FORT DODGE — After seeing a 6-1 lead dwindle to 6-4, and completely vanish in the top of the seventh inning, the Clarke Lady Indians won the Class 3A state title in the most dramatic of fashions here Friday at the State Softball Tournament.
Senior Carley Robins, who set the Class 3A state tournament record for home runs in a tournament last year, blasted her second home run of this year's tournament, giving the Lady Indians a 7-6 walkoff win over Bondurant-Farrar.
It's the second state softball championship for Clarke, which won the title in 1995, and avenges last year's 6-3 loss to the Lady Jays in the state championship game.
"I've never ran around the bases that fast in my entire life," Robins said. "I didn't cry. I didn't know what to do. I was just running!
"I definitely did not think it was going to be a walkoff home run. I thought we were going to get out of it in the top of that inning. But that's the best way to go out, I guess — on a walkoff."
Head coach Lindsay Diehl, who was a seventh grader watching in Fort Dodge the only other time Clarke won a state title, said she knew it was gone immediately.
"I knew immediately that it was gone," she said. "She got all of it. I knew immediately it was out of the park. I did watch it, because I didn't want the kids to celebrate too fast. I saw it went clear behind the bleachers."
It came as no surprise to Diehl that Robins stepped up in the clutch to deliver the winning hit.
"I did picture Carley hitting that ball over the fence and said a little prayer," Diehl said. "But I thought if any kid is going to do it, she's going to do it. The way she has performed the times we have been up here at the state tournament, she performs when it matters. What a way to end your high school career for those seniors, especially for Carley Robins and Libby Bemis, playing out of their minds."
Robins, sophomore Ally Deutsch, freshman Vanessa Bakley and Bemis were named to the Class 3A All-Tournament Team, with Bemis earning the honor of team captain.