Bondurant-Farrar ended its frustrations in the state tournament semifinals in stunning fashion on Diamond 1 Thursday afternoon, rallying past top-ranked Sergeant Bluff-Luton, 3-2, in eight innings in the Class 3A semifinals.
The Lady Jays (29-12) earned a championship berth for the first time school history by scoring single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth, including a two-out, game-winning single by Erin Sawatzky in the bottom of the eighth, plating Katie Norton with the winning run.
Bondurant-Farrar will meet Clarke of Osceola in today's 3A final at 2:30 in Diamond 1. Clarke outslugged Washington, 11-9 in the other 3A semifinal.
The Lady Jays had reached the semifinals in three out of the last four years at state, but had been denied each time. Their first ever trip to state, way back in 1954, also was derailed in the semifinals. Their highest finish ever was last year's third-place finish.
"It's so exciting to be in the championship game," said Sawatzky, who was 0-for-2 before coming through. "I just wanted to get a hit and I was hoping that Katie could score."
"I kept thinking we were just one hit from playing in the state championship," said Bondurant-Farrar coach Roger Roland. "We have the most blessed team. I can't describe how it feels. We just beat a great team."
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Roland was overwhelmed when the winning run scored and celebrated by sprinting to the fence in left field and sharing the moment with members of his family.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton (34-4) broke open a scoreless game with two runs in the fifth, but the Lady Jays scratched back little by little.
In the bottom of the sixth, pitcher Cailey Schlenker slapped an RBI single to score Emily Wilson with the Lady Jays' first run. Wilson came through with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, lacing an RBI single to right to score Ashley Burrows, who had doubled to the fence one batter earlier.
"We were trying to stay up and stay positive," said Sawatzky. "We wanted to keep the pressure on."
Norton belted a deep fly to right with two outs in the eighth that Marissa Schmidt nearly tracked down for SBL. Sawatsky then blooped a single just past the infield to end the game.
The Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the fifth as Lindsay Johnson reached on an error to score a run and Tayler Moriarty plated another run with a double. But the Warriors lost a run when Ashtyn Schubert was thrown out at the plate trying to score on the ball hit by Johnson.
Schlenker was never threated again. Runners reached base for the Warriors in the seventh and eighth, on two-out errors. But each time, Schlenker got out of any trouble, including a strikeout to end the top of the eighth, her only one of the game.
"She emulates what this team is about," Roland said of his pitcher. "We can finally say we are playing for a state championship."
The Lady Jays finished with 11 hits, including three from Emily Wilson and a pair from Schlenker.