NAMPA - When their first attempt went awry, the Mountain View Mavericks still had one more shot at a state softball championship - and they didn't let the opportunity slip away.
Mountain View lost to Coeur d'Alene 8-2 in Saturday's first championship game. The Mavericks were unbeaten in the double-elimination tournament until then, and had another chance at the Skyview Softball Complex.
In a do-or-die title game, Mountain View never trailed, defeating Coeur d'Alene 7-4 and ending a four-year reign of northern Idaho title-winning teams in the 5A tournament.
"It's amazing. I wasn't sure I'd ever get one because those teams up there had been so dominant," Mountain View senior shortstop Taurie Pogue said. "It was such a test of our character, coming together after getting throttled the game before."
The Mavericks (26-4) sent senior Dakoda Lee to the circle to start the finale, and she was solid in her final high school game. Lee struck out eight in five innings, and gave up only a solo home run to the Vikings' Kayla Albertson, who set a record with four home runs in the tournament.
"It was nerve-wracking, to be honest," Lee said. "When I'm that way, I feel I have to work harder, throw harder, and it worked out."
The Mavericks got on the board with an RBI single from Lee in the first inning, with Albertson tying it in the next frame for Coeur d'Alene (25-5). In the bottom of the second, Mountain View blew the game open with four runs, sparked by Pogue's two-RBI double that put the Mavericks ahead for good. Coeur d'Alene got as close as 5-3 before Kylie Orr and Anna Hawk roped RBI doubles in the sixth inning, giving reliever Megan Browne breathing room.
It was a vast improvement for Mountain View, which had a tough time against Coeur d'Alene sophomore pitcher Breana Burke in the first game.
"We hadn't seen speed like that. She's very good," Mountain View coach Tim Souza said. "But it took us a game to get adjusted, and once we got a few hits, everyone else believed they could, too."
Mountain View was not even in last year's tournament, besieged by injuries to many of the players who made up this year's title run.
"The fact we weren't even here a year ago, and this year winning it, I can't believe it," said Pogue, who has signed with Cal.
The Mavericks won twice Friday in come-from-behind fashion, then fittingly had to bounce back from a rout with a chance at the championship on the line, which is where they thrive.
"That's how we've been playing all year - when it's crunch time, these girls responded, right to the end," Souza said.
GRIZZLIES THIRD; BRAVES FOURTH
Two other 5A SIC teams picked up trophies Saturday. The Rocky Mountain Grizzlies took third, and the Boise Braves took fourth.
Rocky Mountain fell to Mountain View 11-2 in a semifinal game when Pogue, Orr, Lee and Courtney Chase all homered. The Grizzlies (17-12) then had a shot to get back in to the final, but lost to Coeur d'Alene 11-5.
"I don't think we would've expected to take third if you asked us at the start of the year," Rocky Mountain coach Missy Nichols said. "This team has a ton of heart, and we're going to keep getting better."
Boise (15-14) suffered its second loss of the tournament, 7-2 to Coeur d'Alene to start the day. Bailey Carson had two hits, including a triple, and Charlotte Cook homered in the loss.
"To get to this point, getting hardware, is pretty special because two years ago we didn't make the district tournament," Boise coach Brian Barber said.