AURORA — Mountain View won its first softball title in school history with a 7-3 win against Pueblo Central.
"To win the first one, that's not on me," Mountain View coach Randy Felton said. "It's great for these girls to be part of the first ever title. My joy comes from them being happy. Watching them enjoy the moment. To win that first one and to have these guys be a part of it, it's pretty special."
Mountain View, the 11th seed in the Class 4A playoffs, looked confident. Like they deserved to be there.
"You always think you have talent, you always think there might be somebody better, are you ever going to be the one in that game. Today I thought, 'We can win this game today.'
And, they showed they did belong.
"We were confident," Felton said. "I always thought our strength is our offense all year long. You get into this kind of game, and the defense stood out. It was the defensive plays that made the difference."
Freshman Bailey Carlson took a no-hit bid into the fourth inning. After an error on the first at-bat of the game, Carlson grabbed nine straight outs.
"Being a part of this team has meant so much to me. Winning state with them means so much more."
Izzy Griego made a leaping catch in the hole to turn a double play to keep the no-hitter in tact. And again, Griego got Carlson out of trouble with an unassisted double play after two infield singles had Pueblo Central grabbing momentum.
"Izzy made incredible plays," Felton said. "She made two plays last game that got us here to begin with. She made a couple key double plays this game. Her senior year, it was a little bit more special for her. I'm glad she came up big when she needed to."
Added Carlson: "Izzy did save me quite a few times, let me tell you. My entire defense did. They backed me up the entire way through this."
On the offensive side, Mountain View got it started right away.
Raleigh Basart blooped a double over the first baseman that scored a run. Then, Jaycee Schroeder's RBI single made it 2-0.
With two outs in the second inning, Mountain View offense stepped up.
Jaelyn Taylor tripled off the wall to score one, then Kaley Barker promptly lined a two-RBI double to right field. Mountain View lead 5-0 before Pueblo Central could settle in.
"Kaley is one of those that I'm enjoying every minute of it now, but I'm going to be pretty sad when she's gone," Felton said on his senior catcher. "She led this team leadership wise. Solid hitter all year, and she's so quick behind the plate. You don't notice the passed balls and the stuff she does back there. She's huge."
Barker added another insurance run in the fourth with a single, and Basart pitched in a run-scoring single in the sixth.
"Us coming up short two years in a row, we knew we had to do it," Barker said. "This was our last year that we knew we could make it. It feels awesome to leave our mark on the school like this."
Pueblo Central added three runs in a comeback effort in the bottom of the seventh before it was settled.
The last out was a line out to Carlson, who fell into the center of the dog pile — a fitting moment for a freshman that pitched every inning of the state tournament.
"You never think that you're going to be the one out here," Felton said. "You watch everyone else and think, 'Maybe it's just not meant to be for us.' But, it was this year. I'm really proud of our girls right now."