Autumn Moffat spends most of her time in the pitcher’s circle for the Eagle High softball team.
But the senior could have been mistaken for a track star the way she rounded the bases in the 5A District Three Tournament championship Thursday night at Mountain Cove Field.
Moffat scored the winning run from first base on sophomore Ashley O’Connor’s walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh inning, sending the Mustangs to their second straight district title with a 2-1 victory over Meridian.
“The minute I saw Ashley hit the line drive, I knew,” said Moffat, a BYU signee. “Literally the second it came off the bat and it was right over second, I was like, ‘Just run as fast as you can and make it home. You have to make it home for the team.’ ”
Moffat kept her eye on the bases and didn’t celebrate until she cleared home plate, where her teammates rushed to meet her.
“That was a very emotional game. There were a lot of close calls that could have gone either way,” said Eagle coach Nicole Rollins, whose Mustangs lost 5-4 in 10 innings to Meridian on April 4. “We’ve had that struggle all season long that calls haven’t gone our way, and I think we just keep battling and battling and battling until we win it.”
Eagle (25-2) begins its state title defense at 10 a.m. MT next Friday at Coeur d’Alene High against the winner of Saturday’s play-in game between Lewiston and 5A SIC regular-season champion Boise (19-7).
Meridian (19-7), Kuna (19-6) and Rocky Mountain (17-7) also qualified for state.
“I think the teams are a lot better this year, and everybody is battling and I think anybody can go get it,” Rollins said. “If our girls do have the success to feed off of, our team chemistry is completely different from what it was last year.
“These guys are cheering more for each other per game than I heard them cheer for an entire season last year. I think we can battle it if we go after it.”
Unlike last season when the Mustangs went undefeated and wrapped up the season as the No. 1 team in the nation, this year’s squad has had its share of close calls, including against the Warriors.
Eagle took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on center fielder Noelle Foster’s single to left field.
Meridian nearly took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth on Devon Stapleton’s double to right that scored Ali Rice, but Sam DeSloover was tagged out at home on shortstop Kelly Kukla’s relay to catcher Rachel Menlove, keeping the game knotted at 1-1.
It was the only run Moffat allowed over seven innings. She struck out six without a walk, and Foster and O’Connor each went 2-for-3 at the plate.
“I feel like we should feel confident but not cocky (at state),” Foster said. “I feel like we should come in like we did this game, just guns blazing and ready to rock and roll with whatever happens.”