Last year’s Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division softball championship went to an impressive Hillsdale High School squad. This year, the team that finished behind the Knights has no intention of finishing second again.
“Last year, we went far in the Central Coast Section playoffs after Hillsdale beat us out in the Bay,” Mustangs’ coach Todd Grammatico said. “We’re expecting better things this year.”
Capuchino is off to a 3-1 start this year with the lone loss coming to a strong Gilroy team. But unlike last season, when the Mustangs seemingly came out of nowhere to challenge for the league title, Grammatico knows the other seven teams have their eyes on his Mustangs’ squad.
“We’re certainly not going to surprise anyone this year,” Grammatico said.
Not only will Capuchino need to get past Hillsdale this year, it can’t let up against any of the other six teams in the PAL Bay either.
“Hillsdale is clearly our biggest competition again,” Grammatico said. “But every team in this division is very tough. We have to fear every team in this league when we play them. Any of them are capable of winning every time they take the field.”
Capuchino will host Hillsdale on March 29 in the first meeting of the year between the two teams. Aiding the Mustangs’ cause as they go into today’s league opener at Half Moon Bay, a 4 p.m. start, is the return of seven seniors from last year’s team.
Pitcher Michele Plister, co-Pitcher of the Year in the PAL last year, will carry the load for the Mustangs this season with battery mate Jamie Navarro, an all-league catcher last year.
“Michele is a very strong pitcher and will do very well for us,” Grammatico said. “And Jamie does a great job for us behind the plate.”
The Mustangs seem to be set with pitching, and Grammatico has liked what he has seen so far with his offense as well.
“You can always do better at hitting, no matter how well you are swinging the bat,” Grammatico said. “But we’re hitting the ball very well right now.”
Defense seems to be the lone concern for Grammatico at this point, even though he points out that fielding is usually a question mark at this point of every season. It was fielding errors that led to the Gilroy loss, but Grammatico was not overly concerned, given a very wet field did not help his defense do its job.
“We’re going to be good this year,” Grammatico said. “We just have a few kinks to get worked out.”
Grammatico is also looking to senior shortstop Jennifer Lewis, junior third baseman Gabby Tudury and Alexis Coulter, a junior transfer from Notre Dame (Belmont), to lead the way for the Mustangs in the field and at the plate.