The drama disappeared once the Mount Shasta High School softball team reached the Northern Section Division 4 championship game Saturday at Sutter.
The biggest question might have involved whether or not the Bears would get a hit off Sutter senior Jessica Moore, who had allowed only one baserunner in their two previous playoff games – by way of a walk.
On the way to an 11-1 loss, the Bears did a get a hit, but just one, by freshman Kayla Spini –  and it was more of a defensive swing than anything else, according to Mount Shasta coach Greg Eastman.
What transpired earlier in the week, however, is worth shouting about for the Bears,  including a thrilling playoff opening home field win in extra innings over Yreka May 12 – on a walk-off home run by Spini.
The No. 3 seeded Bears  then knocked off No. 2 seed Wheatland on Thursday in Wheatland, 9-4, to earn their spot in the championship game.
And on Friday, Mount Shasta’s SCL champion Bears received more good news: Spini, in her freshman season, was selected as the league’s most valuable player, and she was joined on the All-SCL?team by seniors Kayla Emerson and Cynthia Laiacona and sophomores Tori Weatherford and Makenzie Hanna.
Spini, a seasoned veteran  on the summer softball circuits, had a dominating season in her inaugural campaign at the high school level, posting a 24-6 won-loss record with 278 strikeouts.
Sutter’s Moore, on the other hand, struck out 504 this season, was a perfect 34-0, and only allowed 24 hits with something like 17 no-hitters.
“She’s unbelievable,”?Eastman said. “We were totally overmatched.”
The Bears scored their only run after a walk. Then on a two-out hit-and-run play, Mount Shasta’s batter struck out, but the catcher didn’t handle the ball cleanly then threw it into centerfield.
“The right team won,” Eastman said. “I told our girls to remember their 26 wins, SCL championship and getting to the section championship game. It gives us something to shoot for in the future.”
At Wheatland, the Bears had to come from behind for the second time in their two straight playoff wins.
They did so by scoring five runs in the top of the sixth inning to erase a 4-2 deficit.
Mount Shasta’s biggest bats all season, Spini and catcher Weatherford, were a combined 0-for-7 at Wheatland, but it didn’t matter.
Emma Taylor had three hits, including one of the Bears’ three doubles.
Kismet Prosper singled, doubled and scored three runs.
Sammy Reed singled, doubled and scored twice.
Kayla Emerson singled twice.
Donnetta Young singled and drove in two runs.
Also for the second time in two playoff games, Spini got better later in the game, holding Wheatland scoreless in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. She allowed seven hits, walked four and struck out seven.
Spini blanked Yreka over the final four innings as the Bears rallied from a 5-0 deficit to win it, 6-5.
Spini led off the bottom of the fourth with a double, then Weatherford hit a two-run home run to cut Yreka’s lead to 5-2.
The Bears got within a run on a pair of run-scoring hits in the sixth by Cynthia Laiacona and Emma Taylor.
When the Miners got a runner to third base in the seventh inning, Bears third baseman Mackenzie Hanna fielded a ground ball, looked the runner back and threw to first for the out as the Yreka runner broke for home. A perfect throw by Sammy Reed to Weatherford got her at the plate to complete a doubleplay.
Down to their final half inning and still trailing by a run, the Bears stayed alive thanks to some aggressive baserunning by Emerson. Standing on second base when Yreka’s second baseman caught a pop up in short right field with her back to the infield, Emerson immediately took off for third. When the throw got away from Yreka’s third baseman, Emerson came around to score, raising her arms in glee as she crossed the plate.
Spini retired the Miners one-two-three in the top of the eighth, then led off the Bears’ half of the first extra inning.
“I told her I?expected them to walk her,”?Eastman said. “I said if they do throw you a strike, then swing away after that. They threw her a strike; on the next pitch she hit a bullet line drive over the fence.”
Spini was greeted by a happy bunch of teammates at home plate.
“Any time you come back from 5-0 to win a game it’s exciting,” Eastman said,”?but to do it in the playoffs against a very good team – it was a super-exciting moment for our girls... these girls never quit.”