Breanna Macha and Red Mountain hoisted the Division I softball state championship trophy Monday night. What else is new?
The Mountain Lions won it all for a state record fifth straight season, the last four guided by Macha's pitching performances.
But unlike the previous three years, Macha's mom was not in the stands. Jane Macha, who passed away five weeks ago, instead was her daughter's inspiration this time.
"I was of course doing it for my mom," Macha said after a dominant performance on her future home field as Red Mountain beat Mountain Ridge 8-1 at ASU's Farrington Softball Stadium.
Macha limited Mountain Ridge to seven hits, three of which came in the final inning long after the outcome was secured, and she struck out five as Red Mountain staked its claim as the best program in state history.
"To go through the things she went though and to pitch the way she did, with the emotion she has, that's awesome," Red Mountain coach Rich Hamilton said. "That just shows her true competitive nature.
When she gets in the circle she's just a stud and nothing else matters."
Hamilton admitted to thinking all season about what he would say if the title streak ended — and it came close more than once the last 10 days. Macha never wavered, she said.
"I had to doubt in my mind," said Macha, who three years earlier set a goal to win four state titles. "I've always had big dreams, big goals. If you don't have something to look forward to, then what's there really to chase? Chasing that definitely pushed me throughout my whole career.
"It's amazing to have one let alone four. ... We were all together in this every step of the way."
Macha put the second-seeded Mountain Lions on top when she followed catcher Jordan Beck's double off the center field wall with one of her own in the second inning.
Red Mountain added another run that inning on a McKenzy Gutierrez triple, and then three in the fourth thanks to a two-run double from Alyssa Fernandez, and three more in the sixth when Ashley Hill lined a two-out, two-run single to center.
It all left Hamilton unfettered in his postgame comments.
"It's not over yet. I don't have to worry about that for another year," the coach said.
Three other programs had won four consecutive state titles — Chaparral (1995-98), Seton (2002-05 and 1996-99) and Hayden (1986-89). But Red Mountain is the only one to five-peat.
"This is one of the best states in the country to play softball and we've done this five times now," an exasperated Hamilton said after he was doused with water. "That doesn't, well, it does add up but it doesn't feel like it's real."
It is Red Mountain's sixth state championship since 2006 (in seven title game appearances) and the third time in their record run the Mountain Lions came back through the losers' bracket to claim the trophy.
"Going through the losers' bracket just meant more games for us to play, more games for us to be together as seniors," said Macha, who will play for ASU next year. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
DIVISION I STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
RED MOUNTAIN 8, MOUNTAIN RIDGE 1
Red Mtn. 020 303 0 — 8 10 0
Mtn. Ridge 000 000 1 — 1 7 0
RED MOUNTAIN: Fernandez 3-1-2-2, Wiley 2-0-0-1, Hill 4-0-1-2, Beck 4-0-1-0, Hertneky 0-1-0-0, Macha 2-0-1-1, Sotelo 0-2-0-0, Kirkpatrick 3-1-1-0, Ruf 4-1-2-1, Shupe 0-1-0-0, Gutierrez 4-1-2-1, Steverson 2-0-0-0. Totals: 28-8-10-8.
MOUNTAIN RIDGE: Griffin 4-0-3-1, Kaye 2-0-0-0, Green 3-0-0-0, DiCarlo 3-0-1-0, Ayotte 3-0-1-0, Carpio 3-0-0-0, Seegan 3-0-0-0, Juarez 3-0-1-0, Williams 0-1-0-0, Rath 3-0-1-0. Totals: 26-1-7-1.
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