INDIANAPOLIS — There’s an old adage that goes, ‘It’s not how you start, but how you finish that counts’ and the Tri-West Bruins softball team epitomized that saying through the end of its season, postseason and finally, with a state championship game.
Tri-West rode a seven-game win streak into sectional play, recorded six wins as they entered the state title game and went out with a strong seventh inning to clinch the 29th annual 3A state softball championship with a 7-4 with over Yorktown.
Clinging to a 5-4 lead heading into the top of the seventh, the Bruins needed some room to breathe and with two outs, sophomore Claire Johnson’s two-run homer gave Tri-West a three-run cushion.
“I had a feeling (it was a home run), it was a shot,” Johnson said grinning. “I was glad I could help out my team in any way. It was just coming right down the middle… to get those two insurance runs helped a lot.”
The win was overwhelming for many of the Bruins as they celebrated after the final out in the middle of the infield, gripping each other tightly as tears lined their cheeks.
“I don’t know how many times we’ve cried in the last week,” Tri-West coach Stacey Rogers said. “We’ve cried happy tears, sad tears, hurt tears and I’m happy that in the end all of our tears are happy tears.”
Tight the entire game, neither team took control until the last inning. It was a contest that had five lead changes and each squad gave one another their best shots.
“It was tough to go back and forth and my team hasn’t had to come from behind all year long,” Rogers said.
Tri-West stepped up in the most pressure packed of situations, both offensively and defensively. The Bruins scored five runs with two outs and as Yorktown loaded the bases twice, Tri-West only gave up one run.