El Estoque

Softball: Despite slow start, Matadors shut out Fremont HS

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Softball: Despite slow start, Matadors shut out Fremont HS

Alina Abidi

A Homestead High School runner raced past the MVHS parents and students sitting in bleachers. Another blur of dark green and white passed the fans, then another and another, minutes before a starting pistol was heard, which was strange considering the Matadors were playing Fremont High School, and this was a softball game. The students sitting in the bleachers looked up from their phones, which they were using to Snapchat their friends about the swimming meet and baseball games taking place at the same time.

May 6 was a busy day for Matador athletics.

Amid the chaos of the track and field meet and baseball game taking place a field or two away, softball defeated Fremont High School 6-0.

MVHS’ sweeping victory was not clear from the start. In fact, four innings into the game, the team’s scores were identical — 0-0. The Matadors were yet to put a run on the board, and they knew had to change something.

Though the Matadors are at the top of their league, this game and next week’s game against Cupertino High School could determine whether or not they qualify for CCS.

“Halfway through the game, we realized that if we really don’t score, then we’re not going to win and we’re not going to go to CCS,” freshman Sara Nordby said.

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After high fiving, softball players spread out and sophomore Danielle Koontz takes her place on the pitcher’s mound on May 6. Both teams were unable to score in the first half of the game, but MVHS ultimately won 6-0.

After high fiving, softball players spread out and sophomore Danielle Koontz takes her place on the pitcher’s mound on May 6. Both teams were unable to score in the first half of the game, but MVHS ultimately won 6-0.

The Matadors knew they had to bring the dormant game back to life and they did. Junior Marissa Lee and freshman Ann Marie Manley both had quick bunts, tapping the ball into play.

Junior Leonie Vulgraff lifted her head and looked intently past the silver fence and onto the field. Vulgraff, a foreign exchange student from Germany, had never experienced high school sports and was making up for it one game at a time.

“I have been to nearly all of the football games,” Vulgraff said. “Because my exchange sister [junior Bronwen Hardy] played field hockey, some of the field hockey games. Now I’m at a softball game.”

Juniors Alyssa O’Neill and Leonie Vulgraff watch the Matadors play Fremont HS on May 6. Softball won 6-0 and has one game left in their regular season.

Juniors Alyssa O’Neill and Leonie Vulgraff watch the Matadors play Fremont HS on May 6. Softball won 6-0 and has one game left in their regular season.

The Matadors quickly earned a run and then another, but they weren’t comfortable yet.

“[The first run] felt good, but we knew we needed more,” sophomore Mika Maenaga said.

Sophomore Danielle Koontz attributes the Matadors’ control of the game to their adjustment to the FHS pitcher. She noted that the umpire was calling outside pitches and that the Matadors had to crowd the plate.

Junior Janaye Sakkas swings at a pitch in a game against Fremont HS on May 6. Sakkas’ main sport is field hockey, but she also plays soccer and softball.

Junior Janaye Sakkas swings at a pitch in a game against Fremont HS on May 6. Sakkas’ main sport is field hockey, but she also plays soccer and softball.

In the fifth inning, a Firebird player made solid contact but senior Janaye Sakkas effortlessly lifted her hand and caught the ball.

The FHS bleachers sighed and “tsk”-ed, but they also nodded in admiration.

“That was a great catch,” an FHS parent said.

According to Sakkas, the Matadors’ inability to crush the opposition from the start lies not in a lack of focus, but in the absence of her good luck charms.

“We didn’t win 10-0 because [seniors] Katie Sommers and Arushi Agarawala weren’t here,” senior Janaye Sakkas said, referring to her field hockey teammates and biggest fans.

Strong hits from Maenaga and junior Monica McCarthy continued the momentum, establishing the Matadors’ dominant position in the game.

“We just got our morale back up,” senior Emily Simmons said. “Coach [Ray Teixeira] gave us a few words and we finally started to act on it. Then we just kept going and going.”

With the season coming to a close, the team has improved on multiple key skills, especially fielding, but Simmons put the team’s greatest improvement simply.

“More people have had bats on balls,” she said.

Maenaga brought the Matadors up 4-0 after scoring on a passed ball and Lee put them up 5-0 in the same inning. After a few more minutes and one more run the game was over, 6-0.

“We expected to start off stronger, but we still played really well once we got the hang of it,” Simmons said.

The Matadors will play their senior game against Cupertino High School at home on May 12 at 4:00 p.m.