For the second year in a row, the 11-12 Hollister All-Star season ended in the Section 5 championship game, this time losing to Quito 10-6 Wednesday in Los Gatos.
From the onset, the championship game was a slugfest between the two teams, as they combined for 11 runs in the first two innings.
“They came out swinging the bat,” Hollister manager Dave Marquez said.
The visiting Quito jumped on Hollister early scoring two runs off starting pitcher Mason Marquez, who was hit with two line drives on back-to-back pitches in the inning.
“Mason is a gamer,” Marquez said. “He was hit on the hand and then the hip. His hip started hurting him a bit.”
Despite the injuries, Marquez limited Quito to only two runs and stranded the bases loaded.
In the bottom of the inning, Hollister’s offense erupted to seemingly take control of the game.
After Isaiah Bueno was hit on the fist pitch, Marquez and Tyler Triano each reached on singles. Two batters later, Javier Valdez knocked in Hollister’s first run on a Quito error. The big hit, though, came from shortstop Nick Christian.
On a 1-2 pitch, Christian unloaded on a line drive down the first base line. The bases cleared after the ball skipped past the diving Quito first baseman, giving Hollister a 4-2 lead.
That advantage was short lived, though, as Quito quickly responded. The Santa Clara-based Little League team took advantage of some Hollister miscues and walks to retake the lead at 6-4.
“They kept chipping away,” Marquez said.
Hollister pulled one run closer in the bottom of the second after Ryan Jameson scored on a past ball. On the mound, Garret Bourdet was able to slow down the Quito attack for two innings as Hollister caught up.
Bourdet tied the game in the bottom of the third with a solo home run that cleared the right-center field wall.
Afterward, Hollister couldn’t find any more offense.
Quito added three runs in the fifth inning and one in the sixth to control the game and eliminate Hollister from All-Star competition.
Despite the loss, Marquez was proud of the team’s run the past few years.
“It’s been a great four years,” he said. “Hollister is a baseball town and it’s easy to see why. The kids want to learn and be good. They don’t stop.”
Behind a 2-run home run by Alyssa Ito and strong pitching from John Correa, Matthew Sanders and Larry Martinez, the 9-10 Hollister American All-Star team defeated Briarwood 15-7 and advance to the Section 5 championship game Thursday in Gonzales.
To win, Hollister will need to beat Los Gatos twice.
After a slow start Wednesday, the Hollister offense exploded for nine runs in the final three frames.
As the visiting team, Hollister took a 6-2 lead into the fourth inning, thanks to three innings from Correa. In the bottom of the fourth, Briarwood took it’s final lead of the game by taking advantage of Hollister miscues, scoring five runs.
The inning, though, ended on a diving catch by shortstop Kenny Moore, who leapt into shallow left-center field for the grab. When he got to his feet, he doubled-off a runner at third.
“It was a great play,” manager Richard McAbee said. “That was the game changer.”
In the top of the fifth, Hollister took the lead for good when Ito hit her first home run.
“She absolutely smoked it,” McAbee said. “It was unbelievable.”
Hollister added seven more runs over the final two innings, as Donnovan McAbee, Correa, Moore and Jacob Casarez each finished with two hits.
Jose Perez went 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs in the win.
Hollister faced Los Gatos on Thursday in the first game of the championship series. Look online for an update. If Hollister won, the two teams would play again at 7 p.m. Friday in Gonzales.