Mountain View softball arrived a year earlier than most envisioned.
Led by standout pitcher Sydney Brown (256 strikeouts, 1.42 ERA as junior), the Thunder rolled to a 24-4 record, a 3A Greater St. Helens League title and a fourth-place state finish.
It was their best finish in more than a decade.
“None of us have ever done that before,” said Brown, a senior and Western Washington commit. “It gave us a feel for it.”
Now they know what it takes, and know they have the talent to repeat or better many of the same feats. But they’re also well aware of the pit falls.
“We’re a little more intense,” senior Maelyn Ocampo said. “We all hold each other accountable because we know how good we can be.”
The Thunder graduate just three players from last year’s squad, a team that despite winning the league title had zero players on the all-league first team. Brown was the player of the year.
“We definitely had some girls on the team that deserved to be first team for sure,” Brown said. “But it happened the way it happened and we didn’t let it affect us at all. If anything, it gave us a little push in districts and state.”
The continuity, along with the accountability, position Mountain View to again be league-title contenders should spring sports resume in the coming month.
While it helps to have the punchout power of Brown in the circle, the Thunder know to be ready for action.
“It’s a great feeling knowing our pitcher can strike them all out and not have to do a lot of work,” Ocampo said. “But when there is a batter that does hit the ball, Sydney doesn’t have to worry that we won’t be able to back her up. We all work so hard to be able to do that. Because she’s an outstanding pitcher, we have to be accountable.”
Brown didn’t hesitate to add on: “I have all the trust in the world in you all.”
And that’s where Mountain View has grown the most under second-year coach Ashleigh Byrne: as a team.
“Our communication is really good on the field,” Ocampo said. “We’ve evolved more on teamwork and relying on each other and playing as one. This isn’t an individual sport.”
Despite the high expectations, Brown made clear the team is trying to stay humble. They thrived as an unexpected contender last season, and while it feels different as a frontrunner, the foundation remains unchanged.
Said Brown: “We’re just excited to get back on the field.”