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Bats carry Mission Viejo to CIF-SS title
IRVINE – The memory of last season’s loss in the CIF-SS finals stuck with Mission Viejo’s softball team for an entire year, and it served as the fuel that inspired this year’s team.
Back on the same stage Friday night, the Diablos quickly fell behind by four runs.
There was no panic by Mission Viejo’s players. No signs of “How can this happen again?”
Mission Viejo just did what it does best: hit.
After responding with four runs in the bottom half of the first inning, the second-seeded Diablos proceeded to plate at least one run in each of their final five at-bats, coming back to claim a 9-6 win over Valley View of Moreno Valley in a wild CIF-SS Division 2 championship game at Bill Barber Park.
In snapping the Eagles’ 25-game win streak, the Diablos (27-4) captured their second CIF-SS title in three seasons.
Five players drove in runs for Mission Viejo, a reflection of the strength of the Diablos order, from top to bottom.
“This was entirely a team effort as you can see, one through nine,” Mission Viejo coach Troy Ybarra said. “In these games, it’s not one or two players. It’s all nine. And that’s what it takes for this team to win. They all brought it today.”
Mission Viejo needed everyone to step up when it fell behind, 4-0. Valley View (27-2) pounded out five hits and sent 10 batters to the plate in a four-run top of the first.
The Diablos loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom half of the inning, and junior Bella Loya capitalized on her opportunity. Mission Viejo’s first baseman roped a bases-clearing double to the right-center field fence, and scored the tying run moments later when Sammy Dees knocked her in with a single to left.
“That’s just clutch hitting, and these guys have been doing that all year,” Ybarra added. “They didn’t get down at all. They were fired up. Nothing bothered them. Nothing rattled them. And that’s what this team is all about.”
Junior right-hander Kyra Snyder settled in after the first and only got better as the game went on. The Diablos pitcher allowed solo home runs in the second and fifth innings, but those proved to be the only other Eagles hits in the game.
Utilizing her changeup more often as the game went on, Snyder struck out four and kept the Valley View batters off balance with her off-speed pitches.
“My team just picked me up beyond belief,” Snyder said. “We hit like crazy. We played together and we all wanted it. It feels amazing.”
Mission Viejo grabbed the lead for good in the third with a pair of RBI singles from Dees and Peyton Cody. The Diablos’ No. 6 through No. 8 batters accounted for seven of the team’s nine runs, six of those coming with two outs.
Terra McGowan and Allison Harvey added to the lead with a solo home run and an RBI single.
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