NBL softball: Vikings rally past Panthers


Montgomery’s Vic Diab, the leading hitter in the North Bay League, came through in the clutch Tuesday as her double drove in the go-ahead run and the Vikings rallied to defeat Santa Rosa, 5-4.

Diab’s opposite-field shot to the right side scored two in the fifth inning as Montgomery rallied from a 4-1 deficit. The senior also singled in the third en route to a 2-for-3 afternoon that raised her average to .523.

The Vikings desperately needed this game if they hoped to finish second in league behind Rancho Cotate (9-0). The importance of the game was on Diab’s mind when she came up in the first and fanned.
“That was the first time this year I struck out and it was because I was over-thinking,” she said. “I had to remind myself to relax.

Their pitcher (freshman Johanna Peelen) was trying to get me to chase outside pitches, so I decided to wait and take it to the opposite field.”

Her single to right in the third didn’t produce a run, but the liner to the same place in the fifth knocked in Hannah Boxerman and Nicole Valencia.

Now up by one, coach Mike Malvino brought in Briahna Murguia to protect the lead and save the win for starting pitcher Boxerman. The freshman did just that. She gave up a double to Denia Vera in the sixth but retired the other six batters she faced.

“This was payback,” Malvino said with a smile. “When we played at Santa Rosa, we had a big lead and they came back to beat us, 8-7.

“This is the make-or-break week of our season. Now we have to get ready for games with Maria Carrillo on Thursday and Friday.”
The Pumas are 8-1 in league and Montgomery is 5-3.

The Vikings began their current seven-game win streak after losing five straight.
Santa Rosa had won its previous five and, like Montgomery, is 5-3 in NBL.

Panthers coach Jeff Pratt wasn’t happy after Tuesday’s loss.

“My players didn’t put forth the effort needed to beat a good team like Montgomery,” he said. “They were playing not to lose instead of playing to win. They weren’t swinging the bat aggressively like they can. In the field, the effort wasn’t there. They weren’t getting dirty stopping balls they should’ve at least gotten a glove on.”

Santa Rosa scored once in the third and fourth and twice in the fifth. The most impressive hit was Sarah Andersen’s home run over the 200-foot sign in center field. Vera, Natalie Vasquez and Maddie Taylor also had RBIs.

The Panthers are 11-5 overall and the Vikings are 11-7.