UNIVERSITY PARK - She walked out of Penn State's Beard Field with the district championship wrapped in her arms.
You couldn't get a crowbar to pull that trophy out of Ciarra Peters' arms. Locked close to her as she walked through the bottom of the stadium to the awaiting Central Mountain fans.
Yes, the senior got her wish. She accomplished her goal.
The Central Mountain Lady Wildcats pose with the District 6-9 Class AAAA?championship trophy yesterday at University Park. CM?beat Mifflin County 4-1.
Peters ripped a two-run triple to start the scoring in the second, and junior Whitney Peters tossed another gem in the circle, holding Mifflin County to four hits en route to a 4-1 win yesterday.
The win sends the Lady Wildcats to the state bracket on June 4 to face off with either Canon-Mac and Hempfield at a site and time to be determined.
"It's my senior year, and I am leaving my mark on the school," said Ciarra Peters, who was 2-for-2, with three RBIs and one run scored. "I can't describe it. I'm just so excited for the opportunity."
The sweet taste of victory.
After a season of so many bad breaks and up-and-down moments, the Lady Wildcats got to sit under the Centre County sun and bask.
Finally, this is the moment everyone expected from the start of the season. The talented local girls played on the big stage of Beard Field.
And it should come to no surprise that Ciarra Peters shined. Tuesday afternoon, you could sense it as she described her emotions at the team's practice that was pushed indoors thanks to Mother Nature.
She was calm, yet determined to etch her name in the program's history.
That's why it wasn't a shock to see her crush a towering triple to a green gap in center field.
"It was funny because before I stepped in the batter's box, I saw a gap in the outfield. And I said to myself, 'That's where I am hitting the ball.' It felt good. It went right where I wanted it to," she said.
It was all two-out lightning.
Mikala Britt drilled Brittany Koch with a pitch, and Johnna Garbrick followed with single to center that pushed Koch to third.
That's when Ciarra Peters stepped up and unloaded on an 0-1 pitch. It flew toward the gap, and kept rolling - allowing to senior to slide into third base.
She stood up, grinning ear to ear, clapping toward her dugout.
"It was my first triple. I've been hitting doubles all year, and I finally got that triple. It started the momentum for us," she said.
No doubt, it did.
"Momentum is such a huge thing," CM manager Dave Peters said. "When it's on your side, you can play your game. The clutch hit by Ciarra was amazing. We knew they would get back in the game. We knew they were a good team, and wouldn't quit. We were able to tack some runs on later."
Mifflin County's problem was the clutch hit.
For the second straight time, the Lady Huskies couldn't figure out Whitney Peters.
The first time, the CM junior held MC to just one hit in the championship of Thunder on the Mountain.
Yesterday, it was a complete-game four-hitter.
"All I know is if I threw hard, and I hit my spots, we would have a good chance," the pitcher said. "It means a lot. Central Mountain hasn't had a district title in softball for a while, so this feels good."
The Lady Huskies real moment came in the fifth with the Lady Wildcats up 3-1.
An infield error on Tara Kibe's grounder, followed by Macie Lucas' slow roller through the dirt set up power-hitter Brandi Sherwood. The senior blasted a 1-0 pitch to straight-away center that continued to carry. And it cut through the blue sky, driving Garbrick all the way back to the base of the fence where she caught the ball and fell hard to the ground with the dot in her glove.
"I was just hoping Johnna would be able to run back and catch that. She is my life-saver," Whitney Peters said.
For Jack McCurdy's Lady Huskies, the top seed entering the bracket, it was a day of opportunities that fell few and far between.
"Brandi hit that ball a long way and that girl made an outstanding catch," the MC manager said. "Give her a lot of credit because it was a tough catch. We had some hits, and when we needed the hits, we just didn't come through. Pitching-wise, I felt that Mikala did a nice job, but when we were getting through their order for the third time, we wanted them to have a different look. Nonetheless, you have to throw strikes and we struggled in that fourth inning.
"We had a great season. I think we came a long way. This team, we asked them to come together and did. Unfortunately, we just didn't get the win today. We didn't get it done."
Central Mountain tacked on its third run on a bases-loaded walk to Jessica Strouse in the fifth, and capped off the scoring on another base hit by Ciarra Peters.
"The team played really, really well. Ciarra Peters, what a day for her. I am real proud of her," Dave Peters said. "Whitney did a heck of a job. She really controlled the game, and our fielders played so well. Johnna, what a play in the outfield. Solid defense, great pitching and timely hitting wins championships, and it did. We did them all today."
Moriah Lindsey, Garbrick and Ciarra Peters each had two hits for Central Mountain (11-11), while senior Jess Lamberson had two of MC's four rips.
"This title is something we worked hard for, and we are appreciative to get the opportunity to play for it," coach Peters said. "It's an amazing feeling, I can tell you that."
Class AAAA Championship
at Beard Field, Penn State
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN 4, MIFFLIN COUNTY 1
M020 011 0 - 4 7 1
C001 000 0 - 1 4 0
M: Mikala Britt, Rachel Zimmerman (5) and Allessa Morrison. CM: Whitney Peters and Paige Dickey. WP - Peters. LP - Britt. 3B: CM, Ciarra Peters. 2B: M, Brooke Wilson. MH: M, Jess Lamberson 2. CM, Moriah Lindsey 2, Johnna Garbrick 2, Ciarra Peters 2. Records: CM 11-11, MC 14-6.