Top-ranked (Class 1A) Akron-Westfield didn't let one bad inning get the best of them Friday.
Instead, the Westerners clawed, scratched and fought their way back from a four-run deficit to defeat No. 10 New London in the state championship game, 5-4, at Rogers Park.
The Tigers (32-10 overall) seemed poised to claim their first-ever state title after taking advantage of several Akron-Westfield (37-2) errors and plating four runs in the second.
However, behind timely hits - and a few New London errors - the Westerners were able to claim their fifth state title under head coach Todd Colt while finishing the year on a 15-game win streak.
"This is amazing," said all-tournament captain Kayla Tindall, who tossed a three-hitter, striking out six. "Knowing that people will look back on this game, and I was the starting pitcher; it just feels incredible."
Jaclyn Smith reached on an infield single to start the seventh, moving to second on a sacrifice. Cleanup hitter Bailey Davis brought her home for the game-winning run on a ball that dropped just between the infield and outfield.
NEW LONDON 4
Akron-West. 000 013 1 - 5 10 7
New London 040 000 0 - 4 3 5
Kayla Tindall (W, 27-2, 7 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) and Haley Coyle; Morgan Christner (L, 31-9, 7 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) and Emily Parks. 2B-AW: Katie Johnson, Jordan Hansen. RBI-AW: Bailey Davis, Coyle, Hansen. SB-AW: Johnson; NL: Parks (2), Emma Pry, Victoria Noel, Jorgi Kreiger. MH-AW: Davis (2), Johnson (2), Coyle (2), Hansen (2). LOB-AW: 7.
"We were able to get hits early, but we didn't get anything strung together until later in the game," Tindall said. "We had confidence in our bats that we would get it down."
After failing to qualify last year for state, there was no denying A-W this time around. Davis, Katie Johnson, Haley Coyle and Jordan Hansen all had two hits, while Davis, Coyle and Hansen each drove in runs to secure the win.
Tindall picked up her 27th victory of the year, as the Westerners only lost to No. 1 (4A) Le Mars twice this season.
The Tigers gave their rabid fan base one final chance, putting runners on second and third with two outs, but Tindall was able to get Emma Pry to strikeout.
Pry and Victoria Noel each had a hit and a run scored, while Emily Parks stole two bases. The Tigers were also the 2007 runners-up.