Kerrigan Hoshaw woke up Friday morning and her first thought was, "Oh no."
Eastview's senior pitcher strained her back hitting in Thursday's semifinals. The back stiffened overnight and when she woke up, she could barely move.
"I was hurting," she said. "I could barely get out of bed. I had a heat patch on it all morning. I was thinking, 'Seriously, why today?' But my teammates came up to me and said, 'Hey, we got this.' "
Buoyed by the support of one of the state's most experienced teams, Hoshaw went out and pitched a gem.
She gave up just three hits and struck out 10 to lift Eastview to a 2-1 victory over Anoka in the Class 3A championship game.
"When the game started, the adrenaline took over, and I didn't feel anything," said Hoshaw, who finished the tournament with a 0.67 ERA and 24 strikeouts. "When I'm pitching, I try to ignore everything."
She did make one mistake, however, and it nearly cost the them the game. She left a pitch up in the zone and Anoka's All-Metro center fielder Taylor Chell deposited it deep over the left field fence in the fourth inning.
Runs are hard to come by in softball, and Hoshaw hoped it wasn't her undoing. "I was a little frustrated with myself after giving that home run because Anoka's a really good team, but I stayed positive and we did it," she said.
Anoka was dealing with health issues of its own. Starter Amber Elliott has been fighting through the effects of a strained MCL in her right knee for about a month and she was clearly hobbled Friday.
"We were checking with her after every inning," Anoka coach Toni Jesinoski said. "She was sore but she was still able to go."
Elliott began to tire in the sixth. Eastview scored the game-tying run on an RBI single by Hailey Monroe after loading the bases with no outs. The Lightning got the game-winner on a double to the fence by Julia Luciano with one out in the bottom of the seventh, scoring Courtney Wissbaum from first.
Luciano, the Lightning's hard-nosed third baseman, said her mind traveled back to her youth before the at-bat, back to her days playing U-10 softball with many of the girls on the team. They won a national championship that year and, finally, a chance to do that again was staring her in the face.
"I wasn't nervous. We always talked about winning one again, so I was thinking, 'Why not me?' That, and I don't like extra innings," Luciano joked.
"I mean, we have a bus to catch."
Considering the condition of her back after pitching 21 innings in three games, Hoshaw was in complete agreement.
"Oh yeah," she said. "I wanted it to be over, too."