In a winner take all game at the District Tournament, the Saints did exactly what they needed to do.
Just minutes after a two run, two out, walk off single turned what appeared to be a season ending, into a season saver, the Saints had to regroup and play the IF game Sunday afternoon vs Del Tech.
The Saints lost the coin toss, which turned out to be a huge benefit, as they batted first against the same pitcher who had just thrown 10 innings in the first game.
Emily Foy doubled to center and Julia Lang singled her home to give the Saints the lead 1-0. In the second inning, Kiersten Coho doubled to left and easily scored when Taylor Wilson doubled to center. After a Tia Belgon single moved Wilson over, Foy pushed the ball to the right side to allow Wilson to make it 3-0.
That would be all the Saints would score, as they turned the game over to Portia McBride, the Saints ace who had thrown 10 innings in the first game herself.
"We knew Portia was tired", said Saints coach Brian Dewey. "The plan was to allow her to go until she was out of gas, we weren't worried because Coho was fresh and ready to pitch". But that never happened and McBride kept putting up zeros on the board. Del Tech scored a run in the third, but only after an error allowed it.
"It was 80 degrees, and Portia was clearly tired but she kept saying she wanted the ball. She had just made up her mind it was her moment, and she wasn't letting it go." Del Tech kept mounting threats, the most serious in the bottom of the fifth, they loaded the bases with two outs but McBride got the cleanup hitter to hit a fly ball to center.
They put a runner on in both the sixth and the seventh but McBride would not break, finally getting a pop to third to end the game. The team all buried McBride in the circle, knowing the task they had just completed.
"Each of our seven District championships has been special for its own reasons", said Dewey. "This is probably my proudest because of what they had to overcome. People don't realize that after the great year we had last year, only three of these girls really played. We have seven sophomores but two weren't on the team last year, and two others were injured and didn't play much as freshman Add the fact that a lot of people quit on them last summer and this past semester, it was going to be difficult for us to win the Region.
Dewey also pointed out that the NJCAA realignment placed a powerhouse like Delaware Tech in the District, making the road to Nationals even harder. "You take all the obstacles going against us, then add in that Del Tech beat us 8-0 Saturday to force us to beat them twice on Sunday, who really thought we had a chance? I will tell you who, those 13 girls did. They sat around the hotel Saturday night talking about how they were taking both on Sunday. A lot of teams can talk to the talk, but this team came out and did it.
Dewey noted that this current team wanted this championship for many reasons. "The sophomores wanted to show they can do it themselves, a lot counted them out, but they had something to prove. As those freshman, what can I say...they have been awesome for us. We wouldn't be here without them, for them...it's about adding to the tradition."
That tradition leaves the Saints with an overall record of 28-11 and are now heading to Clinton, Mississippi for the NJCAA Division 2 National Tournament.