EAST STROUDSBURG - There weren't too many times during the Mountain Valley Conference regular season that Pleasant Valley found itself trailing.
But with their undefeated conference record in jeopardy, the Bears suddenly found themselves searching for a "quick pick me up" in the late innings against the East Stroudsburg South in Sunday's MVC championship game.
Megan Hardy provided that "quick pick me up" with one swing of her bat.
Hardy's two-run homer in the sixth inning provided the margin of victory as Pleasant Valley rallied to post an 8-6 victory and capture their sixth MVC title in the last seven years.
"We made some mistakes here and there, but we always pick each other up and that's what are team is all about," Hardy said. "We wanted it in the worst way and we were able to get it thanks to pulling through for one another.
"It definitely feels incredible winning this title, especially as senior knowing that we got the title back."
It almost didn't happen that way.
After posting 15-run rule and a 10-run rule victories over the Cavaliers earlier in the season, it was a different story yesterday.
"I tried to tell the girls that the first time (17-2) and second time (14-4) we played them we did really well," Pleasant Valley coach Steve Caffrey said. "But, it was a matter of time before they started hitting the ball and that's what they did today. They executed when they needed to.
"We didn't play as well as could have in the field. In the end though, everything turned out the best for us."
With the Cavaliers' trailing 5-3 after five innings, Sierra Marshall gave her team its first lead against PV this season with a three-run homer.
The lead didn't last long.
Kasey Meckes put a bit of optimism back on the Bears' side. With one out in the sixth, the senior centerfielder reached base for the fourth time.
Meckes moved to second on a Nicole Kregeloh sacrifice bunt and continued on to third on a heads-up play when no Cavalier defender covered the base.
That set the stage for Hardy's big hit.
"If one person's down, we always have someone there to pick us up," Meckes said. "That's what made us in successful this season. Today, it was Megan's turn to come through."
Looking simply to hit the ball hard and get Meckes home with the tying run, Hardy got more than she expected after getting a hold of a Cavaliers' pitcher Carrie Cabral fastball.
"I just went up to the plate knowing that I had to hit the ball whether it be out of the park or just a little hit," said Hardy. "I just wanted to give our team a chance."
It ended up that both Jordan Meckes and Hardy rounded the bases as her ball sailed over the centerfield fence bringing the entire Bears' dugout to home plate to greet her.
In the seventh, the Bears (16-5 overall; 14-0 MVC) put their trust in relief pitcher Rikki Correll. After committing the Bears' final miscue of the day to start the seventh, Correll retired the next three batters on ground balls.
Caffrey was glad to watch his pitching come through in the end.
"We could have put our heads down when we went down a run, but they didn't," said Caffrey. "They came back and did what they needed to do."
Meckes finished a perfect 3-for-3 with two singles, a double and four runs scored. Klapatch also had a two-run homer in the first inning.
ES South 010 113 0 - 6 9 3
Pleasant Vy. 220 103 x - 8 10 4
Cabral and K. Fryer; Marini, Correll (6) and Klingel. W - Correll. L - Cabral. HR: ESS - Marshall (6th, two on); PV - Klapatch (1st, one on); Hardy (6th, one on).
Pleasant Valley advanced to the Mountain Valley Conference championships with a 9-5 win over Pocono Mountain East on Saturday.
Hayli Marini tossed a complete game, strikeouting out nine and allowing four walks.
Nicole Kregeloh paced the Bears with a 3-for-4 performance, which included two doubles, a single and two RBIs.
The Bears' Kasey Meckes (two singles, one RBI) and Dianna Klapatch (single, double, two RBIs) also had big games.
PM East 000 310 1 - 5 7 1
Pleasant Vy. 130 131 x - 9 9 2
Smith, Nayman (6) and Braithwaite; Marini and Klingel. W - Marini. L - Smith.