The softball team took the De Anza Division by storm this season, going almost undefeated with a league record of 11-1, securing the league title and guaranteeing itself the number four seed in the first round of CCS playoffs.
The Eagles went on to outclass 13th seed Lincoln High School 7-2 in the first round of CCS on Wednesday, May 21, advancing them to CCS quarterfinals against Wilcox. As of the press deadline, Los Altos’ quarterfinal game against Wilcox on Sunday, May 24, had not occured.
Despite having an especially young team composed of only three seniors, the expectations going into the season were to continue the success of the softball team which in previous years had been dominant, including a run into CCS semifinals last year. Despite losing shortstop Tianna Vasquez ‘13, the team was determined to make up for their losses with their skilled younger players including sophomore Kaya Agustin and freshmen additions Audrey Jones and Krissy Ikeda.
With high expectations, the team’s goals left no room for error.
“We made it to the semi-finals of CCS last year so our goal this year going in was to take the De Anza league and hopefully take CCS,” senior Amanda Jones said.
The team has not failed to impress, taking the De Anza Division for the second time in three years.
The keys to the team’s success have been a strong pitching staff, reliable hitting and experienced coach, Tom Barrera.
“In previous years we have been consistently strong, but a lot of that has come from the coaching,” Amanda said. “We got a new coach my sophomore year, Tom Barrera. He has really helped us play more as a team.”
Whatever Barrera is doing, it has proven beneficial to the team. Since his first year as the softball coach in the 2011-2012 season, the team has gone 31-5 in league over the past few years.
Another factor towards their success is their pitching. With an accumulated ERA of 1.48, the Eagles’ pitching was able to shut down opposing batters this season. This can be largely attributed to the sophomore ace Lizzy Beutter, who dominated batters by going 17-4 with 114 strikeouts in 142 innings pitched.
She forced a very low BAA of 190 and only gave up one home run while facing 650 batters.
The next key asset to the team’s success is its explosive hitting. One player who has stood out is senior Marialena Ahern, who has gone on a tear this season putting up video game-like numbers. She hosts a batting average of 0.487 with 27 RBIs and two home-runs.
The team’s performances of late have marked an overhaul of its early-season rustiness.
“The team chemistry is fabulous,” Amanda said. “Off the field it’s great, on the field we were all performing but we weren’t playing as a team, and we had to change the mentality of the team and pick up the intensity.”
Once the team’s intensity and motivation increased they were nearly unstoppable. An example of this is when they beat Wilcox, a high-ranked team, a couple of weeks ago.
“[Since] we won that [game], we clutched league,” Amanda said. “Wilcox in previous years has been a number one team. You could just feel the mindset of the team… everyone was 100 percent in tune to the game and you could just see it in our hitting and in our defense.”
The team, with its momentum from league play and first round CCS defeat of Lincoln looks to cap off the season by making a deep push into CCS.
“I know we will go far in CCS if we keep supporting each other and stay aggressive and ready to take advantage of other teams’ weaknesses,” Lizzy said. “There are some good teams in our division, but if we keep playing like we have been, I think we can go all the way.”