The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
College of San Mateo head softball coach Nicole Quigley-Borg doesn’t know — and quite frankly — doesn’t care about the numbers.
She doesn’t care that the Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 in Northern California and No. 1 in the state. She doesn’t care that starting pitcher Emily McAdams is a top-5 pitcher in the state or that the offense is second in the state in runs scored.
And she certainly didn’t know that Tuesday’s 8-0, five-inning, mercy-rule win over visiting Gavilan was the 20th win in a row for the Bulldogs, whose 27 wins are also tops in the state.
“Is that how many we’ve won straight?” Quigley-Borg asked. “I only care about the one at the end.”
That “one” would be a state title that has eluded Quigley-Borg, whose teams have made the state final four of the last six years.
But Quigley-Borg and the Bulldogs will cross that bridge when they get to it. In the meantime, they’ll just try to continue to tick off wins. With 10 games remaining in the regular season, the Bulldogs are just grinding their way to the postseason.
Gavilan was just the next opponent up on the schedule Tuesday and CSM (7-0 Coast-North, 27-2 overall) went about dispatching the Rams in workmanlike fashion. Three CSM pitchers, led by starter McAdams, limited Gavilan (2-6, 5-17) to just two base runners — a second-inning walk and a fourth-inning infield single.
Offensively, the Bulldogs scored in all four of their at-bats, collecting eight hits along the way.
And yet, Quigley-Borg expected more.
“Today, we were average, at best,” Quigley-Borg said. “We could have made better contact at the plate.
“Defensively, we did a great job.”
In a game Quigley-Borg planned to get all three of her front-line pitchers some work, McAdams, who came into the game with the lowest ERA in the state at 0.63 runs per game, led off with two innings of no-hit ball, which earned her 18th win of the year. She added four more strikeouts along the way, raising her season total to 118.
“She’s a much different pitcher than she was even a year ago,” Quigley-Borg said. “”She’s just matured. She knows how to pitch.”
McAdams’ only blemish was a walk to lead off the second inning, but that base runner was immediately erased when CSM catcher Riley Donovan threw her out at second base trying to steal.
McAdams was followed by Brittany Prock, who threw two innings of one-hit ball. Gavilan avoided the no-hitter when Gavlian leadoff hitter Brooke Siaz hit a chopper off the glove of CSM third baseman Jamie Madigan, deflecting it to shortstop Aubrie Businger, who had no play at first base.
Grech wrapped up the victory with a perfect fifth, which included a pair of punchouts.
Offensively, there was no waiting around for the Bulldogs, who scored almost immediately. Businger led off the game for CSM with a walk and went to second on a McAdams infield hit. Both runners moved up a base on Mandy Weitenhagen’s groundout to bring up cleanup hitter Grech. On a 1-1 pitch, she laced a single to left that plated both Businger and McAdams.
The Bulldogs added three more runs in the second. With one out, No. 9 hitter Hailey Hiett reached on an error and then stole second. Businger followed with her second walk of the game and again, both runners moved up, this time on a wild pitch. A Weitenhagen walk loaded the bases before Grech flared a single in front of the Gavilan right fielder to drive in two more runs. Donovan followed with an RBI single to drive in Weitenhagen to give CSM a 5-0 win.
The Bulldogs manufactured two more runs in the third. Jamie Madigan led off the inning with a walk and went to second on a groundout. Businger came up and hit a slow roller to third base and beat it out for an infield hit, with Madigan taking third.
But Businger noticed there was no one covering second base and she broke for the bag, drawing a throw. Madigan, in turn, headed home and collided with the catcher on a throw to the plate. She was called safe on catcher’s interference for blocking the plate, with Businger taking third on the play.
“That’s just head’s-up base running,” Quigley-Borg said.
Businger would then come home on a Weitenhagen bloop to center.
Ally Sarabia punctuated the win with a solo home run to center in the bottom of the fourth to give the Bulldogs an 8-0 lead.
“This is an interesting time of year,” Quigley-Borg said. “The girls are … tired. It’s time to rejuvenate (with the playoffs on the horizon).”