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Softball wins CIF

by John Duran
The Mount Miguel Matadors won the school's only CIF team championship this year after defeating the Knights of Foothills Christian 12-1 in five innings at UCSD Friday afternoon.

The Matadors were lead by starting pitcher Stephanie Herrera to earn the school's first CIF softball title in 20 years.

"I'm just really proud of my team at the moment," Herrera, who only gave up four hits with one unearned run over five innings, said. "Going into this game everybody thought we were going to lose just because we lost yesterday but we just came and gave it our all and put our hearts on the field."

"MVP all the way," Head Coach Kevin Darby said of Herrera's performances throughout the playoffs. "She pitched five out of six games. I think five out of six games we scored more than 10 runs. She was the catalyst for everything. Her work on the mound and the defense to back her up was just phenomenal."

The Matadors entered the playoffs as the five seed, with a first year head coach and no playoff experience. They ran off three straight wins before falling to the Knights on Thursday 6-1. They followed up the lose with a 12-5 win over Classical Academy to set up the rematch with the Knights.

Darby and his staff kept his team focused after the loss, made the proper adjustments and dominated the Knights every inning.

Nereida Berrios felt the Matadors offense would give them a chance if they followed their coaching staff's instructions.

"We just decided to stay strong," Berrios said. "Keep the bats working if we're doing bad on defense. If we hit the ball we knew we could win the game."

Berrios, a senior, will leave Mount Miguel as a CIF champion after missing out on the tournament every year prior. Her joy and excitement after the game was evident.

"It honestly feels great," Berrios explained. "I've honestly prayed for this since my freshman year. I'm really shocked that we made it.It feels really good to put Mount Miguel on the map."

In front of season-long supporting parents, students and staff, Darby, his staff and team were taking it all in.

"A lot of emotions. Emotions flowing through me. Originally when we got out here we felt we were already winners. We tried to be loose, tried have confidence, tried have fun win or lose. Enjoy the game and where we're playing it at and just try to play in the moment and not get too caught up in what it really was," Darby said.

The Matadors softball team under Darby had magic in his first year. The first year head coach is excited for the program's future.

"I want to build this program to where we are in CIF playoffs regularly," Darby said. "And try to bring the pride back to Mount Miguel."

He and his team already did.