The Polytech softball team dealt with some adversity early on in this year's DIAA Softball State Tournament, winning close games before moving on to the State Championship game with a 4-0 win over Caravel Friday afternoon.
Through all of that adversity, they had still come out victorious. It seemed as if only a perfect performance against them could stand in the way of a Polytech State Championship.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, Laurel sophomore Regan Green pitched a perfect game against the Panthers in Saturday's Championship game at Milford High School.
Green pitched a perfect 7 innings of softball, striking out 15 Panthers in the victory.
It's a stunning end to what turned out to be a very successful playoff run for the Panthers. And while it's not the way some may had envisioned this run to end for the Panthers, they have plenty of accomplishments to look back on and promising future still ahead.
"Our program has been strong for several years now," said Polytech Head Coach Jennifer Bradshaw. "Every season provides more experience for the girls in these types of situations."
Even though the Panthers will lose four seniors from their squad, Lily Engel, Taylor Humphries, Tori Reed and Alexsandra Mycek, to graduation a large portion of Polytech's core will return next season.
With only two current juniors on the squad, next year's Panther squad looks to have more underclassmen than this year's club. And although they may be young, they already have plenty of experience.
Undisputed leader on the pitching rubber, Shaina Reed, will be entering her junior season having already solidified her spot among some of the best pitchers in the state.
"Shaina has done an excellent job, "said Bradshaw. "With the support of or defense, she has kept opponent's run totals low allowing us to win games."
The Panthers saw production from freshmen Morgan Dodge and Whitney DeMora this season, expecting more of the same next year as sophomores. And other underclassmen junior Kristen Ball and sophomore Brandi Dalious produced in big moments along the way for the Panthers.
It will take a while for the sting of this defeat to subside. However, as time goes by the Panthers who will return next season can look back at the loss for motivation. After all, it did take a perfect performance Saturday to beat them.
"Every time we played in the postseason we gained more confidence," said Bradshaw. "And we strive to go even further."