The Holtville Vikings softball team look to first first division title in 23 years
HOLTVILLE, Calif. ( KYMA, KECY-TV ) - The Holtville Vikings softball team returns to the CIF San Diego Section Division championship game on Saturday for the first time since 1998.
"I told my team, yes you have those butterflies but you're excited," Holtville head coach Melissa Snyder said. "This is the game we've been talking about since February and March. You know, this is the date we've had in our mind since we stepped foot back on that field."
Holtville started the season 10-0 before losing to Morse on April 28th. The Vikings then rattled off six straight wins before losing the final three games of the regular season. Those three losses cost the Vikings the Imperial Valley League championship to Brawley.
After the regular season ended, Snyder didn't want her team to dwell on mission out on the regular season crown. She brought in a motivation speaker to talk to her team about what it takes to have a championship mindset.
"Over these last two weeks I feel like our team, just the knowledge that we've been able to take in," Snyder said. "I told the girls to act like a sponge and ask a lot of questions. The information he shared doesn't just pertain to this game we love to play, it goes much further than that."
The Vikings took that knowledge and motivation to heart. Using as a fuel to smash their way through the divisional playoffs undefeated, outscoring their opponents 23-1. Holtville also received a forfeit along the way from La Jolla, the #3 seed and a team they defeated 13-1 the previous week. Heading into Saturday's championship, Holtville hasn't played in over a week.
"We just dealt with it the best way we could," Snyder said. "We held a little intrasquad scrimmage. Our pitchers got to pitch to live hitters, our hitters got to hit off live pitching. We just stayed within our controlables."
Snyder also used the extra time to scout the upcoming opponent, Bayfront Charter.
"They have four pitchers," Snyder said. "I'd say all four pitchers are pretty much the same. I wouldn't say they have an ace, just because by their stats, their innings are pretty evenly spread out. I'm not sure who we're going to face."
Snyder said it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that Bayfront Charter is 26-3 compared to Holtville's record of 18-4. Doesn't matter that Bayfront has played seven more games.
"We gotta remember that this is what we wanted," Snyder said. "This is what we worked for and it is, at the end of the day, just another game. So, we've got to stay in the mindset, keep ourselves calm and if we do get nervous, reframe and get us back to that calm and confident mindset."
In 1998, Holtville won the championship game. This year if they win it, they'll advance to the CIF regional state playoffs for the first time in school history. A step that wasn't available in 1998.
First pitch between Holtville and Bayfront is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at Helix High School in La Mesa.