MURRIETA -- After allowing a pair of runs on three errors in the first inning Wednesday, Vista Murrieta right fielder Heidi Velk called the troops in for a much needed conversation at the circle.
The result was evident immediately.
Starting pitcher Selina Ta'amilo retired the following two batters to get out of the inning and sat down 14 of the next 16 batters she faced to lead the Broncos to an 8-3 Southwestern League victory over Great Oak.
"We started out playing too safe," Vista Murrieta head coach Dan Torres said. "We knew that this was a big game and how important it was to the standings, and we were just playing too tight.
"After the conference, they really calmed down and decided to play the way they knew how to play. It turned everything around."
Southwestern League-leading Vista Murrieta (17-5, 9-1) wasted no time regaining the lead, shelling out four hits in the bottom of the first to a take a 4-2 advantage. After singles from Velk and Sierra Romero, Jizelle Morando doubled home the pair to tie the contest.
Senior catcher Katie Tackett then blasted a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right center to push the Broncos ahead.
"The pitch was middle in, and I drove it keeping my hands inside," Tackett said. "It went off the bat hard. I saw it well."
Torres attributed confidence to the quick comeback.
"It's all about continuing to work hard every day," Torres said. "When you do that, it builds your confidence, and you're able to call on it in situations like today. Even after allowing those two runs in the first, we knew this game was nowhere near over and that we would be able to put the ball in play."
Ta'amilo, a freshman, took the lead and ran with it, using her changeup and rise to complete the game. She allowed only two earned runs off four hits while striking out seven.
Great Oak (14-6, 6-4) starter Hannah Dewey pitched five innings and allowed six earned runs off nine hits, while striking out seven and walking one.
Tackett finished her day going 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
"She is hitting the ball well right now," Torres said. "We have a saying here --"Aim small, hit big" -- and she has that focus down now. She is getting that tunnel vision and is seeing the middle of the ball. "
With the win, Vista Murrieta remained a game ahead of second-place Chaparral, which defeated Murrieta Mesa on Wednesday.
"With the one league loss, and Chaparral right behind us, every game almost feels like a championship game," Torres said.
Vista Murrieta and Great Oak will meet for the final time this season Friday.