SALISBURY -- The upperclassmen on the Pocomoke softball team had to feel like they were watching a horror film they had seen one to many times before. Same villain, same plot, same ending. But this year, something different happened
Instead of Colonel Richardson pulling away late to win its third straight 1A East region championship, the Warriors fought back, with one monster inning propelling to victory. Pocomoke scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to down the Colonels 8-5 and earn a trip to the state semifinals.
"A lot of hard work went into this," Pocomoke coach Ron Trostle said. "These girls played their hearts out today. We were down 5-1, and they didn't lose their drive or motivation. They knew they could do it. We can hit the ball, we struggled a bit today, but we can hit the ball and, by golly, they sure did."
The game was a relative pitching duel going into the sixth inning, as the Colonels led 2-1, but the offensive flood gates would open, as the teams combined to score 10 runs in the frame. After the first two Colonel batters in the sixth popped out to the shortstop and left field, respectively, third baseman Chandler Johnson dropped a single into left field.
Jen Post was next to the plate and delivered a hit that sneaked past the outstretched reach of the Warriors second basemen, advancing Johnson to third, while Post reached second safely. Ann Lee then reached first on a bunt that was mishandled, allowing Johnson to score, with Post racing to third. Post would then come around to score on a past ball, increasing the Colonels' margin to 4-1. Casey Edgell capped off the two-out rally with a double down the third base line that scored Lee, making Pocomoke's deficit 5-1.
With just six outs separating the Warriors from the end of their season, the outlook seemed bleak. However, Pocomoke's bats would come alive just in time to save the day.
Amber Holland lead off Pocomoke's half of the sixth with a double to center field. She was then driven in by a seeing-eye single off the bat of pitcher Annah Brittingham. Kasey Tapman drew a walk, before Skylar Hall delivered a single up the middle to score Brittingham, cutting the Colonels' lead to 5-3. Sarah Scher then drew a walk to load the bases for No. 8 hitter Taylor West.
-->(2 of 2)
West had grounded out and reached on an error in her two previous at-bats, but this turn she connected on the big hit the Warriors' desperately needed. West sent a flyball high into the outfield, where both the right fielder and the center fielder had a chance to make a play, but neither could come up with the catch, allowing two runs to score, knotting the game at five-all.
Still with no outs, Pocomoke would then take the lead, as a wild pitch allowed Scher to cross the plate, scoring the eventual game-winning run. Kelly Cowger helped to add to the Warriors' advantage as she laid down a sacrifice bunt along the third-base line. The third baseman gathered the ball and looked West back to the bag before firing to first. But West took off toward home, causing the first baseman to step off the bag and throw to the plate before getting the out. West was caught in a rundown, but skillfully avoided the tag of the Colonels' catcher, giving Pocomoke a 7-5 lead. Cowger would come around to score the Warriors' seventh and final tally of the inning, on a Kristie Denning single that landed in left field.
Pocomoke's comeback was still not complete, as Colonel Richardson still had to bat in the top of the seventh. Brittingham, however, promptly shut the door on any of the Colonels' hopes, allowing just a single to Steph Garey before the Pocomoke pitcher got the last two batters to fly out.
"Oh my gosh, I didn't know what to think, so many things went through my mind right when she caught the final out," Brittingham said. "I just wanted to scream, and I did, and it was the greatest feeling."