PUBLISHED: June 3, 2017 at 4:18 pm | UPDATED: June 3, 2017 at 6:06 pm
IRVINE — For much of the game, Murrieta Mesa softball coach Antonio Romero played for one run at a time, asking his hitters to bunt four times after the Rams had a runner reach safely to start an inning.
That wasn’t the strategy when Zoey Clark came to the plate in the eighth inning.
Clark, the team’s cleanup hitter, jumped on the first pitch she saw from Newhall Hart’s Kylie Norwood, and she crushed it well over the fence in center field to give Murrieta Mesa a 3-1 win in the Division 3 title game.
It was redemption for Clark, who grounded into a double play when Norwood entered as a reliever in the sixth inning.
“I’ve never hit a walk-off homer before,” said Clark, a sophomore who has been in and out of the lineup this season because of injury. “I wanted that one real bad. I knew the adjustment I needed to make from the first time that I faced her, and I was able to get a good pitch. That hit was for my girls.”
The section championship in the program’s first postseason trip was the culmination of a breakthrough season. Murrieta Mesa didn’t have much softball history before 2017, but the Rams won the Stu Penter Classic title to open the season and posted a 3-2 record at the Michelle Carew Classic.