– New York Mills appeared to have back-to-back Class 1A state titles locked up with an seven-run lead through four innings Friday.

Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian threatened to spoil it with a furious seventh-inning rally. Ultimately, though, it fell short, and the Eagles prevailed 9-6 for another softball crown.

New York Mills senior pitcher Rhiana Roberts got encouragement in the seventh after the Flying Dutchmen put up five runs and had one out. A key blow was a three-run homer by sophomore right fielder Gabby Buckridge.

" 'Stay focused in the moment. Do what you've done for the last six years,' " coach Bryan Dunrud recalled saying to his Eagles (28-1).

Roberts put away the Flying Dutchmen (20-4) with a strikeout and a pop fly to finish with her 89th career victory. The same teams played in last year's championship game.

"We just have to keep battling," Flying Dutchmen coach Andrew Fleischman said. "It was just a little too late."

Senior second baseman Kaitlyn Kane led New York Mills with three RBI and two runs scored. Roberts scored three times.

MATTHEW DAVIS