The Half Moon Bay High School varsity boys baseball team

The Half Moon Bay High School varsity boys baseball team got a second crack at Sacred Heart and made it count, winning a Peninsula Athletic League title.

When the Half Moon Bay High School Cougars varsity baseball team took its home field on May 10, players had a chance to win the Peninsula Athletic League Ocean championship for the first time since 2011. Multiple errors in the second inning sealed the team’s fate early in the game, however, and the Cougars fell to Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep, 4-2.

“Tuesday we kinda came out flat and our defense wasn’t there, and it’s usually there,” said senior William Moffitt. “Usually there are no mistakes on defense and we get our bats early and keep the lead.”

Half Moon Bay got another chance at the championship on Thursday at Sacred Heart, and if there was any team that could leave the past in the past and turn it around, head coach Brian Anderson said it would be this one.

“They have a lot of resilience,” he said. “Just being able to just bounce back and keep playing through mistakes, not let the game get bigger than it is. Especially towards the end, playing without any fear and just playing baseball. I think we really grew with that towards the end of the season.”

On Thursday, Jared Mettam led off the game with a two-strike base hit up the middle. He promptly stole second base to reach scoring position. Mettam, who is among the stolen base leaders in the state, later stole third and scored as the throw went into the outfield to give Half Moon Bay a 1-0 lead.

A team that prides itself on consistent pitching got just that from Ryan Harrington who started on the mound and had a perfect game through three innings.

“We’ve had a couple of games where we’ve won by only one or two runs,” said Moffitt. “Our pitching this season just dominated. It was amazing.”

Sacred Heart found its offensive groove in the bottom of the fifth, but reliever Devin Costa was able to limit the damage.

“We were losing 3-1 in the sixth, but we didn’t give up,” said Moffitt. “We were like, we can score more runs. And we came out and we did.

“We played hard and kept a positive attitude,” he said. “Not giving up early or anything, just staying positive through the whole process.”

Moffitt started a big rally in the sixth with a leadoff double down the third base line. Gavin Giacotto and Kai Zanette drew walks to load the bases, and Victor Castro was hit by a pitch to bring Moffitt home. Jason Couto hit into an RBI fielder's choice, scoring Giacotto to tie the game.

Costa pitched another shutout inning with two strikeouts to keep the game tied heading into the seventh inning.

Mettam hit a deep fly ball to center field that bounced over the fence for a double. He stole third base, and Trevor Coruccini hit a grounder to the second baseman, and as he threw the ball to first Mettam broke home. Mettam's head-first slide just beat the tag to secure a 4-3 victory and the championship for the Cougars.

Costa earned the win, throwing three innings with five strikeouts. Ryan Harrington, Mettam and Moffitt all had two hits for the Cougars who finished the regular season with a 16-10, 11-3 record.

“A lot of things (were going through my head after the game),” said Anderson. “Joy for sure, just happy for the boys and for all the work that they put in, but then a little bit of me too was thinking about some of the teams that didn’t quite make it. All the kids put in the hard work, especially our team that got cut short with the COVID season, that was a really good team. Some of these guys were on that team too, as sophomores, and I feel good for these guys, but kind of had those other guys in my head too.”

Anderson said that the team's eight seniors contributed to the historic season and will be missed.

“It’s just an awesome group of kids,” he said. He singled out Mettam and Moffit for praise. “Those are definitely our two go-to guys, both offensively and defensively. They did a lot of the heavy lifting. Then Gavin Giacotto at first base did a nice job hitting for us and doing as best he could over there. He made some nice plays on Thursday to help us win.”

The coach said it's been a trying few years for the players dealing with COVID-19 and a shortened season but that the team was tough, putting in work individually in the weight room and even just throwing a ball against the wall to keep their arms in shape.

“They put in the work and I hope they feel like it finally paid off since they got to celebrate on the mound and everything,” said Anderson.

The Central Coast Section playoff schedule will be released today to determine who the Cougars take on on Saturday to kick off the postseason.

Emma Spaeth is a staff writer for the Half Moon Bay Review covering community, arts and sports. Emma grew up in Half Moon Bay before earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oregon.

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