By: Hank Krause
The Akron-Westfield girls won their fifth state championship in a nail-biter over the New London Tigers in the Class 1-A final on Friday, July 26, in a final score of 5-4.
If you want to talk about determination, resilience, or positive attitudes, here is a classic case.
A-W had to overcome some real obstacles but they hung in there and did it.
Actually, the score should have read A-W 5, NL 1, Umpires 3. The three umpires assigned to this game should have or may have been assigned by Barnum & Bailey. They had a questionable act.
New London scored four times in the second inning. It all started when the Tigers had a runner on first. With Lady Tiger Emily Parks on first, Emma Pry hit a sharp grounder towards second. The ball hit Parks and all three clowns didn’t see it. Everybody in the stands and the players saw it but these three didn’t. I asked the home plate guesser to explain it to me. He said, “I don’t know. I was watching the runner go to first.” His job is supposed to watch the ball and break towards third in case of a play there. At this time, the wheels came off a little bit.
The A-W girls were a little shook up as they committed five errors which was uncommon. Kayla Tindall also uncorked two wild pitches. I don’t think Tindall liked Sami Koontz, as Kayla plunked her twice in the course of the game, once in the head and once in the ribs. That had to hurt!!!
A-W got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth as Haley Coyle singled. Jordan Hansen got on by an error and Sarah Schroeder drove Danika Tindall, running for Coyle, home. A-W trailed 4-1 at this time.
In the fifth, things started to look better. Brandi Davis singled to start things off with two outs. Coyle singled and moved up on a wild pitch. Jordan Hansen ripped a double down the left field line. Schroeder came through with a slow roller to score Hansen and knot it up at four.
In the seventh, Jaclyn Smith singled and moved to second as Kortney Hedlund grounded back to the pitcher. Bailey Davis pounded one to left center, scoring Smith.
The real drama started at this point, and Koontz got put out. Caitlin Chiri got on by a fielder’s choice. Morgan Christner walked, but both moved to second and third. Emma Pry, the No. 5 hitter for the Tigers, came to the plate with the tying run 60 feet away and the winner 120 feet away. With the count two and two, Tindall let go with the pitch of the year. Pry never had a chance as she missed it by a foot. A-W champions once again!!
Leading hitters for A-W were Davis, Katie Johnson, Haley Coyle and Sarah Schroeder. They all had two hits each.
A-W had some great plays and efforts in the tournament: Ryleigh Schnell’s unbelieveable play against Don Bosco, Katie Johnson’s catch against Don Bosco, and Bethany Eastman’s stop on a shot down the line. Ann Hedlund, another eighth grader, coming in to catch for Haley Coyle. Coyle’s clutch hits or the great hit by Bailey Davis.
A-W ends the year by winning the War Eagle Conference for the 12th year in a row, being State Champions and having an overall record of 37-2.
The young girls make us old folks feel good and extremely proud. As I travel the area, I’m often asked where I’m from. I say Akron Iowa, and they would say, “Oh, yes! A-W, the softball power. How do they do it?”
Congratulations to Bailey Davis, Dana Hedlund and team captain Kayla Tindall for the All-Tournament team honors. Congrats to the four coaches: Todd Colt, Kent Johnson, Rachel Harris, and Brandi Davis.
The only question now is what do we do for the next month?
AW 0-0-0-0-1-3-1= 5-10-7
NL 0-4-0-0-0-0-0= 4- 3-4
*You might be a redneck if you are the inspiration for your pastor’s sermon.