Finally in the championship round after so many near misses, Bondurant-Farrar played like a title-game veteran and collected the school's first state crown in any girls sport with a 6-3 victory over Clarke of Osceola in the 3A final at Rogers Park Friday.
The Lady Jays had reached the semifinals in three recent trips to state, but never the championship tilt. That changed on Thursday with a semifinal win over No. 1 Sergeant Bluff-Luton, and the program took it one step further against the Lady Indians yesterday afternoon.
"I kept telling the girls, you keep playing and I'll keep praying,'" said Bondurant-Farrar coach Roger Roland. "It worked out for us. God is definitely good."
Bondurant-Farrar jumped to an early lead, watched Clarke rally back, then the Lady Jays (30-12) put it away with a three-run seventh inning.
"I am just thrilled. I can't tell you how good it feels," said Roland. "I looked over to my son (Dustin is an assistant coach) and said 'Is this a dream? We just won the state championship.'
"Every coach says they have the nicest girls, but WE have the nicest girls in the world. This is the best group of girls I have ever been able to coach."
Bondurant-Farrar 6, Clarke 3
Bondurant-Farrar 101 100 3 6 5 0
Clarke 000 200 1 3 4 4
Cailey Schlenker (W,19-9) and Erin Sawatzky. Libby Bemis (L,19-7) and Kassidy Spurgin. WP- Schlenker 2. HBP- B-F: Sawatzky, Ashley Burrows. 2B- B-F: Schlenker; Clarke: Bemis. 3B- B-F: Sam Koehn. HR- Clarke: Carley Robins. Sac- B-F: Katie Norton, Sawatzky 2. SB- B-F: Sam Koehn. T- 1:29.
The Lady Jays got a four-hitter from pitcher Cailey Schlenker, who was named captain of the all-tournament team. She struck out one batter and walked just one.
"This feels incredible," said Schlenker, who will pitch at DMACC next year. "I don't have any words to describe it. I am glad I was able to do it in my senior year."
The Lady Jays also took advantage of four Clarke errors and kept the Lady Indians offense in check most of the game. Clarke had scored 17 runs in a semifinal win Thursday.
"We are always talking about staying loose and being relaxed, but you could tell we were nervous," said Clarke coach Lindsay Diehl. "I give (Bondurant-Farrar) credit. They know how to win, but we gave them too many chances."
Bondurant-Farrar gave the Raccoon River Conference two state titles this year. The Lady Jays joined league foe Dallas Center-Grimes (in 4A) as state title holders. League teams Carlisle and Winterset were also state teams.
"Our schedule helped tremendously," said catcher Erin Sawatzky, who drove home the winning run in the semifinals. "We were better prepared for this."
The Lady Jays took a 3-0 lead with single runs in the first, third and fourth. An error allowed the first run to score and a wild pitch allowed Sam Koehn to score after she had tripled in the third. Sawatzky dropped down a sac bunt to plate courtesy runner Isla Ekstram, who was running for Schlenker after her double in the fourth.
Clarke (28-10) got a two-run home run from Carley Robbins in the fourth inning to make it 3-2, but the Lady Jays used a three-run seventh to ice things.
The inning was odd, though, as Bondurant-Farrar scored all its runs without hitting a ball out of the infield. Ashley Burrows was hit by a pitch to start things then Koehn reached on a bunt single. The Lady Jays then had four straight batters reach on a fielder's choice, but only one actually led to an out. The final three drove home runs.
"We were right where we wanted to be going into the seventh," said Diehl. "Our inexperience in big games showed. We didn't know what to do with the ball."
Clarke was playing at state for the first time since winning it all in 1995. Bondurant-Farrar was at state for the fourth time in the last five years.
Clarke got its last run in the seventh as losing pitcher Libby Bemis doubled and courtesy runner Sydnee Redman scored from third when Devon Carson flew out behind third in foul territory and Redman tagged.
Bondurant-Farrar's previous best finish at state was a third-place in last year's state tourney.
Koehn scored three of the Lady Jays' runs and had two hits. She was also named to the all-tournament team.