Principal Laura Webb greeted her Annapolis High School softball team with flowers this morning. She had a carnation for each player and for coach Gloria Day to celebrate yesterday's 10-inning 8-7 victory over Southern-AA that ended the state's longest losing streak at 90.
"Everybody's grinning all around school," said Day, who had preached and preached all season to her players that "good things will happen, if you keep trying."
With two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, winning pitcher Jennifer Mauck ripped a line drive to rightfield, scoring Uyen Do with the winning run.
Do also made a game-saving play in the eighth by throwing out Rachel Lee, who was trying to score from third.
The victory touched off much jubilation for the 300 spectators, but Day struggled to temper her own elation. She coached the losing Southern Bulldogs for two seasons, before moving over to coach the Panthers two years ago.
"Desire and improvement, that's what coaching is all about," said Day. "The program was so weak, no one wanted to join, but this group really wanted to play and proved that effort pays off."
Day said no parades through Annapolis are planned, but it was suggested she just cancel tomorrow's game and hold a barbecue right on the pitchers' mound. Her Panthers (1-16) must play host to No. 1-ranked Glen Burnie.
The losing streak ended almost five years to the day after it began: The Panthers hadn't won a game since beating Severna Park, 1-0, on May 7, 1986.