FORT DODGE -- West Des Moines Valley began the season ranked No. 1 in Class 5A softball.
The Tigers finished on top, as well, with an 8-5 triumph over a Waukee team that took over the No. 1 spot in the rankings early in the year and never gave it up Friday night in the final game of the 2019 state tournament.
It was a back and forth battle between two familiar rivals. Valley led 1-0, Waukee took a 4-2 lead after two innings and it was a 4-4 game after four.
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Valley regained the lead at 6-4 in the top of the fifth, but Waukee made it 6-5 in the bottom half. Two runs in the top of the seventh finally gave the Tigers some breathing room and pitcher Haley Gatica retired the Warriors to secure the win.
Gianna Lara went 4-for-4, Gatica had three hits and Alex Honnold, Hailey Etzel and Maggie House had two each for Valley (32-10), which racked up 16 total hits. Etzel finished with four RBIs and Lara had a homer.
Waukee (40-4) got two hits from Delaney Taylor and two RBIs apiece from Heidi Wheeler and Reagan Bartholomew.