“Molly (Horne), their catcher, she is dangerous, she is absolutely dangerous,” Kinghorn said. “And so I knew she could win the game with one swing, and I was terrified that she was going to, so we just had to walk her for sure. I have so much respect for that hitter, good night, all of their hitters are so good.”
Then Bohling buckled down, getting the Bees’ next two batters to fly out, as Tuttle squeezed the final pop-up to clinch the title-taking triumph.
“Just a little bit, yeah, I was stressed out a lot,” Bohling said of the Bees’ last-gasp comeback bid. “I trusted my teammates if I got ’em a ball in the air or a ball on the ground, they were gonna make a play and they were gonna get an out and we were gonna win. I had to put my desires aside and let my team do the work, because I trusted them that they would get it done.
“Last year, the heartbreak of not winning was tough, but just knowing that we clutched that title today was incredible, incredible.
“Not very many girls played last year because we’re a really young team,” Bohling said, “but coming into this we knew we had the talent and the legacy to keep up and we just went to work.”
With such a young squad, not many people expected the Skyhawks to make a repeat appearance in the championship game this year. But they quickly jelled and played beyond their years.
“This is sweet,” Simons said. “I don’t think anybody really expected this at the beginning of the season, and then we started really just rallying through the season. I felt like we had the potential, but we were pushing in the beginning because we were in a rebuilding year.
"But once we started playing those hard teams and started winning, there was no doubt in my mind that we could take it. I knew we had the potential towards the beginning when we started winning, but I don’t think anybody really expected this from us, which I love.”
Kinghorn agreed with that assessment.
“When people would talk to me last year and at the beginning of this year with that kinda like tone, ‘So, (you) lost 11 seniors. Hey, but you know what? You’ve got a strong J.V. team,’ just that kind of talk,” the Skyhawks’ coach said. “I knew that we would be tough, I knew that we would be again this year. I had a feeling that we would be back where we were. I did not know at the beginning of the year that we would win state, but after watching these girls play through the season, it’s like ‘We’re gonna win. We’re good.’
“I knew that we would get far in the tournament,” she said. “I mean, with Kirtlyn Bohling on the mound, she’s gonna shut people down, that’s just all there is to it. And I knew that our defense was gonna be strong. The thing I was worried about was our immaturity. I thought that being a young team that we would struggle in the big scene, we would struggle late in games. But we showed a lot of maturity. Abbie Tuttle is a sophomore, hit the ball outstanding in the championship state softball game and solid on defense, just incredible.
“That was absolutely how softball should be played, from the first inning to the last inning — strong hitting, strong defense on both sides. That definitely proves that these are the two tough teams in the state right there — nobody would question that. That was softball. And I’m glad we won.”