Two days after scoring one of the biggest upsets of the softball season, Mountain View junior pitcher Megan Browne said she could feel her team losing its focus.
If the Mavericks failed to regroup, their win earlier this week over previously unbeaten and nationally ranked Eagle wouldn’t mean nearly as much.
“Coming out here, I could start to see us kind of relax too much,” Browne said. “Once we dropped behind, I think it put our butts back into gear.”
Mountain View recovered from a three-run deficit for a 6-4 victory over Vallivue in the 5A District Three championship game Thursday at West Park. It was the Mavericks’ second straight district title and gives them the league’s No. 1 seed at next week’s state tournament, where they are the defending champions.
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“We replaced eight seniors off of last year’s team. We’re basically a new team trying to find our way,” Mountain View coach Tim Souza said. “It’s kind of a journey, and we just made a lot of process-oriented goals. We wanted to have a process to get us opportunities, like being in the district tournament.”
Mountain View (19-7) finished the 5A SIC regular season as the No. 5 seed. The Mavericks had to win a play-in game Saturday to advance, and then beat No. 4 Boise 9-4 on Monday and No. 1 Eagle 4-2 on Tuesday.
Eagle went into the semifinal against Mountain View ranked No. 13 in the CBS MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings. The Mustangs wrapped up the regular season last week having outscored their opponents 340-23.
“It was an amazing game. Eagle played great. We played great,” Mountain View catcher Kylie Orr said. “Megan pitched one of the best games I’ve ever seen her throw. It was just an all-around team win.”
Thursday’s win required another team effort.
The sixth-seeded Falcons led 4-1 when Orr stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fifth. The senior reached on a walk, and Browne followed with a two-run home run to cut Vallivue’s lead to 4-3.
After walking two of the first three she faced in the sixth, Browne escaped the inning without allowing another run. Then the Mavericks went to work at the plate.
Sophomore center fielder Caitlin Scott lead off with a single, and sophomore left fielder Nicole Healy got on with a bunt. Orr came to the plate with one out and two on, hitting the third pitch she saw over the center-field fence for what turned out to be the game-winning runs.
“She definitely crushed it,” Souza said. “They tried to stay away from her, but she just hits in such a big zone that she’s tough to pitch around unless you are just going to try and intentionally walk her.”
Orr’s walk in the fifth inning was her 23rd of the season, including 13 intentional walks, and the Northwest Nazarene signee has nine home runs after Thursday’s three-run shot.
“It felt awesome. Pretty much when I hit it I knew it was going to go a long ways,” Orr said.
Despite the loss, Vallivue (18-10) heads to state for the first time as a 5A program.
“We learned that we can play with anybody if we play good defense and don’t give up runs on errors,” Vallivue coach Kevin Schimmelpfennig said. “(Megan Browne) is one of the better pitchers that we’ll probably see, and we put the bat on the ball.
“There’s no reason we can’t make some noise (at state).”