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McDonough had a two-run lead and was only three outs away from claiming the Class 2A state softball championship on May 25 versus Liberty at the University of Maryland’s Robert E. Taylor Stadium in College Park.

The Lions from Carroll County, the 2A West Region champions, started the bottom of the seventh inning by loading the bases with no outs.

Senior second baseman Rebecca Oneto followed with a two-run single to knot the game at 2, with junior center fielder Sammy Bost on second base.

Bost stole third, but slid past the bag. McDonough third baseman Molly Simpson then missed the tag, allowing Bost to get to her feet. And instead of going back to third, Bost took off for home, sliding in safely past Rams catcher Vicki McKenzie to give Liberty a 3-2 victory.

It was a heartbreaking end to a memorable season for the Rams.

“It was close and the call just didn’t go our way,” said McDonough head coach Julie Snavely on the game-changing play that night. Snavely would later be named the All-County Coach of the Year. “Liberty just got the momentum and put the pressure on us, they put the ball in play. We just came up short.”

Liberty junior starting pitcher Mackenzie Thompson struck out 11 batters and yielded just two hits, both to Rams senior pitcher Jazzmyn Hayden.

Hayden put her stamp on the game with an RBI double in the first inning and a solo home run to left field in the third to give McDonough a 2-0 lead.

“I thought we had the game because it was the bottom of the lineup to start the inning,” said Hayden afterwards, referring to the pivotal seventh. “This is really heartbreaking; we played great. I thought [Bost] got tagged, the game wasn’t supposed to end like that.”

Hayden, who dominated the game on the pitching rubber up until the seventh, finished with five strikeouts, walked four batters and hit one with a pitch.

AJ MASON