BEST FOR LAST

Walk-off victory, title for Collins-Maxwell in 1A

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Collins-Maxwell players celebrate their Class 1A state softball championship on Thursday night at Rogers Park. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

It was a battle between Mikayla Houge and Taryan Barrick in the Class 1A state championship Thursday night at Rogers Park.

But in the end, it was a pair of upperclassmen for Collins-Maxwell that delivered them a title.

Junior Hannah Caple drove in lone senior Katie Camp for the only run in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 1-0 victory for the second-ranked Spartans over No. 4 AGWSR.

Caple sent the first pitch she saw from Barrick into center, setting off the wild celebration on the field. Collins-Maxwell (30-1 overall) finished the year having won each of its last 14 games.

“I had been getting a piece of it and so I just had to make an adjustment and get through it,” Caple said. “I didn’t feel any pressure. I just do what I have to do and let everything else happen.”

The one run was all the support Mikayla Houge needed, as the sophomore twirled her third gem of the state tournament. Houge struck out 13 and walked just one batter, allowing a lone single to Alyssa Hames in the fifth.

For the week, Houge had 37 strikeouts, allowed six hits and picked up her 19th double-digit strikeout game of the year.

In the other circle, Barrick had a perfect game until the seventh, striking out 10 and not walking a batter. The junior finished the season with 392 strikeouts, including 31 at state, and 27 double-digit strikeout games on the year.

“The girls stayed aggressive all game long,” co-AGWSR head coach Scott O’Brien said. “We kept swinging all game.”

Collins-Maxwell, which qualified with Baxter for the 3A tournament in 2016, ended the sharing agreement before this past school year. They had qualified once before for state, but made the most of this run behind a large group of underclassmen.

“We just made the best out of a crappy situation,” Caple said of the split. “We came out here to play and do what we do. We love our community and fans and did this for them.”

Alexis Houge, Camp and Caple were the only batters to record a hit off of Barrick, with all of them coming in the final inning. Camp is headed to Ellsworth in the fall to continue her playing career.

COLLINS-MAXWELL 1, AGWSR 0

AGWSR 000 000 0 — 0 1 1

C-M 000 000 1 — 1 3 1

WP–Mikayla Houge (28-1, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 13 K, 1 BB); LP–Taryan Barrick (27-6, 6 …” IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 10 K, 0 BB). RBI–C-M: Hannah Caple.

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