Pranav Iyer

Nordby noted that the team played especially strong considering they played with fewer returning players than usual.

“It wasn’t our starting lineup,” Nordby said. “It wasn’t all of our seniors and all of our juniors, but we still showed that we were talented. That was good.”

Teixeira explained that he knew nothing about the team before the Wednesday afternoon, but that they emailed him looking for a game and he had an extra spot on the team’s busy calendar. He prepared the team for a generic opponent, and they came out on top.

“I gave some kids from the bench some time and they were able to execute,” he said. “They played well.”

According to Alhuwahli, with the newer players on the field, communication was especially important, and talking before every out was vital.

As the score remained stagnant, the bleachers, which were populated with alumni on Spring Break in addition to the usual parents, reconnected as they chatted about college.

The team huddles between innings on March 25. MVHS defeated Mission San Jose High School 10-0 in five innings. Photo by Pranav Iyer

The team huddles between innings on March 25. MVHS defeated Mission San Jose High School 10-0 in five innings. Photo by Pranav Iyer

Sakkas jokingly put on a glove between innings and practiced catching.

“Get in the glove, Janaye!” Sommers said.

Sakkas didn’t react.

“She pretends not to hear us, because she likes to seem cool.”

Neither team scored in the remaining two innings, and after the fifth inning came to a close, both teams shook hands and filed into their dugouts.

Teixeira explained that the mercy rule arises a few times a year, and that the score could be even worse. Three years ago, when this year’s seniors had just joined the team, they were defeated 16-1.

“It’s about controlling the game,” Teixeira said. “It doesn’t have to get out of hand. We’re going to win, so there’s no need to score more than what we scored.”

The Matadors’ next home game is April 3 at 4:00 p.m. against Lynbrook High School.