Pennsville's Megan Knott singled home Rachel Coleman yesterday with the winning run at Gloucester, and the 2-1, extra-innings victory marked the first time in two years that the Eagles had defeated their Tri-County Conference Classic Division rivals on their home turf.
And what a time for it to happen: in an NJSIAA South Jersey Group 1 semifinal.
Pennsville (19-4), the No. 3 seed, will host No. 4 Gloucester Institute of Technology in the final on Friday. GCIT defeated No. 1 seed New Egypt, 3-2, yesterday.
"The last time we were here, there was a black cloud over us when we lost," said Coleman, a junior pitcher. "Today the sun is out. No clouds."
Coleman, who gave up six hits and an unearned run to the second-seeded Lions (22-5), scored in the top of the eighth inning on what Gloucester coach Dave Light called a "Texas League single down the right-field line that was not fielded [properly]."
Coleman, who was on second base, beat the throw to the plate, and the Eagles' bench erupted.
Gloucester, which took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, couldn't bounce back as Coleman threw nothing but ground balls that infielders Lindsay Snajkowski, Dawn Curry and Katie Gaskill handled skillfully.
"I never won on this field," Coleman said. "This is the year. This [win] is going to go a long way."
The Eagles tied the score, 1-1, in the top of the seventh when Kelly Kline doubled home Kristin Garvin, who was on second base as a result of a throwing error.
Light lamented his players' defensive lapses in the game while praising them for a good season.
Coleman ran her record to 11-4, thanks in part to Ashley Minch, her catcher, with whom she works well. And Minch had something more than the victory over the Lions to celebrate.
The four-year starter stroked her 135th career hit in the sixth inning. The single to right field broke the school record of 134 set by Amy Cooker.
"All year I was trying to do it," said Minch, who had a batting average of .419 entering the game. "For it to happen in this game is even better."
Gloucester pitcher Taylor Chain, who had kept the Eagles off balance with her curve and screwballs throughout most of the game, said Knott got lucky on the game-winning hit, a screwball.
Knott said the ball was high and inside when she hit it.
"[Chain] was jamming us the whole game," Knott said. "We had to adjust."
Pennsville 000 000 11 - 2 9 0
Gloucester 000 010 00 - 1 6 1
WP: Rachel Coleman. LP: Taylor Chain. 2b: P - Kelly Kline. G - Chain, Tabby Dick.