HASTINGS, Neb. — Northwest had won 16-straight games heading into the State Tournament. By the end, that streak had grown to 20 as the Vikings went undefeated on their way to winning their first-ever State Championship.
"It's been an honor and a privilege to coach every one of you," said Northwest head coach Mitch Sadd in his postgame speech. "And I would do it all over again because this team, I told you, is hands down the best team in Class B."
To become the best, GINW had to have all the right pieces from solid hitting at the dish to an outstanding ace in Ava Laurent.
"She pitched great games for us, keeping the earned runs very low," said junior Avyn Urbanski.
The Vikings also had a confidence, believing they could beat anyone.
"Coming into practice on Day 1, we knew, with the athletes here, we could make this huge statement and make history," said Laurent.
At the State Tournament, Northwest didn't have the easiest road.
"We had already played Seward at conference and got them, so we were pretty confident there," said Sadd. "But going into Wahoo, it was a little different ball game. We went up three runs right off the bat and I thought, well we're gonna do pretty good here. Then it got to be a tight ball game. We really had to button down. Our defense stepped up. We made that small game work for us to win that ball game."
The Vikings then made their first-ever title game appearance after beating top-seeded Blair, and in the top of the 7th against Elkhorn, Northwest's defense stepped up again for their moment of glory.
"When we make big plays in the infield, we know it's going to be a good game," said Laurent.
As Laurent delivered one final strikeout, GINW accomplished the historic goal they set out to do.
"I can't even put it into words how it feels," said Laurent. "But coming her with these girls, basically my sisters, we didn't want anything less."
This title leaves a legacy not only at the school but on the softball program as a whole.
"We started out my first year, we were 4th," said Sadd. "My second year we were 3rd and now we come in and win it, so they're seeing how we are building this program and it's bringing more and more kids in that want to play for us."