UPDATED (10:55 p.m.) -- St. Frances won the semifinal game, 4-0, and will advance to play The Heights in the championship game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at a site to be determined.
On April 27, members of the St. Frances baseball team were near tears. Today, the Panthers are in the Maryland State Private School semifinals and putting a positive ending on a season that could have been a disaster.
Until that Friday in April, St. Frances had been among the leaders in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference. Then the Panthers learned they would have to forfeit all of their games because of incomplete paperwork on two transfer students that had played during the season.
The team went from 8-4 to 0-12 and it had a choice. It could boot out the two students whose paperwork was incomplete and have the remainder of the season count in the MIAA, or it could continue to play with them, knowing any wins would not count in the standings.
The players chose their teammates and a few days later were accepted into the Maryland State Private School tournament.
At the time, coach Brian Boles said it wouldn't have the meaning of playing for the B Conference title, but that it would be something for a team that had worked hard and held itself together.
Today, led by senior third baseman Carey Cheek, who has provided strong leadership through the turmoil along with a .493 batting average, St. Frances is playing Avalon of Gaithersburg in the semifinals.
If they win, the Panthers will play the winner of The Heights-St. Maria Goretti semifinal for the championship on Saturday.