ARLINGTON — It took two games, but the Stilly league softball champs beat Mukilteo to win the tournament of champions.
Undefeated through the tournament bracket, the Stilly Valley girls had the chance to put the Magic away in their first meeting on May 31. But Stilly Valley coach Butch Diemer prepared his team to win the championship in two games, a luxury they were afforded by their no-loss performance.
The Stilly Valley Stealers lost a noon game as they faced Mukilteo’s ace pitcher. But the home team had kept its ace up its sleeve, unleashing Kayla Mashburn on a tiring Mukilteo team in a second game at 4 p.m. They came from behind to win the game and the title by a 7-6 score.
Mukilteo jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but the girls kept their wits about them, closing the lead to three in the third inning and tying it up in the fourth.
A Mukilteo triple in the fifth inning gave the Magic an opportunity to score and retake the lead, but the speed of the Stilly Valley girls could not be denied.
“We scored two runs on two steals from third to home, and we ended up winning,” Diemer said. “It was exciting. I had a lot of parents nervous.”
Trailing by a run in the top of the sixth – the final inning – Mikayla Holmes got to first base, stealing second. Holmes advanced another base when second baseman Savannah Diemer hit a double. As a pitch rolled past the Mukilteo catcher, the coach signaled for Holmes to steal again, retying the game 6-6.
On the next pass ball opportunity, Diemer stole home in the game-winning run.
“Once we took the lead, we knew that was a big mental win for us,” coach Diemer said. “All we needed was three outs and that was going to be it. That’s pretty much what it was — three up, three down.”
While the coach had wonderful things to say about each of his players, he added that he was particularly proud of how they came together to execute as a team.
“They worked hard as a team,” Diemer said. “I truly believe in a strong team, no superstars. I’d rather have a group of blue-collar kids working as a team.”