SAN JOSE – A thick cloud of dust enveloped home plate, but it was still clear to all that Cara Edwards had justified her coach’s trust in the catcher’s athleticism. 

A few seconds before, she stood on third base with two outs in the top of the sixth inning, a position Archbishop Mitty runners had scarcely found themselves in on Tuesday afternoon against Willow Glen ace Alanna Clincy. 

Mitty coach Megan Yocke had told Edwards not to hesitate to run if she saw a ball go into the dirt and past the catcher, even if the senior wasn’t the fastest player on the field. After all, opportunities like that may not have come around again. 

So when the breaking pitch made it to the backstop, the Mitty senior was ready to turn on the jets. Once Edwards crossed home plate, she screamed in celebration after scoring what would be the winning run in the Monarchs’ 2-1 victory over Willow Glen.  

“It was go-go-go, it was just a go-go-go mentality,” Edwards said. “The second the ball got away from her, I was running.”

Mitty had spent the past two weeks routing West Catholic Athletic League opponents after being swept by rival and national juggernaut St. Francis in early April. Meanwhile, Willow Glen had enjoyed an 11-game winning streak before falling 6-5 to reigning NorCal Open champion Hollister on Saturday. 

In what could be a preview of a section or even NorCal playoff matchup between top private and public school programs, both teams showed off elite pitching that should translate to the postseason. . 

Offensive highlights like Edwards’ were few and far between in a duel between super-sophomores in the circle. Clincy struck out 13 and allowed just four hits against one of the top offenses in the Central Coast Section, increasing her season strikeout total to 146. 

“We’re right in there with them,” Clincy said after holding her own against two of the best teams in the section. “We just have to tighten up our defense.”

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Mitty’s second-year righthander Kyleigh Mace was just as good, keeping Willow Glen off-balance all day with riseballs and breaking balls en-route to 10 strikeouts. 

“It was fun being able to layer my drop, and then going onto my rise,” said Mace, who now has a 1.54 ERA. 

Archbishop Mitty’s Kyleigh Mace (9) runs off the field with teammates Sara Pina (34) and Olivia Anderson (12) after a game against Willow Glen at Willow Glen High School in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) 

Mitty’s Mia Rodriguez went from first to third after a single when she stole a base and then took advantage of an error in the third inning, but Clincy struck out the side to escape the threat. 

Edwards and Megan Sutton stood on second and third with two outs again in the fourth, but once again, Clincy stayed calm and got out of the jam against a Mitty lineup missing injured shortstop McKenna Woliczko. 

Coming off the tough loss to defending CCS Open champions Hollister last week, Willow Glen wanted to make a statement. 

But as its pitcher mowed down Monarchs, the only noise the hitters could make was a Anaya Zambrano groundout RBI that drove in Lea Crawford to break a scoreless draw in the bottom of the fifth.

One run wouldn’t be enough for the Rams. 

“We’ve been in the driver’s seat for both of our losses,” Willow Glen Don Spingola said. “But we’ve given both teams a chance to come back, and that’s what they did because that’s what good teams do.”

Mitty’s usual catcher Corri Hicks, the Oklahoma commit playing first base on Tuesday, slapped a single into left field to get on base in the sixth. Then Edwards smacked a double into deep right field, driving in her fellow catcher and tying the game. 

After Edwards’ alert baserunning gave Mitty the lead, Mace took over from there. She struck out the side in a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth, and then worked around a single in the seventh by striking out and getting a grounder to close out the win over Willow Glen (16-6). 

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Mitty (16-3) is entering the stretch run of the regular season, the WCAL schedule wrapping up on May 10. 

If the Monarchs are to accomplish their postseason goal of lifting the CCS Open trophy, the must knock off undefeated St. Francis. 

Mitty is confident it can do it. 

“I’m itching for a rematch,” Edwards said. “We’re ready to get out there and face some top-level players and see St. Francis again.”

Archbishop Mitty's Cara Edwards (23) dives into home on a wild pitch against Willow Glen at Willow Glen High School in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)
Archbishop Mitty’s Cara Edwards (23) dives into home on a wild pitch against Willow Glen at Willow Glen High School in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) 

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