In the most dramatic fashion, the Madison Warhawks have returned to the Virginia High School League's girls softball throne for the first time in nearly 30 years.

The Warhawks (28-1) won the Group 6A state tournament June 10 with a 3-1 walk-off victory over the defending champion Osbourn Park Yellow Jackets at Westfield High thanks to junior Emily Klingaman's one-out, two-run homer to right field on a 3-2 pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The state title was Madison's seventh overall and first since 1989. The win was Madison's 14th in a row this season

"It was an inside pitch and I was trying to put a good swing on it," said Klingaman, who jokingly attributes her power to eating smooth Jiffy-brand peanut butter toast each morning of game days.

Klingaman also had the game-winning walk-off hit against Osbourn Park (25-3) just a few days earlier in the title game of the 6A North Region tournament. Madison turned the tables on Osbourn Park from a year ago when the Yellow Jackets defeated the Warhawks in the region state tourney title games.

Junior right-hander Alex Echazarreta (20-1) threw a complete game to get the win for Madison in the state final, allowing four hits and fanning three. She also had one of Madison's five hits with a fourth-inning single ahead of an RBI single by Cameron Pistilli to tie the game at 1. Osbourn Park scored in the first. Nicole Giery and Cat Arase had Madison's other hits.

"Winning the state was not our goal," Echazarreta said. "Playing hard every game and getting to states was our biggest goal, so winning the state is a big bonus. Today, I was hitting my spots and relied on our defense. This feels amazing, and I am so happy to be part of this team."

Nicole Adkins at second and Kristin Giery at first made good defensive plays for Madison.

Madison was 2-0 in the state tournament, winning its semifinal game the day before over Kellam, 13-1. Echazarreta belted two home runs in that win, one a grand slam, giving her 10 roundtrippers for the season.

Madison had 17 hits against Kellam, with Olivia Myers, Kristin Giery, Klingaman and Echazarreta having three each. Pistilli, Kristy Williams and Nicole Giery each doubled and Adkins and Jesse Johnstone had hits. Kristin Giery (8-0) was the winning pitcher.

"This is a good hitting team one through nine in the lineup," Echazarreta said.

Madison coach Jim Adkins said the Warhawks consistently built toward winning the state title.

"One of our goals was to get back here and we knew with this group it was possible to compete for a state title again," he said. "For 29 games they kept learning and kept improving. It's a great feeling to win this."

NOTE: Since winning the crown in 1989, Madison finished second in the state four times, including 2016.


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