It was appropriate that Dulaney's Julie Green raised her glove to catch a pop-up to make the final out of yesterday's Class 4A, Region II final softball game.
After all, the junior pitcher pretty much kept control of the game from the palm of her hand.
Green threw a one-hitter and with strong defensive play from the infield the fourth-seeded Lions (10-3) went on to defeat second seed Perry Hall, 3-0, and win their first regional title.
Dulaney advanced to Tuesday's state semifinals at Randazzo Park.
This was the third meeting between the county rivals. Dulaney lost a doubleheader to Perry Hall (12-2), 3-2 and 2-1, in the beginning of the season.
"Believe me, it's hard to beat a team the third time," Perry Hall coach Emily Thon said. "I don't know whether the one team is psyched up because they lost or the other team is confident because they have won before."
Green also found herself facing Perry Hall for a third time on the mound. "I think that I've gotten better since then, and our infield has really pulled together," said Green, who finished with six strikeouts.
"We just had not been on the field a lot," Lions coach Elaine Lindsay said. "We had 12 errors in those two games, and they were still one-run ballgames. The difference today was the fielding."
Green and the Dulaney infield retired 11 straight batters before allowing a hit -- a fourth-inning single by shortstop Jessica Loehr that just rolled through the left side of the infield.
The Lions scored two runs in the fourth starting with senior Jennifer Jones' leadoff home run to right-center, which was the first ball hit out of the infield.
"I thought when I struck out my first time up, it was going to be a tough game," Jones said. "I'm real picky about my pitches, and she [Perry Hall starting pitcher Shannon Furletti] pitched that one right over the plate."
Three batters later, Whitney McClelland's RBI single drove in Green from third base.
"It's going to be great seeing our year on the banner hanging in our gym," Jones said, referring to the banners of region and state champions that line the walls of Dulaney's gymnasium. "There couldn't be a better way to end the season."