Mary Cate Scott stayed late after Lansdale Catholic's loss to Archbishop Wood on Tuesday.
The senior had pitched yet another complete game, but a late-inning meltdown was fresh on her mind. So she fired and fired - everything from inside fastballs to changeups and screwballs - as her coaches and her father picked apart her delivery.
When Thursday's pivotal game against Archbishop Carroll arrived, "I came out ready," Scott said.
Working in and out of trouble, Scott guided the Crusaders to a 4-2 victory to rebound from two straight Catholic League losses.
In the first inning, she gave up a leadoff double, then threw a bunt into right field to allow the game's first run. In the second, she took a blow to the leg from Carroll catcher Keri Hunt, who slid into second base for a steal after reaching on a pop-up that landed among three Crusaders.
Scott yelped in pain upon impact, spending several minutes on the ground as coaches jogged out to help. Then she got up and took the pitching circle with the same frozen stare she had before.
"Since I was little, my dad's always taught me to pretend I'm a tunnel," she said, "and just drown out everything around me. Today, it actually helped."
Lansdale Catholic (12-5 overall, 6-3 league) rallied for three runs in the third when second baseman Lexi Mayo legged out an RBI infield single and catcher Kate Beck plated two runs on a blooper to center.
With one out and one on in the sixth, Scott fielded a one-hop comebacker. Monica Clark, the runner on second, took a few steps toward third, so Scott threw to second base as Carroll's Cara Santoler reached first.
Clark slid safely back into second.
Up stepped Carroll cleanup hitter Shannon DeFusco, who entered the game with four doubles, three triples, and two home runs in her previous five games. On the bench, the Patriots (12-3, 6-3) screamed in hopes of another big hit.
Two days earlier, Scott had lost her composure in the fifth, when four Wood batters crossed the plate. The loss was Lansdale Catholic's third in four games, all by two runs or fewer.
"We couldn't get a break," Lansdale Catholic coach Paul Suder said.
On Thursday, the ball bounced the Crusaders' way. Scott hurled a low fastball to DeFusco, who slapped a grounder to Mayo. The second baseman tagged Santoler and threw to first for a double play.
Scott could exhale.
"It's a matter of staying focused," Suder said. "You just can't go up there and throw the ball by everybody. You still have to hit your spots. You've got to battle like everybody's the three or four hitter."
Archbishop Carroll 1100000 - 242
Lansdale Catholic 003001x - 451
WP: Mary Cate Scott. LP: Aubrey Blewett. 2B: AC-Monica Clark.