As Brooklyn Weisgram hit a line-drive walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to boost ZooTown over East by a score of 3-1 in Lower Sussex, Delaware, manager Dennis Staves couldn't have been more proud.
ZooTown finished the Senior League Softball World Series with a 2-4 record and was heading home winners.
As ZooTown left Connie Mack Field, Staves walked over to home plate. In his hand was his scorebook. With "it never was just a game" written atop it, Staves placed the scorebook on home plate and walked away, as that game was his most likely his last.
"This was probably my last game and it was a great way to finish it," Staves told 406mtsports.com of his coaching career. "I don't think I give it as much as I used to. I'm 69 years old. I still have the drive for the game and everything else, but it wears on you after a while. I think it's time for somebody else to get a shot at it, see how they do."
He hasn't turned in his resignation at Big Sky yet, but he said he's "real close to doing it."
Staves approximates his coaching career has lasted 25-30 years. He's been the head coach at Big Sky for 15 years and was an assistant there for roughly 10 years. He's coached little league softball on and off for "a long time. As a coach, he's won two state AA titles and a Senior League Softball World Series championship.
Even with all his success, he'll remember his last game fondly.
"They played that game very well," Staves said. "It's a testimony to how good they really are. They're there to play the game and they're there to win."
Heading into the seventh inning, ZooTown was knotted up with East with one run apiece.
East scored its first run in the second, while ZooTown tied it up in the third after Weisgram singled, stole second and third and was brought home by an Amber Hickethier single.
The game was in a stalemate until Weisgram launched her home run to end ZooTown's road on a high note.
On the mound, Amber Hickethier pitched a complete game, throwing 65 strikes on 91 pitches and striking out 11 batters.
"Usually at these tournaments, there's only one team that goes out winning, with this consolation bracket, it's nice that we can finish this tournament out with a win," Staves said.