Like most of the season, Petrolia's softball team faced adversity to start the Class A State Semifinal versus Sam Rayburn.
The high-scoring, top-ranked Lady Rebels scored twice in the bottom of the first, thanks to a 2-run double to left field from Avery Crawford.
Petrolia answered back in the top of the third. Senior catcher Jamie Kowalick doubled down the left-field line, putting herself and junior Mallory Ridinger into scoring position. Senior Alaina Anderson, fresh off her big regional final game, hit a laser back up the middle, emptying the bases and tying it all up at 2-2.
After that, a crazy bottom of the third may have decided the whole game. Rayburn lead-off hitter Ali Wiechman ended up on third base to start the frame, thanks to fielding error. Next, Cassidy Hall grounded a ball back to Katie Cummings. Instead of forcing a pickle between third and home, the sophomore threw to first for the sure out, then Anderson fired to Kowalick at home for a big double play.
A couple of Petrolia mistakes extended the inning however, and Rayburn took advantage. Pitcher Alaina Kissinger helped out her own cause by smashing one over the left-field fence for a 3-run blast to give her team a 5-2 lead.
"I was afraid the wheels would fall off," Petrolia head coach DeDe Gray said. "They didn't. Our girls are battlers."
Cummings struck out two of three in the bottom of the fourth, then made a great grab off a comebacker to start a double play to end the fifth.
Petrolia held Rayburn scoreless the rest of the way, then looked for a two-out rally with the bases loaded in the seventh.
Kowalick started it off with the bloop shot to right, knocking in junior Allie Ablia. But, it ended as fast as it started. Ridinger was forced out rounding second.
It wasn't meant to be for the Lady Pirates today.
Rayburn advances with the 5-3 win.
"They fought to the very last second," Gray said. "I was very proud of the whole season."
Petrolia finishes the year at 18-13 overall and 9-1 in the playoffs. All but three Lady Pirates will return next season.