It doesn't happen too often, a sophomore junior varsity player being asked to step in for the most important at-bat of the season.
It happened in the District 2-4 Class AAAA softball championship Thursday, when Williamsport manager Quint Bower called timeout in the bottom of the seventh and asked for Marissa Crane to pinch hit.
The pressure only mounted for Crane, who entered her first postseason at-bat with the bases loaded and the game stalled in a 0-0 pitchers' duel.
The team's faith in each and every player on the roster to get the job done paid off as Crane guided a skillfully timed bunt down the first base line for a 1-0 win over Hazleton, giving Williamsport its second consecutive District 2-4 Class AAAA championship.
The win put Williamsport in the PIAA?playoffs Monday against District 1 fourth-place finisher Pennsbury at Bloomsburg University.
Crane, recently pulled up for the postseason, had only registered three varsity at-bats up to that point, mainly because of two lengthy mid-season tournaments that stretched a Williamsport roster already starting two sophomores and two freshmen.
"Marissa is a very good bunter," Bower said. "The situation called for it there and that's why there are three or four kids on the bench. The situation called for a bunt and she was the perfect player for it there."
To anyone familiar with Williamsport's softball team, it's just another instance of a teammate coming through when needed.
"I saw the bunt go down out of the corner of the my eye and I was excited," Crane said. "It was exciting to come off the bench as a sophomore pulled up from the JV squad."
Williamsport received a similar boost on the field early in the season when a Taylor Brooks pinch-hit single opened the seventh inning of a 1-1 tie against Loyalsock. The freshman's hit eventually sparked a two-run surge as she scored the game-winner.
Brooks has become a regular contributor with the varsity, with five hits with a double and three runs scored. Brooks' presence became even more important to the team after an untimely injury shelved another young contributor in Mikayla Bower.
Bower was on her way to having a breakthrough freshman campaign until spraining her knee batting against Jersey Shore. And for all intents and purposes, she might have still had what can be considered a break through season.
Bower posted 13 hits in 34 plate appearances, becoming one of five players on the team to hit a home run.
In the Millionaires opening round of their tournament, one they eventually won after a 10-0 win over Daniel Boone in the championship game, Bower ripped a line drive into deep left field and was able to leg out an inside the park home run. Bower also saw her first pitching action in the game, getting the save in two innings of work.
The pressure of the moment hasn't fazed this young crop of Williamsport competitors.
In her first district playoff game, freshman Kaitlyn Caringi sparked a six-run rally, leading off the second inning with seven-pitch at-bat and winning the marathon with a single into left field. And she wasn't the only underclassman to contribute.
Both Tiana McCormick and Brooks added two hits apiece, meaning Williamsport received seven combined hits from a sophomore and two freshmen in its 8-0 opening round win over Delaware Valley in the District playoffs.
Of Williamsport's 13 players to register varsity at-bats, eight were in ninth or tenth grade. And four of the eight finished with ten or more hits with five of the eight getting one or more multiple base hits.