Mesa Mountain View's softball team has journeyed deep in the postseason in recent years, due in great part to four-year ace Val Kaff.
Kaff graduated last spring so for the Lady Toros to find their way back in 2014 wasn't going to be easy. However, a late-season run and a solid schedule appear to have them on track for a first-round game at state come Saturday.
Sydney Smith and Asya Laurendeay combined for on a two-hitter and their teammates cranked out 11 hits in guiding Mountain View to an 8-0 triumph over Skyline in the Division I regular-season finale for both schools.
Mountain View lacks the gaudy record of the last four years, but its 7-11 power-ranking-game record and strength of schedule should land it a spot in postseason. Mountain View (11-18 overall) should finish between 20th and 22nd when the final rankings are released Thursday (May 1) at 2:30 p.m. That's when AIA365.com will stream live the state tournament brackets for baseball and softball for Divisions I through IV in both sports.
Skyline, which has struggled the final three weeks of the season at the plate and in the field, may have done enough prior to that to still nab a playoff spot. The Lady Coyotes are 19-10 overall and 10-8 in power-ranking games. Skyline was No. 20 when play began Thursday and Mountain View was No. 21. Skyline opened the season 15-2, but has dropped eight of its last 12 games.
The first three hitters in Mountain View's lineup were the key offensively. Matt Roberts, Page Roberts and Teddy Yellowman combined to go 7-for-11 at the plate. Page Roberts was 3-for-3 and scored three times. Maddy Roberts had two hits and scored twice. Yellowman drove in three runs with single and double. Picking up the bottom of the order was Sia Iongi with two hits and two RBI.
Mountain View scored three runs with two outs in the third for a 3-0 lead and added single runs in the fourth and fifth. A three-run seventh crushed any hopes of a Skyline comeback.
Smith went six inningss and allowed both hits. She walked six and struck out two. Laurendeau struck out the side in the seventh to end the game. Skyline failed to garner any clutch hits, leaving nine runners on base. They left the bases loaded in the third and left two in the fifth when the game was still close.
Natalie Rizen and Jaycee Lindley had the hits for Skyline in the fourth and seventh, respectively.