Perennial power Akron-Westfield is back in familiar territory once again.
The top-ranked Westerners (37-0) kept their perfect season intact with a 3-2 victory over No. 6 Martensdale St. Mary's in a Class 1A state semifinal Thursday afternoon.
Making their sixth finals appearance in school history, Akron-Westfield will put its 53-game winning streak on the line against Kee (34-9) in the 1A championship this morning at 10 a.m. on Mittera Field. The unranked Hawks knocked off No. 4 AGWSR yesterday, 3-1.
"It's going to take a little while for this one to sink in," said 13th-year Westerner head coach Todd Colt, who now owns a 448-47 career mark at the helm. "That game could've went either way, many times. We're excited and fortunate that it came out the way it did."
Senior ace Kayla Tindall (23-0) went the distance in the circle for Akron-Westfield, scattering seven hits and one earned run. Tindall walked none and fanned four. With a light rain starting to fall in the bottom of the seventh, Tindall sealed the deal with a strikeout, leaving Blue Devil runners at first and second.
Offensively, Tindall also helped her own cause with a 3-for-4 effort out of the leadoff spot, including two doubles. Tindall was named captain of the state all-tournament team last summer.
AKRON-WESTFIELD 3, MARTENSDALE ST. MARY'S 2
Akron-Westfield 101 010 0-3 9 1
M-St. Mary 010 010 0-2 7 0
Kayla Tindall (W, 23-0; 7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) and Ann Hedlund; Riley Verwers (L, 21-4; 7 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) and Vicki Kordick.
2B-A-W: Tindall (2), Bailey Davis; M: Kaitlyn Schad. MH-A-W: Tindall (3), Katie Johnson (2); M: Schad (2), Verwers (2); SH-A-W: Kortney Hedlund; M: Nicole Shutt. SB-A-W: Johnson, Desi Oltmanns, Dana Hedlund; M: Kylah Schumacher, Jamie Jordan. LOB-A-W 8, M 7.
"That last inning we didn't get a run, but we knew we still had a one-run cushion to protect," Tindall said. "My dad always tells me just to relax and have fun. I tried not to think about (the pressure)."
Katie Johnson delivered two hits for the Westerners, who were playing in their 10th state semifinal in 11 tournament trips. Kortney Hedlund added a pair of RBI, while Danika Tindall scored twice. Desi Oltmanns plated Danika Tindall with the game's first run on a two-out single to center in the first.
"Both teams made big plays," Colt said. "I just think we need to be a little smarter on the bases. We had to do some crazy things on defense to slow (the MSM) offense down."
Kaitlyn Schad and Riley Verwers finished with two hits apiece for Martensdale St. Mary's (26-5), which saw its seven-game winning streak halted. Schad and Jamie Jordan both scored once.
The Blue Devils and 4A qualifier Carlisle hold the longest current streak of consecutive state appearances at seven.
Martensdale St. Mary's will meet fourth-ranked AGWSR (28-7) for third place this morning at 9:30 a.m. on INS Field.