Huddled in right field at the conclusion of the game, Marian head coach Joe DeAngelo was overheard telling his Fillies that "players win games, but teams win championships."
Such was the case yesterday afternoon, as Marian claimed the Schuylkill League Division 3 Championship with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Schuylkill Haven.
The win improves Marian to 12-2 overall (8-2 league) and advances the Fillies to the Schuylkilll League playoffs the week of May 16 where they will play either the Division 1 champion or wild card.
"It wasn't just today's game that put us in the league playoffs, but rather, our entire body of work throughout the entire season," stated DeAngelo. "The Division 3 Championship is certainly a nice reward for all of the hard work these girls have put in this year."
It was also an exclamation point to a game the Fillies had to fight their way back from.
With two outs in the top of the fourth frame, Schuylkill Haven plated the game's first run when Lauren Rhody scored from third on a Marian throwing error.
The Lady Hurricanes extended their lead to 2-0 in the fifth inning when Vik Trout's RBI-single to center scored Alicia Miller.
Twice the Fillies had golden opportunities to score, as they put their first two hitters on base to lead off the second and fourth innings; however, both times Schuylkill Haven pitcher Emily Gerhard retired the next three batters to keep Marian off the scoreboard.
"We had two great chances to score some runs, but we came up empty both times," added DeAngelo. "It's frustrating but it's just something that you have to battle through."
Marian appeared to win the battle when they finally capitalized in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Gerhard issued a leadoff walk (her first of the game) to Kayla Knight, before retiring the next two Marian hitters. With two outs, Abby Hill walked and both runners ended up advancing on a passed ball.
With runners stationed at second and third, Ashley Donlin poked a two-run double into shallow left field, which fell between Schuylkill Haven's third baseman and left fielder. Donlin then advanced to third on the throw home.
Gerhard issued her third walk of the inning to Gabby Cann; however on a called ball four, Schuylkill Haven catcher Allie Rhody threw to third base trying to pickoff Donlin who had a sizable lead. Rhody's throw caromed off Donlin into left field, which allowed her to break for home with the game-winning run.
"When we were down by two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, I think the girls made up their minds that they weren't going to lose this game," said DeAngelo. "We didn't have a whole lot of offense today, but sometimes you just need that one spark to get you jump-started and Ashely (Donlin) gave that to us today."
Kayla Knight struck out seven batters to pick up the victory, while Nine Curran accounted for Marian's other two hits.
For Schuylkill Haven (5-10), Vik Trout and Alicia Miller had two hits apiece. Gerhard had seven strikeouts in the loss.
Schuylkill Haven 000 110 0 - 2 6 3
Marian 000 003 x - 3 3 1
Gerhard and A. Rhody; Knight and Hill. W - Knight. L - Gerhard.