And, when it was concluded after two hours and 50 minutes, the Bowsher Rebels were equal parts survivor and victor in a 24-10 win over Start.
It was Bowsher's first CL softball title since 2001, when current head coach Jolene (Barringer) Brewer was a player for coach Jim Hall's Rebels.
"It's a great feeling," Brewer said. "I was definitely more nervous as a coach than I was as a player in 2001. That was an awesome group of girls, and this group now reminds me of that group.
"The girls hung in there. They came back hitting-wise, and they stuck together. They were awesome."
Sophomore shortstop Victoria Turnbough, who was named the most valuable player of the league playoffs, led Bowsher's 13-hit attack by going 4-for-6 with two triples, a double, four runs scored, and three RBIs in the wild contest.
The Rebels (12-10) actually had to overcome an early 6-0 deficit, which was long forgotten after they completed their monster top of the third inning.
That frame, a nightmare for the Spartans (9-8), saw 21 batters come to the plate for Bowsher, which chalked up 15 runs on just five hits. Start's two pitchers -- starter Shanna Hayward, reliever Becca Wynnick, and then Hayward again -- combined to throw 89 pitches (33 strikes) to record three outs. The inning included nine walks and four Start errors.
The big hits were a two-run triple by Nikki Broshious, who made it home safely when a throw to the plate was dropped, and the first of Turnbough's triples. Turnbough added an RBI single later in that inning.
"That momentum shift got our intensity up so high," Turnbough said of the third inning uprising. "We wanted this so bad. We worked hard, and I'm so proud of my team. The crowd got me going, and that encouraged me to hit the ball harder every time up."
Bowsher would add two runs each in the fourth and fifth innings and five more in the sixth to earn the mercy-rule win.
"The walks killed us," Start coach Hillary Bates said of her team's 16 bases on balls. "We've really struggled with our pitching this year, and we're working on it.
"But we're a young team, and nerves got to us in this game. We don't have the experience under our belt like Bowsher does, and it really bit us this game. After that big inning it was hard to overcome."
Start also lost one of its top players, senior Hanna Kynard, who dislocated a thumb during the pregame warmups.
The loss overshadowed a strong offensive output from Start second baseman and No. 3 hitter Halie Kinor, who had four of her team's six hits. She was 4-for-5 with two triples, a home run, four runs scored, and four driven in. Kinor reached on an error in her other at-bat.
Rebel senior Makayla McKinney, a fourth-year varsity player who is in her first season as a pitcher, survived her poor start in this game to get the win. She threw 165 pitches, struck out nine, and overcame nine walks, a hit batsman, and her team's five errors.
"We just had to pick it up," McKinney said of trailing 6-0 early. "Our intensity was there [in Tuesday's semifinals], and today it just seemed like it wasn't there at the start.
"I had to get my teammates up, and we started hitting. Nikki's hit set it off for us, and then Victoria came with a triple, and our intensity was high again."
In all, the marathon game included 372 pitches thrown (176 strikes), 13 errors, 27 walks, 11 wild pitches, and 12 stolen bases.
Helping Bowsher's hitting attack were Broshious (2-for-5 plus a walk), Amanda Stockman (3-for-4 plus two walks), Maya Wymer (2-for-2 plus four walks), and Jess Sharp (2-for-4 plus two walks).
"I just started pitching this year," McKinney said. "We have a good coach, and I just try my hardest. That's all I can say.
"Winning the City championship feels great. I've been on the varsity since my freshman year, and I'm a senior now. This is my last game, and I'm really emotional right now."