BRADENTON -- It was the perfect situation.
An ace pitcher ready to deliver the final out to cap yet another sterling performance and send her team forward in the Class 3A-Region 3 tournament.
Never mind the bases were loaded or the lead was just two. There's wasn't any inkling things would go south.
But they did, and Bradenton Christian's softball season ended just like that as the Panthers (13-6) fell to St. Petersburg Catholic 5-4 following a furious seventh-inning rally by the Barons on Wednesday in a Class 3A-Region 3 quarterfinal.
"You've got to play seven innings," BCS head coach Gene Brown said.
St. Pete Catholic entered the final frame trailing 4-2 and had its sixth through nine hitters due up. Those batters previously combined to go 0-for-6 with three strikeouts against Panthers senior Hailey Dearlove.
But their bats started clicking with base hits from Martita Sharlow and Maddi Zoffer worked around two Dearlove strikeouts.
After a walk to Anna Mixa, who tripled and scored in the sixth inning, the Barons turned to third baseman Brooke Zoffer.
Zoffer slapped a grounder to BCS shortstop Lily DeVirgilis, who went to second
base for the force. By the time she arrived at the bag, Mixa had beaten her.
Meanwhile, Sharlow scored and Maddi Zoffer headed for home. DeVirgilis fired over catcher Madison Dreier's outstretched glove and the relay from the backstop got away from Dearlove on the tag attempt, allowing Zoffer to score the tying run.
Mixa didn't stop running, either, and scored the go-ahead run when the ball floated back to Dearlove a little late.
"You're down (two) runs with two outs. What are you going to do, have them stand on the base?" Barons head coach Tommy Fabian said. "You send them all running. It's the only chance you've got."
DeVirgilis smacked a one-out triple in the bottom of the seventh, but the Panthers couldn't push her across and force extra innings.
Consequently, five seniors (Dearlove, DeVirgilis, Dreier, Kathryn Prince and Maddie Hogue) played their final game for BCS.
Savannah Shontere (2-for-3, two RBIs), Dearlove (2-for-4, double, RBI, two runs) and DeVirgilis (2-for-4, triple) collected multi-hit games for the Panthers, while St. Pete Catholic's Kelsey Humphrey earned the win with 11 strikeouts against three walks.