Last season, no team beat the Hillsdale High School softball team, according to coach Randy Metheany.
The Knights, who fell in the semifinals of the Central Coast Section Division III playoffs, only beat themselves.
“We did some little things that hurt us in a couple games [of the CCS playoffs],” Metheany said, “We weren’t beat; we beat ourselves.”
But Hillsdale (18-3, 8-0 Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division entering Wednesday’s showdown against Carlmont) came back this season with the goal of finishing what it started in the CCS playoffs in 2010.
The PAL Bay Division front-runner Knights are led by star pitcher Jordan Richwood. The University of Memphis-bound senior has been nearly untouchable this season.
Richwood entered the week with a 0.36 ERA and has not allowed an earned run since March 12. She has been completely overpowering with 224 strikeouts in 118 innings.
Despite all of her success, Metheany said she is extremely modest and very much into the team.
“She just does it,” Metheany said. “She amazes me on a daily basis.”
Richwood has struck out 10 or more batters in 15 of her 18 games on the mound.
But she is not doing it on her own. The offense has been pounding the ball, as four players are hitting better than .350 with 12 or more RBIs this season.
Hillsdale had its third- and fourth-place hitters from a year ago graduate, leaving a large hole to fill.
“I’m a little bit surprised at how well we’ve hit the ball,” Metheany said.
Danielle Fonseca has been a terror this season. She came into the week hitting .391 with five home runs and 14 RBIs.
Sophomore Courtney Tyler has been one of the best hitters on the Peninsula this season. Entering the week, she was tied with a team-high 15 RBIs and led the team with a .413 batting average.
Senior infielder Kaylin Stewart has continued to prove to be a difficult out, proving it with a .377 batting average.
Richwood is no slouch, either, hitting .356 with 15 RBIs entering Monday.
“[They] all have been crushing the ball,” Metheany said. “They have really stepped up at the plate.”
The hitting and pitching have been there for Hillsdale much of the season, which leaves one question for the Knights.
How can they get over the top and win a CCS championship?
Metheany sees his team’s mental preparation as a point of emphasis and thinks the Knights need to continue to prove their mental toughness.
“[Have to] get our feet moving defensively,” Metheany said. “Sometimes your mental preparation is what causes the physical error.”
The Knights, who are on top the PAL Bay Division, are all but assured a spot in the CCS playoffs at this stage. Hillsdale just can’t let itself lose focus.
“[It’s important] if somebody beats us, we don’t beat ourselves,” Metheany said.