King City Mustangs softball team are co-champs of the Cypress Division and will be heading to the Central Coast Section playoffs. (Contributed)

KING CITY — After dropping their last game to Pacific Grove, the King City softball team couldn’t capture the Cypress Division outright; however, with a win over Rancho San Juan, the Lady Mustangs became this season’s co-champs.

After starting 6-0 in the division, the Mustangs found themselves in a position that was possible they would miss out on the playoffs. With a 5-2 loss to Pacific Grove, they moved into a three-way tie for first place, with one game left in the regular season.

“We were disappointed,” said King City senior Victoria Hamilton. “We thought we just blew our chance at playoffs, which was hard to accept since we have such a skilled team.”

Going into the last game of the regular season against Rancho San Juan, the Lady Mustangs needed a win to keep their hopes alive to become co-champs and receive a playoff berth.

Also playing that day, Gonzales and Pacific Grove both entered their matchup with a league record of 9-2, and the winner of that game could become the league champion if King City lost to Rancho San Juan.

But the Lady Mustangs took care of business, crushing Rancho San Juan 23-4.

King City sophomore Lisa Villanueva put the team on her back and showed up in a must-win. She had doubles, two home runs and collected seven RBIs.

While at Pacific Grove, the Breakers got revenge on Gonzales, beating them 5-3 and clinching a share of the Cypress Division with King City.

Although the Lady Mustangs captured their spot as co-champs, they now had to secure their place in the playoffs. King City had to play the Gilroy Mustangs — a top 25 team in the Central Coast Section — to earn a spot in the CCS playoff bracket.

In a battle of Mustangs, it was King City who would outslug Gilroy 11-9. King City’s Sage Flores had three hits and two RBIs, while Hamilton had two hits and two RBIs.

One of the goals for the King City Mustangs was to win the league title and make a run in the playoffs. For the seniors and the rest of the team, they completed half of the journey.

“Having that title, especially senior year, is a huge accomplishment,” Hamilton said. “We earned it, and I couldn’t have asked for a better team and coaching staff to do it with.”

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Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.


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