ALLENTOWN – It was a fight that would have made Rocky proud.

Staggered and bloodied early, Pleasant Valley kept picking itself off the canvas and battling back.

A six-run second inning by Easton stunned the Bears, but couldn't knock them out.

Sure, Pleasant Valley might have needed a couple of standing eight counts to regain its composure. Maybe there was some clutching and holding on until the Bears could shake the cobwebs.

But the Red Rovers quickly learned what Apollo Creed found out in the 1970s hit movie – their opponent wasn't going away.

Pleasant Valley battled back from a 7-0 deficit to eventually tie Easton.

Unfortunately for the Bears, their Hollywood style comeback ended the same way as the original Rocky. Pleasant Valley went the distance, but an Easton run in the top of the seventh inning proved to be the game-winner as it handed the Bears a 9-8 setback.

The loss in the District 11 Class AAAA softball championship game ended Pleasant Valley's season. It also left veteran head coach Steve Caffrey disappointed, but extremely proud.

"It would have been really easy for our kids to hang their heads when we were behind early," said Caffrey. "But I knew that wasn't going to happen. They are fighters and I knew no one on this team was giving up.

"We've been down before this season and battled back and that's exactly what we did today."

The Bears started their comeback with a four-run third inning and then added a pair of runs in both the fourth and sixth innings to tie the game at 8-8.

"I came off the field after their six-run inning and I told everyone on the team that we weren't finished," said senior leadoff batter Kasey Meckes. "There was still a lot of softball left to play and I wanted to make sure everyone was going to stay motivated."

Despite the huge deficit in a sport where one or two runs is often enough to win at the highest level, Meckes wasn't alone when it came to believing.

"I never lost faith and I don't think anyone on the team did," said cleanup hitter Megan Hardy. "We got this far by fighting and battling and we weren't going to give up.

"There was definitely still a lot of energy and emotion on the bench and when we started to score some runs it just grew and grew."

The Bears even embraced a little of that Rocky underdog mentality to help them battled back.

"We've had pretty good success in the Mountain Valley Conference over the years, but we're always looking to gain some respect from the really good programs in the Lehigh Valley," said Caffrey, whose Bears had their season ended by a Lehigh Valley Conference school for the eighth straight year. "Although we lost, this is the kind of performance that helps a program gain respect.

"I told our girls that they have nothing to hang their heads about. They played hard and battled right down to the final pitch."

Caffrey also talked a little bit about the future for a Pleasant Valley program that has won six of the last seven MVC titles, but is still searching for its first District 11 championship.

"We have both of our pitchers (Rikki Correll and Hayli Marini) back for a couple more years and we have some really good position players returning as well," he said. "We're losing some great seniors, but we're going to be alright."

Who knows, maybe the Bears will even be able to duplicate this season's playoff run and make a return trip to the district championship game.

Sort of a Rocky II .

And in case you forgot, that's the movie where Rocky wins his first championship.