Francis Scott Key's softball team celebrated more than just a win Wednesday over Winters Mill.
After overcoming an early four-run deficit, the Eagles scored 14 runs in the fourth inning to stymie the Falcons 15-5, but each time Maddie Russell went up to bat, her teammates showered her with calls and cheers of "Happy Birthday."
This wasn't the first time FSK got a win on Russell's birthday. Last year, the Eagles defeated North Carroll 4-2, and Russell said she'd like to be a symbol of good luck for her squad.
"It's awesome," said Russell, now 18. "I love that the team came together because obviously we were down so it's great to get the win."
Winters Mill built an early 5-1 lead, scoring one run in the first, three in the third, and another in the fourth. Senior Rachel Engle's RBI single in the third inning brought sophomore infielder Taylor Glover in to score for her second run of the game.
Senior outfielder Paula Ambrose then hit a single that brought in the next two runners to give Winters Mill a 5-1 lead.
FSK (3-10, 3-10 county) needed four more runs to tie the Falcons entering the fourth. Bernadette Blocher blasted an RBI triple that brought Jenna Brown in to score, and from there the Eagles soared.
They sent 19 batters to the plate in the fourth, and five different players scored two runs apiece in the inning. Francis Scott Key suddenly held a 15-5 lead. Morgan Engel and Maya Parmele had two RBIs each for the Eagles, who benefited from nine walks in their fourth-inning outburst.
"We knew that once we got one run that we were going to rally," Russell said. "Runs are contagious, hitting is contagious so if we continued to keep hitting, it would keep going so once we got one, then two, then three, all of a sudden we had 14 runs and we were all looking around saying, 'It's the bottom of the fourth' and we can take that momentum into any game."
Last week, the Eagles beat county championship game contender South Carroll 1-0. Before that, the Eagles suffered seven straight losses and have registered just three county wins this season. Two of those victories were over Winters Mill.
Despite a struggling season, FSK has remained close in numbers.
"You see it on and off the field really," Russell said. "If we're down by five runs, 10 runs, no matter the score, everybody is picking each other up and when we're in the dugout, we're loud and we're cheering for each other."
Winters Mill coach Felicia Knill has a relatively young roster with just three seniors, but she cited a number of mental mistakes that hurt the Falcons in their 10th straight loss Wednesday.
"We lost a lot of our energy and we're a young team that thrives on energy," Knill said. "That energy got depleted very quickly. We're looking to grow, learn and get some of those experiences up that we can build on with a lot of young players."
The Falcons (2-12, 1-11) have three more county games — Liberty, North Carroll, and Westminster — and a non-county matchup with South Hagerstown before their regular season comes to a close.
FSK will visit Westminster on Friday in their final county game of the regular season before finishing the year with two non-county matchups against Bel Air and South Hagerstown.
"We really have been teaching good character and team building," Eagles coach Thom Vickery said. "I really honestly believe in my heart that character will get us the result we want. This is much more than just about softball, this is hopefully teaching our young women to be good, productive citizens when they leave school.
"These girls pick each other up so regardless of what happens the rest of the year, I'm proud of these young women."