AUSTIN - Flatonia's softball team must show up at school Friday to make up their missed final exams.
But, they passed their biggest test Thursday when they won the UIL Class 1A state championship.
Junior third baseman Taylor Williams hit an extra inning home run and the Lady Bulldogs beat the Ivanhoe Rayburn Rebels 6-4 in front of 1,252 fans at McCombs Field.
"I don't even know if I'm going to do well on my finals," Williams said. "It's going to be hard to concentrate."
The nine-inning win gives Flatonia its second state title in school history. The Lady Bulldogs finish the championship season with a 30-5 record.
Flatonia went into the bottom of the seventh inning with a 4-1 lead before the Rebels came back to force extra innings.
"I still have a speech to write for graduation tomorrow night," said senior second baseman Alexandra Bruns with a smile. "I have a lot of work to do."
Flatonia sophomore pitcher Katie Steinhauser got the win to improve to 28-5 on the season. She went the distance giving up three earned runs on 10 hits and striking out five Rebels.
Although Williams managed only one hit, it proved to be the biggest of the afternoon and earned her the Class 1A State Championship Game Most Valuable Player award.
With one out and in the top of the ninth, Williams deposited the fourth pitch of the at bat from Rayburn relief pitcher Cassidy Hall beyond the left field wall and onto East 21st Street.
"When she hit that ball, I knew it was gone by the way it sounded off the bat," said senior shortstop Courtney Mica.
Williams added "I wasn't looking for a home run, I was looking for a base hit and it turned out for the best."
Williams went 1 for 4 with a pair of RBIs against Rayburn.
Later in the inning Bruns scored from third base on a throwing error.
The Rebels wouldn't go away quietly. Rayburn strung together a couple of singes in the bottom of the ninth and brought the winning run to the plate. Steinhauser got Avery Cranford to fly out to center fielder Crystal Rodriguez and preserve the Flatonia win.
The Lady Bulldogs previously won the state title in 2003. Both championships came under head softball coach Rodney Stryk.
"This one's even better," Stryk said.
"We knew we had a good team and we didn't want to let people down."
Thursday was the final game for the middle infield duo of Mica and Bruns in a Flatonia uniform as both will graduate on Friday.
"I wouldn't take any of it back, I would do it all over again," Mica said.
Mica made the most of her final weekend as a Lady Bulldog. She combined to go 6 for 7 with an RBI and two runs scored.
The win meant Bruns kept a family tradition alive. Her mother, Shawna, was part of Flatonia's 1985 state championship volleyball team.
"It's been all that I ever wanted," Bruns said fighting back tears. "Working for it all my life, I'm just so grateful that we got a team championship to bring home to Flatonia."
After stranding three runners in the first two innings, Steinhauser's single to right got the Lady Bulldogs on the board in the top of the third. An infield error by Rayburn shortstop Cassidy Hall, on what would have been the third out, made it 3-0 Flatonia.
"If we don't score in one inning, we're going to get you sooner or later," Stryk said.
Steinhauser went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Williams added her first RBI with a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth to make it 4-0 Flatonia.
The Lady Bulldogs seemed in control of the game needing only three outs and holding a three run lead. Rayburn scored three runs on three hits and an error in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
"I felt like we lost our focus the last couple of innings and let them score," Bruns said. "We were thinking about how close we were, but we pulled it out at the end."
Although they have to replace two middle infielder, the 2013 Lady Bulldogs will be a more experienced team as eight of the 10 starters in the state tournament are underclassmen and will play for Flatonia next season.
"I'm just really happy that some of our underclassmen are going to be here next year to help us keep going," Williams said. "We have such a young team and I'm so ready for next year already."