Baseball:Hillsdale sweeps Tigers

  • By Nathan Mollat Daily Journal Staff   Updated 

 

The Hillsdale baseball team opened the week with Tommy Karipishin tossing a no-hitter in the Knights’ 5-0 win over Terra Nova in Pacifica Monday.

Jaxon Skidmore got the start in the series finale Friday against the Tigers and while he didn’t reach the lofty bar set by Karipishin, he certainly put together a strong outing of his own in the Knights’ 7-2 victory.

“We just got beat,” said Terra Nova manager John Vallero. “They executed with men on and they have good pitching.”

Skidmore, a senior and three-year varsity player, limited Terra Nova to just two runs while scattering six hits and striking out six in six innings of work.

He also helped himself out at the plate, going 2 for 4 with three RBIs.

“[Skidmore] kept a good tempo. He forced contact with some of their guys,” said Hillsdale manager James Madison. “He was tremendous.”

Skidmore got plenty of support, both offensively and defensively. The Knights scored seven runs on 10 hits. In addition to Skidmore’s three RBIs, catcher Matt Leong drove in a pair of runs, while Jeremy Chong and Drew Aspillera each plated as run as well.

Chong, Arjun Mahanty, Skidmore and Lucky Buiza each had a pair of hits.

Defensively, the Knights were just as strong. They did not commit an error and Leong threw out three would-be base stealers, all of which squelched potential Terra Nova rallies.

“It’s such a plus to have a catcher of that caliber. He got us out of innings that could have gone the other way,” Madison said of Leong. “And he handles our pitching staff great. The guys trust him. They love to throw to him.”

Hillsdale (2-0 PAL Bay, 7-2 overall) set the tone early and took the pressure off itself as the Knights jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Chong led off with a single to right-center field. Mahanty followed and, after a nine-pitch at-bat, drilled the 10th into left-center field for another single. Will Garratt walked to load the bases and Aspillera drove in the first run of the game with chopper through the right side of the infield. Leong followed and drove in a run on a fielder’s choice. After a strikeout, Skidmore drove in the Knights’ third run of the inning.

“They really opened the game up in the first,” Vallero said. “That’s just good baseball.”

Terra Nova starter Cole Sowyrda, after that bumpy first inning, settled in and kept the Tigers in the game. After giving up three runs on four hits in the opening frame, he allowed only one more run and four more hits over the next five innings.

“They have a good pitching staff, too,” Madison said of the Tigers.

Terra Nova (0-2, 3-5) got one run back in the top of the third when Jeffrey Goias had a one-out single and Sowyrda blasted a double to dead center field to drive him in.

The Knights got the run back in the bottom of the fourth, however. Max Lopez pulled into second with a one-out, two-base error when his drive right at the center fielder sailed over his head. Lopez would come into score when Chong hit a high chopper between first and second to give the Knights a three-run cushion again, 4-1.

The Tigers cut their deficit again to two runs with another one in the top of the fifth. Jeremy Keller singled to lead off the inning and scored on a Dylan McDonald double to the left-center field gap.

But McDonald may have cost his team a rally when he was thrown out at third after a pitch in the dirt rolled a short distance from Leong, who picked it up and fired a strike to the third baseman to get McDonald for the first out of the inning. Terra Nova was left wondering what could have been as later in the inning Sowyrda singled solidly to center with the bases empty.

Hillsdale iced the game with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to give the Knights some breathing room. Mahanty greeted reliever Brian Barnes with a hustle double after the Tigers’ center fielder slipped while gloving the ball. Garratt reached on an error and Aspillera was safe after a sacrifice bunt turned into a Terra Nova error, its third of the game.

With the bases loaded, Leong put down a safety-squeeze bunt to drive in Mahanty. Following a flyout, Skidmore came up and, with the count full, flared an opposite-field duck just fair down the right-field line to drive in both Garratt and Aspillera to put Hillsdale up 7-2.

Aspillera replaced Skidmore to start the seventh and nailed down the win by retiring the Tigers in order.

Despite a 2-0 start to division play, Madison knows his Hillsdale team still has plenty of work to do.

“We’re still progressing,” Madison said. “There were some things we left out there (Friday).”

Vallero also knows his Terra Nova squad has to get to winning if the Tigers want to be in the mix for a Bay title.

“We have our work cut out for us,” Vallero said. “We’re two games behind with 12 left. This league is so good, it’s going to be tough.”

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