They screamed and shouted words of encouragement for two hours, but when the Southern California State Division 4 Championship softball game at Monache High School between the Lady Marauders and Orange Cove Titans was over on Saturday, the afternoon didn't end as the team or fans desired.
But that didn't keep the MHS family, friends and fans from pouring love all over the East Yosemite League champion team.
“We’ll be focusing on the positive outcome and getting ready for (travel ball)” said Ashley Haslam, mother of freshman infielder Makenzie Haslam. “We came to all of the games. They played hard. Next year, we’ll do it again.”
It was a sentiment heard again and again after the game.
“They played hard,” Renee Hunter, mother of pitcher Morgan Hunter, also said as she shook her head. “We’ll win it next year. They tried hard.”
One thing was certain — the fans, family and friends of the 16-member team, never stopped their enthusiastic shouts. It was obvious they loved their team.
“Let’s go, Marauders,” “Nice pitch, Morgan,” “Nice contact,” and “Oh, Yes!” could be heard again and again as the game got underway.
With no scoring by either team until the top of the third inning when the Titans scored 3 runs, the score didn't discourage those watching the Lady Marauders. Instead, the encouragement by the fans only got louder.
And at the bottom of the fourth inning — the comeback inning — when the Marauders took a 6-4 lead, the fans went crazy — jumping and shouting and ringing bells. One man could be seen and heard on his cell phone, enthusiastically giving details of the plays to someone on the other side of the line. In the distance, one could see a few young fans sitting on top of the ledge of a fence, watching and waving their arms in enthusiasm.
“MHS! MHS! MHS! MHS!” Fans clapped and chanted over and over as gold and blue balloons decorating the bleachers moved with the wind, appearing as if dancing in tune to the chant.
At the top of the sixth, even with Orange Cove scoring another run, Monache still led 6-5 but were unable to add more runs during their time at bat.
Orange Cove rallied, took an 8-6 lead at the top of the seventh, leaving the Lady Marauders battling from behind. But the fan support didn't stop, yelling words of encouragement to the end.
And as the Orange Cove crowd cheered and celebrated, the Marauder fans continued to offer words of encouragement — telling the team to hold their heads high, that they did amazing, and that they were loved.
"I am so proud of how hard this talented group of young ladies played this season,” said MHS Principal Eric Barba. “They’ve represented Monache with pride, not only this game but this entire season.”