History repeated itself Thursday at the Half Moon Bay High School baseball diamond.
In the Cougar baseball team's final game of the year, senior pitcher Rick Angelini threw a no-hitter at home against Oceana High School, just as he did April 19, 1996, against the same Shark team.
In last year's no-hitter, Angelini was a first-time starter battling light rain; this year, he was a seasoned veteran playing through stifling heat. Nonetheless, his year of experience showed _ Angelini came one walk away from a perfect game Thursday, lifting his team to a 14-0 victory.
"I wasn't really keeping track, but I knew (of the possibility of the perfect game) because I didn't pitch from the stretch the whole game," Angelini said. "I just tried to keep on throwing strikes. I wasn't too worried."
Thursday's triumph extended Half Moon Bay's winning streak to four games and hoisted the Cougars into third place in the Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division. It was of little consolation, though; San Mateo High School, the first-place finisher in the PAL-Ocean, was the only division team to get a berth in this week's Central Coast Section playoffs.
"Our season was not bad, but it wasn't good," Angelini said. "I honestly thought we would win (the league). I don't know what happened."
The Cougars were at least able to end on a positive note, however, with a series sweep of Oceana (0-14). On Tuesday, May 13, Half Moon Bay traveled to the Sharks' Pacifica campus and used a late-inning rally to win, 6-2.
Hayden Greenberg scored in the first inning off a double from Mike Borges to give the Cougars the early lead, but for the next three innings, Half Moon Bay's bats went mostly silent.
They didn't come around again until the fifth inning, after the Oceana hurler's errant pitch hit Brian Anzalone, sending him to first base. Greenberg then hit a single, setting the table for Angelini, who knocked a base hit to bring in Anzalone. When Dominic Magagnini was also hit by a pitch, Greenberg came home, and when David Costa walked, Angelini scored. Danny Baarts also scored in the inning, which netted four runs for the Cougars. The Cougar squad went around the order in the inning.
On Thursday, Half Moon Bay again struggled to hit the ball in the first few frames, this time waiting until the sixth inning to unleash its bats.
It was worth the wait for the Cougars, however, as the squad came one batter away from batting around twice in the inning. Twelve runs came off nine hits in the frame, and four different Half Moon Bay players had extra-base hits: Borges and Greenberg ripped triples, while Chad Barger and Ted Abbott both smacked doubles. Angelini, Greenberg, Borges and Zack Wassmund each picked up two RBIs a piece in the inning.
"All year it's taken a few innings for our bats to come around," Angelini said. "There's not a reason for it, I don't think."
Although the high school season is over for the Cougars, most of the team will continue to play together through the summer on Half Moon Bay's American Legion team, as they did last summer. Competition in that league begins Sunday, May 25, with a home game against East Palo Alto. The matchup will be held at Half Moon Bay High and will start at 10 a.m.
Borges, for one, is glad for the chance to stay with his Cougar teammates.
"Being with this team is a lot of fun," Borges, a senior, said. "Most of us have been playing together since last summer, and we've started to get a feel for each other."