The Middleton softball team took the long road to repeat as 4A softball champions.
After losing their tournament opener to Twin Falls on Friday morning in Post Falls, the Vikings (30-4) won six straight elimination games, including two against 4A SIC rival Ridgevue.
Middleton edged the Warhawks 2-0 to force the if-necessary championship game Saturday. Then senior Tayler Guerra smacked a two-run, walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning to clinch Middleton’s second straight state title with a 3-2 win.
“We made it challenging on ourselves,” Middleton coach Rob Kiser said. “We have six seniors that, after that loss against Twin, really stepped up.
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“I’m proud of this team. Today, they were flat-out resilient.”
Ridgevue (22-9-2) wrapped up the first season in school history with seven freshmen on its roster.
“The journey’s been great. There’s not one person outside of our circle that thought we’d even be here or even gave us a chance,” Ridgevue coach Dave Kemper said. “If you weren’t a Warhawk, you didn’t believe.”
In Coeur d’Alene, rain and soggy fields forced the tournament to postpone Saturday’s games to Sunday. Kuna (21-7) faces Boise (22-8) at 11 a.m. MT at Lake City High, while two-time defending state champ Eagle (27-2) faces Lake City (22-2) at 11 a.m. MT at Coeur d’Alene in the first semifinal of the double-elimination tournament.
Fruitland won its fourth straight championship, beating Bonners Ferry 19-16 at Treasure Valley Community College. Fruitland (22-3) has won eight of the past 10 state championships. Payette, the only 3A school to beat Fruitland this season, knocked off Sugar-Salem 19-5 in six innings to take third.
Nampa Christian beat Melba 14-10 for its third consecutive title. New Plymouth took third with a 13-3 victory against Declo.