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Encinal Baseball’s Magical Season Continues, Softball Rolls into Playoffs

After winning the West Alameda County Conference (WACC) championships just over a week ago, Encinal baseball and softball teams both advanced in the North Coast Section Championships (NCS) playoffs after big victories on Friday, May 17.

Alameda Post - the Jets softball team gathers around home plate to welcome a player that just hit a home run
Teammates congratulate Riley Chadwick after her homerun against Miramonte. The Jets won 14-4. Photo Ira Tongohan.

Both teams survived the first two rounds and found themselves heading into the Division 3 Semifinals. The Encinal Jets varsity baseball team upset the Alhambra Bulldogs 2-1 in Martinez, while the Jets varsity softball team pummeled Archie Williams’ Peregrine Falcons 10-0 in Alameda 10-0 on May 17.

Alameda Post - a photo of an Encinal Jets pitcher throwing the ball and a photo of a Jets batter getting ready to hit
Left: Anthony Wilson pitches during a 2-1 win over Alhambra. Right: WACC MVP Evan Furuichi hits a double during the 2nd round of NCS. Furuichi went 1-for-4. Photos Zach Pippen.

Jets baseball

#6 Encinal’s (20-7) second-round game versus #3 Alhambra (15-11) was a nail-biter. Both teams boasted fierce pitching—Juniors Anthony Wilson for Encinal and Cameron Millar for Alhambra.

Anthony Wilson pitched all seven innings, allowing only one run to score, while securing five strikeouts in the game. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Wilson fought for the third and final out, battling back from a 3-0 count before securing a swinging strikeout to end the game.

“[The strikeout] felt amazing,” Wilson said. “Going into the game, we were kind of nervous, but I still felt like we had the game on lock. …I felt great. We faced a good team but I came in with confidence and that kept me going.”

Wilson also stole home to secure one of the Jets’ two runs.

Alhambra’s Cameron Millar had five strikeouts across five innings but allowed two runs to score due to passed balls.

“We’ve been coming into these games looked at as [weak] and not very scary, but we have a really good relationship with each other, and I feel like we really used all our energy in this game,” said sophomore Matan Antebi. “We played as a team and it really put us over the top.”

#6 Encinal baseball faces #2 San Marin (20-8) on the road in the semifinals on Tuesday, May 21.

Alameda Post - an Encinal Jets softball player steps up to bat.
Senior Celeste Hurtubise collects one of her three hits against Archie Williams. Photo Ila Cantrell.

Jets softball

#2 Encinal softball also enters the NCS semifinals, but in a more dominant fashion, having beaten #7 Archie Williams (16-8) by mercy rule, 10-0.

“Our defense set the tone in the first inning when Lola [Whalen] caught a line drive in left field and doubled the runner off at first,” said sophomore Cameron Tran. “Our offense then went to work in the bottom of the first with solid hitting to take an early lead.”

Tran pitched all five innings, giving up only three hits while striking out five batters. This combined with Encinal’s defense to build a solid wall that Archie Williams couldn’t break through.

“As a pitcher, I know my defense always has my back,” said Tran. “I can focus on hitting my spots…and as long as I’m not walking batters it gives the team a chance to win.”

Senior Celeste Hurtubise also had a particularly good game, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs. She also had two stolen bases over the course of the game.

“I knew early in the count what I was looking for,” Hurtubise said. “But even when I was down in the count you just have to be smart and make contact with the ball, especially if there are people on base.”

Encinal (22-4) will face off against #3 Cardinal Newman (22-5) in the semifinals on Wednesday, May 22.

Alameda Post - a photo of an Encinal Jets softball pitcher getting ready to wind up and a photo of an Encinal Jets baseball player celebrating at home base as a player from the opposing team tries to get up off the ground
Left: Sophomore Cam Tran pitches a shutout inning against Archie Williams on May 17, 2024. Photo Ila Cantrell. Right: Junior Anthony Wilson celebrates after stealing home during a 2-1 win over Alhambra in the second round of the NCS playoffs. Photo Zach Pippen.

Looking back: NCS Round 1

To start the playoffs, #6 Encinal baseball defeated #11 Archie Williams with an 8-5 victory on Tuesday, May 14.

Senior Leo Paredes led Encinal’s offense to a win, going 3-for-3 with two runs. Angus Olaes and Anthony Wilson also contributed with two RBIs each.

Wilson relieved sophomore pitcher Kyle Cooke in the sixth inning, getting out of two bases-loaded scenarios to grab the save.

#2 Encinal Softball started the playoffs hungry for a title. The Jets pulled away from #15 Miramonte, grabbing a 14-4 mercy win on May 15. Up only 5-4 after the third, Encinal had a particularly dominant fourth inning, scoring seven runs.

With the bases full, sophomore Sherrielyn Ferrer hit a deep drive into left field to secure a base-clearing triple. Later, she narrowly stole home base after a passed ball by Abby Warren, Miramonte’s catcher.

“I felt ecstatic,” said Ferrer. “I knew in the moment I couldn’t hesitate no matter what, since the ball was so close to the catcher. My instinct just told me to go.”

With such a high seed, the team has a lot of expectations on their shoulders. They didn’t let this pressure get to them, however, and were able to keep their lead throughout the rest of the game.

“We all discussed (that we needed to) play our own game,” said Ferrer. “[Don’t] get into our heads, don’t do too much, and do what you do.”

Max Millot is Sports Editor and Jacob Benaquista is Copy Editor of the Encinal Horizon.

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