STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Erelle Sowers stood a few feet behind the rubber in the pitching circle. The seventh inning was about to start, and the Souderton righthander was all by herself on the infield, as none of her Souderton softball teammates had walked onto the diamond yet.
Sowers calmly picked up some dirt and received a thumbs-up and reassuring nod from coach Steph Rummel.
Always composed - even when three outs away from a state championship - Sowers went on to retire the side in order.
Then poise gave way to celebration after the Indians' 8-3 victory over Lower Dauphin in the PIAA Class AAAA final Friday at Penn State. It was Souderton's first state softball title.
"It is indescribable," senior third baseman Paige Shelly said. "We just made history today, and especially after graduation yesterday, it is a big deal. I'm not an emotional person so I didn't cry, but inside I'm flipping."
The composure with which the Indians (21-5) played the latter innings, however, did not match their demeanor when they first walked onto the field.
Sowers said she was anxious at the start of the game. So was the rest of the Souderton team, and it showed. The Indians committed two errors and gave up two first-inning runs.
Luckily for Sowers, catcher Morgan Yoder knows when the pitcher is nervous. Yoder told her she was rushing her pitches and needed to take a deep breath.
Sowers listened to the junior, calming her teammates in the process, and when the Indians went out on the field for the second inning, they were a different team.
"We got all our jitters out," Shelly said. "Once Rummel talked to us, [telling] us to put smiles on our faces and keep playing, we fought back and won it."
Souderton scored four runs in the second, getting RBI singles from Savannah Bostwick and Angie Carty, to take a 4-2 lead.
The hits and runs didn't stop there.
Four players had multiple hits for the Indians, including Shelly and Carty, as all nine batters reached base safely during the final.
"It wasn't just one person picking the team up," senior first baseman Haley DeLany said. "We all pick each other up and everyone is a good hitter, which can change the name of the game at any moment."
All season, the Indians' mantra was "We Run This," which was written on the back of team T-shirts. After the win, Rummel had a surprise for her squad.
With the season over and their mission completed, they were presented with new shirts. These said, "We Ran This."
Lower Dauphin 200 010 0 - 3 6 2
Souderton 040 301 x - 8 10 2
WP: Erelle Sowers. LP: Ava Bottiglia. 2B: LD-Madison Lilliock; S-Paige Shelly.