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RedHawks send Watt out a winner
For more than two decades Randy Watt put together a strong softball program at Colusa High but the championship eluded his grasp.
In his 23rd and final season, a team with three sophomores and one freshman in the starting lineup made the long road trip to play top-ranked Mt. Shasta High and pulled off a 4-3, 12-inning victory.
The 2012 Northern Section Division V softball championship isn't just Watt's first, it's the first in Colusa history.
The victory felt especially good for Watt, who won four section titles in four years as the RedHawks girls soccer coach but only made the section championship in softball one other time, losing to Etna 2-1 in 2009.
"To be perfectly honest it was good to win because I finally got a championship in something I know about," Watt said with a laugh.
Some of the teams Watt coached had better records and appeared to be better in box scores, but the 2012 team had something special down the stretch, he said.
"Maybe this team was better than the other teams, particularly the last two games they were really emotionally involved to a level I hadn't seen before," Watt said.
The RedHawks (17-6-1, 9-1 Sacramento Valley League co-champions) needed eight innings to beat Quincy in the semifinals on Thursday and 12 innings to beat Mt. Shasta on Saturday but despite being young and lacking in pure firepower, they fought through tough situations.
Mt. Shasta (31-4, 10-0 Shasta Cascade League champions) jumped on RedHawks starter Sophia Garcia for two runs on three hits in the first inning, but she settled down and allowed just four hits in the next 11 innings.
Sophomore rightfielder Coral Imhoff dropped a hooking line drive in the bottom of the 10th inning but made a good throw to the cutoff, senior first baseman Katie Mobley, who threw a strike to senior catcher Brittanee Garcia who tagged the runner out at home and kept the RedHawks alive.
Sophia Garcia not only pitched brilliantly for 12 innings, striking out 16 Bears hitters, but she also led off the top of the 12th with a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice by Brittanee Garcia and scored on a single up the middle by junior shortstop Ashleigh Biggs.
Garcia then pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the 12th for the victory, getting the Bears to ground out twice and getting the other out on a foul pop-out.
"It was apropos that the last out was a ground ball to Emily Corriea who fielded it and threw a strike across the field. The freshman gets to make the last out, or contribute to the last out anyway," Watt said.
The RedHawks out-hit the Bears 11-7, receiving two-hit games from Brittanee Garcia, Sophia Garcia and Mattie Myers, who hit a triple and drove in two runs. Biggs went 3 for 4 with a run scored and drove in the winning run. Sophomore center fielder Yasmin Moreno doubled and drove in a run, and Mobley hit a single.
Mt. Shasta pitcher Kayla Spini was a force to be reckoned with, striking out 17, but Garcia was just as dominant.
"I thought this year, based on last year, that Sophia would get a lot of groundball outs and flyouts. I think her strikeouts per inning has got to be close to what Tiffany Friel had, so that was surprising. She shouldered the load," Watt said.
Now that Watt has coached his final high school game, he plans on moving to Chico and spending the next few months working on house projects. Watt pitches in an adult fast-pitch league in Orland but said this year might be his last doing that as well.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.