NOVATO -- Sarah Reynolds singled in the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth to lift the Campolindo High softball team to a 4-3 win over Terra Linda-San Rafael in the North Coast Section Division III championship game Saturday night at San Marin High in Novato.
"I had just got a little anxious in my last at bat," Reynolds said. "Coach Bob (McLaughlin) just told me to calm down and take a deep breath. So I did and just focused on the ball and made a good hit."
The hit came minutes after No. 1 seed Terra Linda (23-5) tied the game on a three-run home run by Cheyenne Cooper with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. But the fact that this team had to do things the hard way was no surprise.
The title was an improbable one for Campolindo (15-9), which started out the season with Joe Long as head coach. However, Long resigned under pressure from parents, according to the school newspaper, La Puma.
McLaughlin, the wrestling coach at Campolindo and a former softball assistant, stepped in during spring break with the Cougars holding a 3-5 record.
Campolindo won its first game, then lost three in a row. The Cougars then won seven of their final nine games to squeak into the North Coast Section playoffs as a No. 7 seed with an 11-9 record.
"It's just crazy," Reynolds said. "It's been crazy but we've just pushed through. We've come together as a team these last couple of games more than I can ever imagine us coming together. It's just been amazing. It's been a great season."
The game was scoreless into the fifth when Campolindo scored three runs. Zoe Marrott doubled in two of them and Kristen Ghamghami followed with a double for the third run.
Shelly Suhling made that stand up until the seventh. A hit batter and her own error helped set up Cooper's home run which cleared the Blake's Auto Body sign in left field. Suhling went the distance for the win, allowing the three unearned runs on five hits, striking out six against two walks.