The Mountain View Lions’ softball team unleashed an offensive tour de force on the Flowing Wells Caballeros Thursday afternoon. The Lions (16-7, 7-0) pounced on an overmatched Caballeros squad on the road, winning their road clash by a whopping 15-1 margin in five innings.
Ramon De La Ossa’s squad saved much of its firepower for the game’s fourth inning, scoring 10 runs in the frame to put the Caballeros away.
Sophomore Hailie Mann shined in the pitcher’s circle for Mountain View, striking out eight hitters in five innings of work.
Mann also had a gargantuan day at the dish, with three hits and four RBIs, joining teammate Makayla Morales as the only Lions with three hits in the contest.
De La Ossa praised his players for their ability to come back focused from a difficult trip to Southern California, where they competed in the Michelle Carew Classic.
The Lions went 2-3 at the event, which pits teams from California, Arizona and Nevada against each other, with wins over San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic and Murrieta, California’s Mesa High School.
“I believe our team is playing at a high level, and we are playing good fundamental ball regardless of our opponent,” De La Ossa said. “Our pitching has been efficient, and our defense has been solid behind them.”
Mann touched on a similar topic in her postgame comments, commending De La Ossa for his ability to build solid team chemistry with this year’s team.
“We’re definitely closer as a team this year all around; we’re a family, both on and off the field for sure,” Mann said. “There’s a lot of unity on the field, we put in a lot of work in practice and it’s starting to show.”
That on-field camaraderie has the Lions in position to clinch the 5A Sonoran region title, with games against Cholla (April 16) and Empire (April 19) on the road to go with a final home game against the Caballeros on April 18.
The Lions enter Friday with a half-game lead in the region standings over Empire, thanks to the Lions’ 2-0 victory over the Ravens on March 26.
Junior infielder Jessica Niegocki, who had a hit and two runs scored in Thursday’s one-sided victory, believes this year’s Lions squad has a chance to do some damage in the 5A playoffs.
“I mean obviously it feels good to be in playoff contention,” Niegocki said. “I'm excited. I think we're going to go really far this season.”
Mountain View enters the final two weeks of the regular season ranked seventh overall in 5A, meaning they are in position to host a first-round playoff game.
Niegocki is confident that this year’s squad has what it takes to win out, guaranteeing a spot in the 16-team tournament field.
“Our goal is obviously to win it all, fingers crossed,” she said. “But if not, we want to play to our best potential, give it our all, leave it all out on the field, and win it for our seniors.”