A softball game worth seeing

Posted by: Press Democrat correspondent Dewey Forget

Softball as played in the North Coast Section is some of the best in the state and the nation.
Livermore of the East Bay League and Freedom of the Bay Valley Athletic League are nationally ranked. Our Montgomery team is state-ranked in Division II.
On Wednesday the Vikings host Las Lomas in the semifinals of the NCS Div. II. It might be one of the more interesting games on the schedule, in any division – softball or baseball.
The Vikings are a young team that plays beyond its years. They start only two seniors, Deven Kestler in center and Amanda Kurt at third. Yet, in their win against Redwood on Saturday, they exhibited maturity that is common with senior-laden teams, coming from behind twice to defeat the Giants, 4-3. No panic with this group.
Against Las Lomas, the Vikings will have to be at their best. Las Lomas, the No. 4 seed, will be one of the best hitting teams the Vikings have faced this season with a .344 team average. Melissa Brymner is hitting .458 with four homers and 24 RBIs and Hannah Port has 38 RBIs to go along with a .417 average.
Montgomery is hitting .337, led by Liz Albrecht at better than .500. Sounds like a slug-fest in the making, right? Not necessarily. Here’s the paradox.
Pitching is still the key element. Montgomery’s Taylor Stroud’s ERA is under 0.50 and Port has an ERA of 0.66. As Montgomery coach Mike Malvino said a few games back. “Against pitchers of this caliber, it’s hard to string together several hits.”
Hence, the batting averages can be gaudy and the ERAs still very low. If the Vikings get past Las Lomas, they would get a crack at the winner of the Concord-Pinole Valley contest. Most insiders feel Pinole Valley is the second-best team in Div. II, behind Montgomery, the top seed.
If you get a chance drop by Wednesday, it will be fun. Also, you will be impressed with the dressed up Montgomery field.