Two seasons ago, the Half Moon Bay High School baseball team had its season end in the semifinals of the Central Coast Section Division III playoffs.
They followed that season up by collecting only seven wins in 2010.
The Cougars were dropped into the Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division after that poor season in the PAL Bay Division, but Half Moon Bay has rebounded quite nicely in 2011.
Second-year coach Steve Terraszas has his team off to an 11-5 start and a 5-0 start in the PAL Ocean.
“Our main goal is to win the PAL Ocean, get back to the CCS playoffs,” Terraszas said.
The 2010 Cougars were very young and were overwhelmed in the PAL Bay Division.
“The Bay had a lot of quality teams,” Terraszas said, “We were a little overmatched.”
Among the teams in the PAL Bay Division are defending CCS Division II champion Burlingame and CCS Division III runner-up Hillsdale.
The Cougars had eight players graduate from their 2009 CCS Division III playoff team before joining the Bay and they “probably didn’t belong there,” Terraszas said.
“We just did not have enough firepower to come back [against the Bay teams],” Terraszas said.
Half Moon Bay needed improvement in its defense, especially with the new bat regulations. The regulations have lowered scoring and the Cougars have had to scrape for runs.
Entering today’s game against Woodside, only six of Half Moon Bay’s games have been decided by more than two runs and the Cougars have only scored more than five runs six times.
But the Cougars’ offense has received a boost from a couple of unlikely sources.
Sophomore Peter Bacich, who came out late due to basketball season, entered the week hitting .559 and freshman Brett Berghammer has hit a solid .310 early on.
Alex Jenkins, who also came out late due to soccer season, is carrying a .410 batting average.
Pitching, though, has been the strength of the Cougars, who are led by senior standouts Julian Garcia and David Moody.
Garcia has an overpowering fastball with a good breaking ball. His best performance came last week in the Cougars’ 7-0 win at Jefferson where he allowed only one hit against the Indians.
Moody entered the week with a 4-0 record.
But a familiar foe may be Half Moon Bay’s biggest competition in league play.
Woodside (7-8) also dropped into the Ocean after a poor 2010 season and is off to a 5-2 start in league play.
Terraszas said Woodside has also improved from last season but, like his own team, has not yet been challenged in the Ocean.
The two teams met on Tuesday, a 4-3 Half Moon Bay victory, and will play again today.