The ability to battle through adversity was readily apparent for the Redmond Mustangs throughout the state softball tournament.
The Mustangs, who won a class 3A state title during the 2017 season, earned fourth place at the Class 3A state tournament on May 26 at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey. The Mustangs went 4-2 at the tourney, earning victories against Yelm, Kamiakin, Gig Harbor and Marysville-Pilchuck. The Mustangs lost to Mount Spokane in the Class 4A quarterfinals and Yelm in the third-/fourth-place contest. The Mustangs won three of their final four games at the tourney.
Redmond head coach Alison Mitchell believes her team played more relaxed after losing in the quarterfinals to Mount Spokane.
“We returned so many kids from last year’s team and so many starters. They were playing really tight, even through districts. It was like an unspoken thing whether they realized it or not. We were playing like we couldn’t make a mistake. After we lost that game against Mount Spokane, we were disappointed and there was a lot of tears but the weight was lifted where it felt like there wasn’t that much pressure anymore. We were back to our old selves where it was no big deal and we could just be free swinging the bats again and just playing loose,” Mitchell said. “We really bounced back as a team. It was good to see that.”
The Mustangs finished the 2018 season with an overall record of 27-3. Redmond junior pitcher Kiki Milloy, who has verbally committed to the University of Tennessee softball program, pitched five of the six games at the state tournament. Senior Sophia Viola pitched the third game of the tournament against Kamiakin. Catcher Jen Cummings connected on five home runs during the tournament.
Mitchell said having two dynamic pitchers in the circle with No. 1 starter Milloy and No. 2 starter Viola has propelled the Mustang program over the years.
“When Sophia was a freshman, she was our only pitcher and she took us to state, where we got seventh place, which was a huge feat. Kiki came in the next year and Sophia became the No. 2 pitcher. Since Kiki got here, Sophia has been her biggest supporter. There is no ego involved at all. They have done amazing things for our program and have set the tone. It worked out really well for both of them,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said her team gave it everything they had throughout the duration of the tournament.
“No one likes to end the season on loss, but the girls were proud of themselves, as they should be, and I was extremely proud of them because we were running on fumes at the end. We gave everything. There was not a lot left in the tank,” Mitchell said. “We will come back hungry next year. Especially since we are moving up to 4A (classification). We will have that spark. I know we will.”