Part of being a great team is winning when you don't play your best.
No. 1 Westview (10-2, 1-0) did just that in a 6-4 win against Southridge (7-5, 0-1) in a windy Metro League opener on Tuesday night at Westview High School.
"We feel fortunate to get the win," Westview head coach Ronda Mckenzie said. "We don't feel we played our best game today."
While the Wildcats may not have been as sharp as typical, they battled and made plays in the clutch moments.
That was not more evident than in the seventh inning. Needing just three outs to put away the victory, Westview pitcher Abby Greer gave up a walk and two singles to load the bases with no outs and Southridge's four-five-six hitters coming up.
Greer responded the way a reigning Metro League Pitcher of the Year does, striking out the next three hitters looking to put the final touches on a gutsy victory.
"She was not on tonight," Mckenzie said of Greer. "She's a competitor though."
Greer threw a complete game, but not without her struggles. The junior got into trouble in the second inning after Hannah Jagow hit an RBI triple, which was followed by a two-run homer by Kalee Mabray to give Southridge a 3-1 lead.
The Skyhawks put together ten hits, but failed to drive in runners in scoring position in the third, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings.
Meanwhile, Westview recorded a hit in every inning, nine in total, but left eight runners on base. However, the Wildcats were able to take advantage of a couple of timely blasts.
Jodeci Tuia towered a two-run double with two outs to tie the game at three in the bottom of the third inning. The Wildcats took the lead in the fourth inning after Katie Rose Whetstine roped a line drive that just cleared the center field fence for a two-run home run. That also came with two outs.
"The home run and Jodeci's double with a couple runners on were huge," Mckenzie said.
Southridge responded in the fifth inning with an RBI double from Jordan Kelly to cut the deficit to 5-4. Westview immediately took back the insurance run after a Tuia ground out, giving the seven hitter her third RBI of the game.
While Tuia was the unlikely offensive hero, freshman Reece Martin was the unlikely defensive hero.
With runners on first and third and no outs in the sixth inning, Payge Brown sailed a fly ball to right field. Martin, who came into the game as a defensive replacement, made the catch and fired a rocket to home to gun down Mabray, who tagged from third base.
"We have a lot of depth," Mckenzie said. "We try to strengthen the outfield in the later innings. It paid off."
Clutch plays like Martin's salvaged a victory over a Southridge team who came into the game 3-1 against the state media poll's top ten teams. While it's a good win, Mckenzie hopes her team takes it as a learning lesson.
"Hopefully the girls can make some adjustments," she said. "We have very lofty goals this year and we need to play our best every day."
Westview will get a chance to play their best on Thursday when they go on the road to face Beaverton. Southridge will look to respond from the league-opening loss when they host Sunset on Thursday.