Montgomery’s season ends with a storybook win of gold | News, Sports, Jobs
STATE COLLEGE – Faith Persing has been a human driver in the circle over the years. But despite being a hitting machine, Montgomery’s ace thrower is the one who landed the final take.
The Class A player of the year threw the last pitch of her high school career. The ball appeared and Persing met it near the plate and his glove greeted it on the way back to Earth.
A quick lap, jump and pass to his teammates, Persing and the rest of the 2022 Red Raiders dropped everything.
“That was it. We won the gold medal then,” said Persing. “I think we talked, ‘Are we going to dogpile? Are we going to jump? What are we going to do?'”
FINAL — Montgomery 5, DuBois Central Catholic 1
For the first time in school history, Montgomery has a state championship in a team sport.
— Evan Wheaton (@EvanWheaton) June 16, 2022
The improvisation led Persing to find himself deep in a pile of elated dogs. The Montgomery softball team defeated DuBois Central Catholic, 5-1 at Penn State University’s Beard Field on Thursday for the school’s first Class A softball title.
Not only was this the first state title in softball, it was also Mongomery’s first state tag team championship in any sport in the school district.
“It’s amazing. We have our whole community here supporting us and that alone is so emotional,” said first baseman Taylor McRae. “These little girls really look up to us and we can be role models for them.”
McRae went 2 for 4 with a two-out, two-run single that produced a pair of runs. Brynn McCrae and Jenna Waring went 3 for 4. Courtney Smith and Persing both hit RBI singles. The Red (22-4) Raiders had 14 total hits.
The Cardinals’ lone run (22-4) came late in the fifth inning when Savanah Morelli and Jessy Frank both hit doubles, with the latter leading the former.
“We have just set an example for all the little ones who admire us”, Brynn McRae said, noting the sea of red flooding the right side of the Beard Field bleachers. “That community that came out, we really achieved that today.”
The day before the state championship, the Red Raiders hosted a team dinner at Mountain Tavern off Montgomery Pike. Spaghetti dinners were on the menu with a guest speaker.
Casey Drick, the program’s starting pitcher in 2010, spent the evening sharing her experiences. Drick’s side were the last Red Raiders side to advance to the National Finals.
“It was really surreal. It made it believable for it to happen, and it is today,” said Taylor McRae. “That she lived this moment and was able to share her experiences.”
Drick talked about his ups and downs that year. She told the team to enjoy the moment. It took Montgomery 12 years to get another crack at state gold. The message got through.
“I think we really focused last night when she came. Reality has set in” said Brynn McRae. “We knew we had to focus and put our heads in the game.”
Persing threw a four hit and struck out six, tying a season-lowest stat line. Behind her, the peloton staged four 1-2-3 rounds.
After beating her opponents 44-2 in the playoffs — largely thanks in part to Bloomsburg University’s commitment to the circle — it was the plays around her on defense that stepped up and acted as a golden backstop against DuBois Central Catholic.
“We put so much emphasis on our defense. A lot of people know I can throw, but a lot of people can hit too. said Persing. “It’s just huge to have a pitcher and a defense and when you add the offensive side to it, it’s just unbeatable.”
Being a pitcher herself generations later, Persing acted more like a sponge at that team dinner. She heard Drick’s every word and processed it with her teammates.
Within hours of that moment, Persing would be battling it out on the biggest stage of his high school career for one last ride with his closest friends. One last moment wearing red, white and black.
“I just figured it out. This is our last game as a team. With the eight senior starters we have, it’s such a close bond. said Persing. “It’s sad that it’s all over, but it’s the perfect way out. Just go out, have fun, enjoy the moment, keep a good frame of mind and leave it all on the field.
Chris Glenn has been Montgomery’s coach since 2018. He saw his seniors miss out a year before. It saw them entirely lose an entire year to COVID-19. But on Thursday, Glenn saw the end of a storybook the school had never seen before.
Glenn looked at the softball in his hand — the very ball Persing caught to close the deal — and gave it a little spin in the palm of his hand.
“I can’t say I’ve ever had a better plate of spaghetti in my life.”