The Mustangs rolled through the regular season and first round of the district tournament, winning 16-of-25 games via the mercy rule on their way to a perfect record.
Then came the wake-up call.
Mountain View, the defending state champ, knocked off Eagle 4-2 in the district semifinals the same day the Mustangs climbed to No. 13 in the CBS MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings.
Eagle (26-1) rebounded from the loss to qualify for the 5A state tournament Friday at Post Falls High. Coach Doug Corta said while he never wants to lose a game, the loss refocused the Mustangs.
“It showed a little bit of the weaknesses that we need to work on, and we’ve been working on those,” Corta said. “We’re dialed in and we’re ready to go to state. We had some good practices this week, good focus.”
Eagle showed few, if any, weaknesses prior to the loss. But Corta said Mountain View exposed holes in its short-game defense. And while the Mustangs enter state averaging 13.6 runs per game, hitting .470 and with 59 home runs, Corta said Eagle fell in love with the long ball too much and abandoned the little things it needs to win its first state title since 2008.
“We’ve got to get back to situational hitting, small ball, what we do best,” said Corta, whose team is ranked No. 25 in the latest national poll. “Once we do that and mix that together with the big hits, that’s going to make us even more of a threat.”
Any offensive help should allow two of the top pitchers in the state — junior Bradie Fillmore and sophomore Autumn Moffat — to shine. Fillmore, a Cal commit, has posted a 13-1 record with a 0.43 ERA, eight walks and 161 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings. Moffat, a BYU commit, sports a 13-0 record with a 0.53 ERA, eight walks and 82 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings.
The loss bumped Eagle into a tough first-round matchup with Coeur d’Alene (23-1), the northern Idaho champ, at 10 a.m. Friday. Mountain View (19-7) looms on the opposite side of the double-elimination bracket.
“These kids have played against each other, Coeur d’Alene and Eagle, all the way through the offseason and travel ball,” Corta said. “They’ve played against each other and know a lot about each other.
“And of course, Mountain View, we’d love to get them again.”