SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The final moments seemed like a blur to Olivia Jarvis.
The groundball hit by Pilot Grove's Natalie Rentel hit her leg but ended up in her glove. She turned to her sister, Abby, playing first base for the Canton softball team.
"That hit happened so fast," Olivia Jarvis said. "I just had to make a good throw."
She flipped the ball to first, and the celebration was on.
Canton clinched the Class 1 state championship in a 6-1 victory over Pilot Grove on Saturday at the Killian Softball Complex, the first state title in program and school history.
"It was the best ending I could have imagined," Olivia Jarvis said.
The easy play to seal the championship allowed the rest of the Canton players to celebrate a few seconds early.
"I started running in (from left field) a little bit," senior Katie Gaus said. "We all threw our gloves in the air and started dogpiling."
Canton (21-5) had been ready to celebrate since it took a 6-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Canton entered the frame with a 3-1 advantage, and Brianna Caldwell and Gaus led off with singles. Olivia Jarvis laid down a sacrifice bunt to move them into scoring position. Laken Hugenberg followed with a squeeze bunt to score Caldwell.
"I knew I had some good hits and just needed to drive the girls in," Hugenberg said. "Then (Canton coach Jonathan Bastian) gave me the squeeze sign and I thought, ‘I can do this.'"
Hugenberg stole second two pitches later, and the throw from the Pilot Grove catcher went into center field. Gaus and Hugenberg scored to make it 6-1.
The Canton dugout was nearly in celebration mode after that inning.
"That 21st out couldn't have come quick enough," Bastian said. "They were waiting to bust out of the dugout. They were having a ton of fun."
Canton played the final two innings stress-free.
"It started to kind of sink in during the game," Hugenberg said. "I kept thinking to myself, ‘We need six outs' or ‘We need three more outs.' After we scored those runs, we got a lot more comfortable.
"We just took it in and enjoyed it."
The feeling of a winning a state title will be relished forever.
"We did it. We finally did it," Caldwell said. "We made it to state three times, and we finally make school history. That's nuts."
The state title game didn't start smoothly. Pilot Grove (21-8) scored an unearned run after Canton committed an error in the top of the first inning.
Canton wasn't shaken.
"We always have a bad first inning," Caldwell said. "We were just trying to get everyone to relax. There were definitely some nerves, but it was like we were pumped up."
Sophomore Abbey Hultz hit an RBI triple to the gap in right-center field to score Abby Jarvis to tie the game at 1. Hugenberg hit a two-out, two-run double in the third inning that extended Canton's lead to 3-1.
It was all the run support Olivia Jarvis needed. She threw all seven innings to pick up the victory, allowing one run on six hits. She struck out six and walked one.
Canton finished with 10 hits, and Gaus and Hugenberg each had two.
"This hasn't set in yet," Olivia Jarvis said. "In the moment, I was really excited. It's just a blessing to go out in my career like this. We're the first team to win at Canton, and it's the best way to end it."
Canton 6, Pilot Grove 1
Pilot Grove 100 000 0--1 6 2
Canton 012 030 x--6 10 4
Bailey and Wolfe; O. Jarvis and Collins. WP--O. Jarvis. LP--Bailey. 2B--Canton 1 (Hugenberg). 3B--Canton 1 (Hultz).