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South awakened by Rising Sun

May 23, 1998

By MARK KELLER

Staff Writer

SEVERN, Md. - As she posed for photos with her teammates, Stacey Zeger was fighting to hold back her tears. But out they came, no matter how she tried.

Zeger's reaction might be expected. After all, she and the other six seniors on the South Hagerstown softball team were within one game of fulfilling a promise they made when they were freshmen.

And suddenly, it was all over. The Rebels had fallen short of their dream, losing to defending champion Rising Sun 6-2 Friday in the Class 1A State Final at Randazzo Softball Park.

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After enduring the seemingly endless clicking of camera shutters, Zeger said she felt as emotional about her high school career ending as she did about losing in the final.

"I think it's both combined, really," Zeger said. "I realized I'm never gonna play again. This is the game we were waiting for and we couldn't put it together. The right team didn't show up today."

Charlene Kane, however, did not fail to see the bigger picture. The Rebels (16-10) won their first region title and became the first Washington County team to reach the state final since Hancock in 1993.

"I'm not disappointed. I feel great. They're just a little upset now," Kane said of her teammates. "It was a good season. We can't do anything to change it now."

Rising Sun took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but the damage could have been much worse for the Rebels. Stephanie Covert singled down the third-base line, and Kristen Barrick and Sarah Mitchell followed with bunt singles to load the bases.

Amanda Maska grounded to third and Kristin Harne threw home to force out Covert. Carly Turner grounded to Emily Middlekauff at short, but her only play was to third, and Barrick scored. Tia Waltemire got Autumn Wilson to ground out and end the inning.

It was the first time in the playoffs that the Rebels gave up the first run of the game.

"That got us down a little and we got a little scared," Kane said. "That's a situation where we don't play better scared."

The Tigers (13-9) added two runs in the third. Maska drove a two-out single up the middle, stole second and went to third when the throw went into the outfield. Turner walked and stole second and both runners scored on Wilson's double.

South had runners on base in every inning but the second, yet didn't get on the scoreboard until the seventh. Kane led off with a triple and scored when Dee Ecton walked and induced a rundown between first and second. Carrie Keller singled and later scored on a groundout by Allison Higgs.

Rising Sun pitcher Jennifer Maccari held the Rebels to just four hits.

"They need to be proud of what they accomplished. They have nothing to hang their heads about," coach Sabrina McCoy said. "There's a lot of teams sitting home now wishing they were here."

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