CAMBRIDGE — Five days ago, when freshman Madison Pleasants threw a perfect game to help win a playoff opener, Cambridge-South Dorchester High's softball team was riding high.
But 3½ innings into Monday's Class 1A East Section II semifinal, the Vikings were on the other end, trailing by two runs and being no-hit by St. Michaels senior right-hander McKenna Browning.
But the Vikings rallied for two runs in the bottom of the fourth, then watched Pleasants step into her familiar hero role, her double scoring Abby Robinson with go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth to help Cambridge-SD to a 3-2 victory.
The second-seeded Vikings (17-3) will host No. 4 Snow Hill on Wednesday for the Section II championship. The Eagles beat top-seeded Mardela, 13-9, in yesterday's other sectional semifinal.
"We've had a lot of games where the other team has pulled ahead on us, and we've managed to fight out of it, come back and win," C-SD head coach Kareem Otey said. "And today, we managed to do that. We had to get the bats going."
Third-seeded St. Michaels (13-6) took a 1-0 lead in the first, when Kristin Lednum worked a one-out walk, moved to second on Layla Berry's grounder, and scored on Savannah Stewart's hard-hit single up the middle. Pleasants (16-3) got Browning to fly out to right, though, ending the inning.
Browning looked more than comfortable with the early advantage. She fanned the first hitter she faced, and though she gave up walks in the second and third, neither reached third. Browning (13-6) struck out five through the first three innings.
A single and two outfield errors, helped the Saints pull ahead 2-0 in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Browning sliced a liner that fell in between two outfielders. One, losing her balance as she lunged for it, inadvertently kicked the ball away. Then other outfielder then overthrew the cutoff, as Browning dashed around the bases to score.
Hannah Seek followed with a double, but Pleasants retired the next hitter to end the inning before the Saints could extend their advantage.
"We needed to do something at that point," Otey said.
The Vikings did.
Pleasants, batting third in recent weeks after spending a lot of time in the cleanup spot, led off the C-SD fourth by slapping a single that got by the right fielder allowing her to reach second base. Maddison Lednum walked, and Brooke Windsor's sacrifice bunt moved runners into scoring position.
Chloe Warrell's slow ground out to second base scored Pleasants and moved Maddison Lednum to third. Natalie Kerr then hit a comebacker that bounced off Browning's foot, allowing Maddison Lednum to score the tying run and Kerr to reach with an infield single.
"We knew we were going to have to score some runs in order to beat a team like Cambridge," Saints head coach Dave Fisher said. "Unless you're going to throw a no-hitter, you're not going to beat them with just two runs.
"And our girls played well," Fisher added, "and they hit a lot of balls hard, really hard, but they were right at people most of the time. ... Cambridge got a couple of bloop hits that fell where we didn't have someone, and then you had that one really hard-hit ball by Maddie (Pleasants), and that was it.
"I'm proud of the girls," Fisher said. "They battled, until the final out, they never gave up. But Cambridge is a good team. ... Anyone who can win a game, 3-2, like that, my hat's off to them."