Guye’s big day plays-in to Olympians playoff plans


Ambria Guye’s teammates wait at home plate to celebrate her game-tying home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Photo Credit: Daniel Betancourt.

Clay Fordham, Sports Editor

Call it the playoffs already, if you must, but ranked at No. 15, the Olympians’ softball team squared off against No. 18 San Bernardino Valley on May 3 in a win-or-go-home play-in contest. Mesa was uplifted by the heroics of third baseman Ambria Guye as they defeated the Wolverines, 6-5.

Coach Jaclyn Guidi said it best: “We’re on a roll.”

Mesa entered the game having won 11 of their last 12 regular-season games, and the postseason is all about who’s hot at the right time.

The two teams had some history as they faced each other back on Feb. 15 and split a double-header with the Wolverines. The postseason seems only appropriate for this sort of rubber match. 

Guye humbly spoke of her contributions and said, “I just wanted to do my best to help my team out. Our pitchers were working hard, and we really wanted to win this game.” Her approach in those high-leverage moments was simple, she continued, “ I was just looking for whatever I could to put us ahead.”

Guye’s 3-for-4 effort at the plate stood out from the 14 total team hits, and she provided two of the biggest moments in the game.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, catcher Carissa Topolinski singled home second baseman Arianna Salazar bringing Mesa home a run. Topolinski was thrown out at second base attempting to stretch her single in the process. 

Then Guye stepped to the plate. After missing an opportunity to drive in some runs her first at-bat, she belted a ball to deep left-center field that almost took out one of Mesa’s beach volleyball players standing beside their court. 

Courtesy of her big swing the Olympians tied it up at 4-4. 

Before the fans in attendance could sit back in their seats, first baseman Jolene Giles sent a ball out to deep right field that narrowly cleared the fence. Back-to-back home runs put Mesa up in front 5-4.

All of the momentum had momentarily swung back into the home team’s dugout as they all cheered gleefully for their teammate Giles after touching home. 

The next half-inning, the Olympians tried to flash the leather, but some defensive miscues led to the tying run coming across. Pitcher Bailey Oftedahl, who relieved Arianna Izaguirre after 3.1 innings of work,  was able to bare down and strand the leading runners – game tied at 5-5.

After trading zeros in consecutive half innings, center fielder Hannah Anderson played as the spark plug as she stung a double and advanced to third via a passed ball by the catcher. 

Guye, once again, stepped up to the dish for the most pivotal at-bat of the game. She pulled her hands through, got the bat-head out in front, and scorched a double past the third baseman down the left field line. Bringing in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth. 

From that point the Olympians were able to hold for a 6-5 victory, sending them on to the first round of the playoffs.

All three of Guye’s hits brought an RBI giving her three for the day – also finishing a triple short of the cycle. Her third-inning single put Mesa on the board, and she later came around to score on an error after Kori Jonilonis’ single. 

Guye said the team is going to leave it all on the field when they face No. 2 Mt. San Antonio in the first round.

“It’s about playing hard and going all out like it’s our last game,” she said. “We’ll make sure we’re playing with all our hearts while remembering to have fun and playing for each other.”

The challenge lying ahead gave coach Guidi the chance to find an alternate positive perspective.

“They’re good, and we know that,” Guide said. “To me, we have the advantage because they have the pressure. They’re the team that beat everyone. We have to go in with nothing to lose and put some pressure on them.  Maybe they make that one mistake, right? I tell the kids you can always catch a good team on a bad day.”

Mesa will travel up north to take on the Mounties in a best-of-three-games series starting May 6.