The gloves eventually came down, scattered randomly throughout the infield at Farrington Stadium.
The Hamilton softball team will take a little longer to return from the high the program felt for the first time on Monday after the Huskies won the program’s first state title by topping Pinnacle 3-0.
“I’ll never forget this,” senior center fielder Nicole Spykstra said. “This team has worked to get to this point and we finally put it all together.”
The Huskies, who are ranked No. 13 in the nation by MaxPreps, had never made a title game before going undefeated as the No. 5 seed to finish the season at 31-7.
It’s been a process since Rocky Parra took over five years ago.
“We are young team, we have 10 seniors, but play a lot of young players,” Parra said. “Right from the beginning I thought we had something special. We had all aspects.”
The Huskies (31-7) got it started in the third when No. 9 hitter Leah Stokes and Bella Loomis started the frame with singles, and were sacrificed over before a sac fly by Ali Asher and a single by Karlee Arnold.
As they have all postseason, the Huskies keep adding on as Spykstra had sacrifice fly in the fourth and kept the pressure on throughout as every starter had at least one hit against the second-seeded Pinnacle combo of Marissa Schuld, who allowed three earned in four innings for the loss, and C.C. Cook.
“We have bats one through nine, and if I have to substitute someone in there because someone is struggling, I got people I can put in there,” Parra said. “It was a total team effort.”
Spykstra made the most important defensive play of the game. The senior center fielder chased down a liner in left-center field off the bat of Marissa Schuld for the third out after the Pioneers (31-8) put two runners on with two outs in the third inning.
Parra, who is been with the Huskies for five years after time state championship years with Mountain Pointe and Chaparral, is expecting more in the years to come as the junior varsity went undefeated and the freshmen team lost once.”
“We are coming,” he said. “And we are here to stay.”
The program was lucky that Madison Seigworth didn’t stay in Indiana and transferred to Hamilton during the summer.
Seigworth wasn’t dominant but never let the Pioneers build much momentum.
She allowed six hits, struck out two, walked one and fought through two stressful innings.
Spykstra ended the third with the nice catch and after allowing two more singles in the fifth, Seigworth induced two fly outs to center field.
Seigworth wouldn’t have started the game if Cheyenne Noli was healthy. No matter how she got there the sophomore was elated to be in the middle of the diamond came crashing down in the infield.
“I never experienced anything like this,” she said. “It is cool playing for such a great team in such a competitive state.”
Parra said the turning point goes back to a lull when toward the end of the regular season.
“We lost three games in a row about three-quarters through the season, and I told them percentages were going to catch up for us,” said Parra, who added the academy classes (sixth and seventh period) helped speed up the process. “We peaked at the right time. Pinnacle, Desert Vista are good teams.
“We just had the better year.”
* Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JasonPSkoda