NORTH EAST — One year after losing two games in the District 5 Senior Softball tournament finals to Perryville, Rising Sun found itself in a familiar position: facing Perryville and needing one win to earn a district title.
Rising Sun earned its redemption as it rallied from a two-run fourth inning deficit to register a 7-5 victory and claim a district title Monday evening at North East Little League.
“It was good redemption because last year we were in the situation where we were ahead in the winner’s bracket and lost two in a row because we couldn’t hit,” Rising Sun manager Paul Taylor said. “When we got down 2-0 today, that feeling was back. We got them all together and said, ‘One hit at a time and the ball will drop.’ It feels really good. It feels good for the team.”
Perryville took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Natalie Dougherty scored after Arianna Fetters was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Gabby Pileggi then drove in Brooklyn Logan with a sacrifice fly.
The score would remain that way until the top of the fourth inning when Rising Sun pushed two runs across the plate to tie it up. Marissa Cooper drove in the first run of the frame with a single and later scored on Hannah Wolfe’s bases-loaded walk.
Rising Sun’s mid-to-late inning offensive success has been a staple of the tournament, a result of the squad hitting better after facing a pitcher after multiple times through the lineup.
“We saw Perryville’s starting pitcher tonight at the end of the game the last time we played them, so we were telling ourselves that we just saw her, we should be able to hit her,” Cooper said. “Our coaches tell us that going through the lineup, it’s a little rough, but the second time, it’s way better.”
Perryville regained the lead at 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning when Brynn Price drove in Brook Strong with a single. But Rising Sun took the lead for good in the top of the fifth inning with four runs.
After a pair of infield singles and a Cooper walk loaded the bases with no outs, Abby McBride stepped up to the plate and lined a single to left field to give Rising Sun the lead for the first time.
“I was thinking in my head that I just need to make contact because I didn’t want to strike out again,” McBride said.
Cooper scored on a wild pitch, and Cassidy Hayden capped the scoring in the frame when she stole home on a successful double steal to make it 6-4.
Perryville scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to make it 6-5, but Rising Sun responded with an insurance run in the top of the seventh that made it two-run game, at 7-5.
Perryville put the tying run on base with two outs in the bottom half of the seventh, but a pop out ended the threat and jump-started a district-winning celebration for Rising Sun.
“It feels really good. It felt like a weight was lifted off our shoulders because we came in knowing that it could happen again,” Cooper said. “Winning this game was stress relieving, and it doesn’t feel like a victory. It feels like we finally accomplished something. It doesn’t feel like we’ve won anything yet.”