Todd Verwers did his best to stay poised, but the emotion of winning a state championship finally took over his body.
Verwers and third-ranked (Class 1A) Martensdale-St. Mary's defeated No. 3 Earlham in an instant classic Friday at Rogers Park, scoring the lone run in the 11th to claim a 1-0 victory.
The Blue Devils (41-2 overall) finished the year on a 24-game win streak, including the biggest of them all on the grandest stage.
"I'm doing my best to not get too emotional," said Verwers, who has guided Martensdale-St. Mary's to five consecutive state appearances, including a runner-up showing in 2008. "You uproot your family and have a community embrace you; this is just such a wonderful feeling."
Meagan Streyffeler, one of three players who took part in the'08 state finals, scored the game-winning run on a squeeze bunt by Emma Ferin with one out. Earlham (35-5) third baseman Kristen Weber tried to make a play, but Streyffeler slide in safely.
"When I scored, it didn't really feel like the game-winning run until everyone started jumping up and down and celebrating," Streyly said. "(Being a state champion) sounds really good."
Martensdale-St. Mary's 1,
Earlham 0 (11 inn.)
Earlham 000 000 000 00 0 6 4
M-SM 000 000 000 01 1 5 1
Amber Logemann (L, 29-2, 10 1/3 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 21 K) and Amy Wright; Emma Michels (W, 27-1, 11 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 5 K) and Vicki Kordick. DP M-SM: 1. LOB E: 9, M-SM 12. SB-M-SM: Kylah Schumacher. RBI-M-SM: Emma Ferin.
The Blue Devils were able to get the better of Cardinal ace Amber Logemann, who tied a single-game tournament-record with 21 strikeouts. The senior, who was named captain of the all-tourney team for a second time, finished her three-game stretch with 46 strikeouts and just one run allowed.
The 46 strikeouts are also a tournament record.
"Amber Logemann is one of the best pitchers in the state. Not just in Class 1A, in the entire state," Verwers said. "We knew we would have to make something happen on the bases against her, and that's what we did."
Martensdale-St. Mary's had squandered plenty of chances, leaving a total of 12 runners on base during the game. In the 11th, Nicole Shutt laid down a bunt to advance Streyffeler to second, and Emma Michels was walked.
Elizabeth Gerdes reached on a fielder's choice, loading the bases for Ferin's squeeze bunt.
"We've played (small ball) all year," Streyffeler said. "We didn't execute a few times early in the game, but (in the 11th) we were able to get our bunts down and score."
The Cardinals had plenty of chances of their own, leaving nine runners on base. In the top of the 11th, Earlham was unable to plate a run with two on and just one out, as Logemann popped out and Kristen Weber lined out.
While not as dominate as Logemann, Michels kept the Cardinal hitters at bay, scattering six hitters over 11 innings. She struck out five and walked four.
Streyffeler and Ferin each had two hits, while Weber led Earlham with a pair of base hits. Amy Wright, the top power source for the Cardinals, was walked four times, though she did take a few cuts at some pitches that were meant to be high.
Wright, Logemann, Megan Algreen and Tess Ory were all part of Earlham's 2009 state title team. They finished fifth a year ago.
Martensdale-St. Mary's had reached the been knocked into the consolation championship each of the past three years, but broke through and into the finals by defeating Charter Oak-Ute on Thursday.
"I wouldn't say we had a monkey on our back, but it was really nice to get past the semis and into the finals," Verwers said. "Words cannot express what this feels like right now."
Hailey Sweet, who will attend the University of Iowa in the fall, was named to her fifth all-tournament team. She plated the winning run in the semifinal round victory over Charter Oak-Ute on a similar play to the one that won the Blue Devils their first state title.