YERMO • For the members of the Silver Valley High School softball team, making the postseason wasn't unusual. Winning a postseason game was.
On Tuesday, the Lady Trojans hosted Mayfield for a CIF-SS Division 6 wild card match, and held on to beat the Cubs, 5-3.
Kevin Mintun has seen his team make the playoffs several times in the eight years he's been the Trojans' head coach. But Tuesday was his first state tourney victory, and he enjoyed it along with the players, especially the seniors, who were also finally experiencing a state win.
"The girls did a great job," the coach said afterward. "Defensively, we played a great game and offensively, we were crushing the ball."
Mayfield got its first run in the first inning, but the Trojans came right back in their half to take the lead. Stephanie Mesa led off by drawing a walk, and Bianka Griego followed by reaching on an error. After an out, Deanna Armstrong got her team on the board by ripping a double to center, scoring Mesa. Serena Jaime then dunked a single in short center, plating Griego and putting Valley ahead, 2-1.
The Cubs tied it in the fourth, as Mireya Hernandez singled and scored on an error, but the Trojans went ahead for good in the fifth. Mesa again got it started with a lead-off walk and this time Griego got her in, sending a pitch over the fence in left for a two-run homer. Valley tacked on an insurance run in the sixth, with Kortney Stolz coming off the bench for a pinch-hit triple, and scoring on an error.
The Trojans collected eight hits, led by Armstrong's 3-for-3 performance. The senior also pitched a complete game for the win, scattering four hits, walking none and striking out 10.
"Deanna pitched a gem," said coach Mintun. "She's a four-year starter for us, so it's great to see her get the win. And she really helped herself at the plate."
"It's an amazing feeling," said Armstrong of the victory. "It was one of our goals at the start of the season to make playoffs, so we accomplished that. Winning is a plus."
The pitcher was backed by some tight defense. Leftfielder Nicole Hendly made a running sno-cone catch for the second out of the third, followed by third baseman Isla Sullivan snagging a line drive for the third out. Catcher Griego took down a high foul pop-up for the final out of the fourth, a frame in which Mayfield left the bases loaded, and centerfielder Jaime made a nice grab for the second out of the seventh.
It was a win that set the stage for the next assignment. The Trojans will play at Yucca Valley on Thursday in the tourney's first round. Yucca Valley, also nicknamed the Trojans, finished at 17-7, 8-2, and is the top seed out of the De Anza League.
"I think we're ready," said Armstrong of her team's chances. "We'll be fine if we play like we did today, and I think we will."