The Mad River MIST turned in what long-time coach Bob Brown described as one of the most impressive collective efforts he has ever seen in a quarter century of coaching, at the West Coast Championships A tournament on Sunday.
The MIST 18U closed out the summer fast-pitch softball season with a third-place finish at the prestigious tourney in Sacramento, playing 10 games in three days in 100-degree weather, including five on Sunday.
More impressively, the MIST battled back from an opening loss on the final day to win three straight games in the losers’ bracket before falling 5-3 to the Nevada Hot Shots with a place in the championship game on the line.
“It was a complete team effort,” said Brown, who coaches the team along with Eric Helms and Abe Lucero. “We received significant contributions from everyone to accomplish what they did, especially on Sunday.”
The season-ending tournament featured the top travel teams from throughout California, as well as some from Nevada, including 19 squads in the 18U bracket.
“I have coached for 25 years between baseball and now softball with this organization for the past four summers, and Sunday’s effort was one of the most impressive I have witnessed from a collective group in all that time,” Brown said. “As coaches, we could not have been more proud of the group today. With that heat they literally ‘left everything on the field.’”
The MIST won two games on Saturday to qualify for Sunday’s prestigious Gold playoff bracket, opening the final day with a 4-0 loss to the California Yardsharks.
The players responded with three straight wins, defeating the Clovis Bullets 7-3, the Yardsharks 7-2 and Foothill Gold 6-5.
The MIST enjoyed plenty of offense in the three wins, racking up 27 hits combined.
Jaycee Morais led the way with six hits over the five games on Sunday, including a pair of doubles, while Juliana Ortega-Miranda had five hits on the day, three of them doubles.
Morais also was clutch in a tight game with the Gold, driving in two runs in the top of the fifth and final inning to break a 4-4 tie.
Pitcher Makayla Bernald got the win in the circle, getting out of a late jam after the Gold had pulled within one with a solo home run in the bottom half of the final inning and had runners on first and second with one out.
Bernald also pitched the win against the Bullets, while Alyssa Jimenez got the win in the circle against the Yardsharks.
Both pitched well all weekend against some top competition.
Sadie Hampton also had a big weekend, with hits in four of Sunday’s five games, including going 2-for-3 with a double against the Bullets.
Lexi White and McKenzy Fernandes each also had hits in multiple games.
White was 2-for-2 in the win over the Yardsharks, as the MIST exploded for 13 hits over five innings, blowing open a tight game with four runs in the fop of the fifth.
Grace Rosebrook and Makenna Beach each also had two hits in the win, while Jimenez had a double.
On Saturday, the MIST defeated the Bay Area Bombers 4-2 and the San Francisco Angels 8-2.
Fernandes had three hits against the Bombers, while Ortega-Miranda and Sadie Wilkinson each had two hits.
Jimenez got the win the circle.
Against the Angels, Rosebrook and Morais each had three hits, with the latter driving in three runs.
The red-hot Morais had nine hits combined over the final six games at the tournament.
White also had two hits against the Angels, while Bernald struck out eight in five innings for the win.
“All 10 girls played their hearts out,” Helms said. “Couldn’t be any prouder of this group.”