Phoenix, AZ - The Mesa Thunderbirds softball team won their first playoff game in seven years with a 7-4 victory over South Mountain in the first game of the Region I-DII playoffs at Phoenix College.
The win also marks the first career playoff win for Head Coach Grady Moorhead, who served as an assistant coach the last time Mesa won their last playoff game in 2010.
Valeria Macias started the scoring for Mesa in the bottom of the first inning, while with the bases loaded, wrapped a triple down the right field line, scoring Lindsey Paboucek, Marissa Ibarra-Palomo and Leighann Ballesteros. Paboucek and Ibarra-Palomo reached with singles and Ballesteros was then hit by a pitch.
In the second inning, Tori Gonzalez scored on a double from Lindsey Paboucek to help Mesa extend their lead to 4-1. Then in the third, Macias led off the inning with a single up the middle and with two outs, Gonzalez knocked in Macias to make it a 5-1 game.
The Cougars would score a run in the fourth but in the bottom of the fifth inning, Paboucek singled to center field with two runners on. Gonzalez would score from second and with a throwing error from the Cougar center fielder, Raychele Hernandez was able to move up and score.
South Mountain would score two more runs but that's all Emerald Grijalva would allow. Grijalva pitched a complete game, 10 hitter, striking out three.
With the victory, Mesa played the winner of Phoenix College and Paradise Valley, which would end up being the PC Bears.
Though the T-Birds had some good at-bats and stuck to their game plan, the Bears beat Mesa 6-1.
With it being a double elimination tournament, Mesa will play again Saturday morning at 10 am against South Mountain again, who beat Paradise Valley in the 1 pm elimination game.