Randy Anway has been the only coach for the Ironwood Ridge softball team and he's trying to lead the team to its first state title in his final game today.
Win or lose, he'll be at peace.
The fourth-seeded Nighthawks will face No. 1 Peoria Sunrise Mountain at 5:30 p.m. in the Division II state final at Farrington Softball Stadium in Tempe. It's their second championship game appearance in three years and third since 2008.
I-Ridge (28-10) has won four straight games since dropping to the losers bracket to give Anway a chance to go out on top. He is retiring after this year.
"I just don't have time to do it the way I believe it needs to be done," said Anway, who started the program.
The Star recently sat down with Anway to take a look back on his 11 years with the program and find out how he feels heading into today's game:
Who has really stepped up in the last four games to reach the final?
A: "It's been a team effort. Our outfield has made some outstanding plays and really all the way around there has been some good defensive plays made. From an offensive standpoint, we're very solid one through about 10 or 11. So on different nights, it's different people stepping up."
How would you describe this group of girls?
A: "It's just a phenomenal group of kids. Eight of the nine starters will be back, 17 of the 19 kids on the team will be back. They're in a good place and I'm really at peace with that. I think it's a joy to go out, not necessarily in a state title game, just with such a great group of kids and parents. It's a good feeling to be there."
What has been your favorite part of your coaching tenure?
A: "It's the development, to see them come in as babies and develop over four years. I'm just really blessed to be a part of their lives and later to see them as young adults."
What would it be like for you to go out with a state title?
A: "I'm a pretty humble person; if we win it, we win it. Right now I'm at peace with whatever happens. I think this group of kids really has overachieved and are probably ahead of where they should be right now. I'm very happy they have the opportunity to play for a title."
If you go
• What: Division II state softball final
• Where: Farrington Softball Stadium, Tempe
• When: Today, 5:30 p.m.