McDonough scored three runs in the fourth inning Tuesday and then held on to claim a 3-2 victory over Rising Sun in a Maryland 2A softball semifinal at Bachman Sports Complex in Glen Burnie. The Rams (18-5) advanced to take on Liberty (20-2), a 6-0 winner over Lansdowne, in the championship game this weekend.

With one out in the fourth inning, McDonough junior first baseman Abby Corrado hit a two-RBI single. Sophomore shortstop Erin Parlett followed with an RBI double. Four of the Rams’ seven hits on the day came in the fourth.

While McDonough senior pitcher Jazzmyn Hayden allowed just three hits and struck out six batters, neither she nor her defense made things easy. Hayden walked four batters and hit four more with pitches, and the Rams defense tallied five errors.

Hayden “is going to keep us in any game,” McDonough Coach Julie Snavely said. “She was a little bit tight there at the end, but her job is to put the ball in play and make our defense do the work.”

In the end, McDonough’s defense came through to prevent the game-tying run from scoring in the bottom of the seventh. With one out and a runner on second, Rams freshman right fielder Lori Sturgill caught a fly ball and then threw the ball over the head of senior third baseman Molly Simpson.

As the ball ricocheted off the fence behind third base and back to Simpson, the Rising Sun runner took off for home. Simpson collected the ball and fired it to senior catcher Vicki McKenzie in time for the second out.

“We couldn’t let that run in, otherwise it would have tied it and it would have been even scarier going into” extra innings, said Simpson, who threw two runners out at home Tuesday. “Vicki did a good job setting up outside [the plate] for me and did whatever she could. . . . We had to do everything that we could to keep that run from scoring.”

The next Rising Sun batter grounded the ball to Simpson, who threw to first for the final out.

“Our whole goal this year was to get one step farther and handle some business that we needed to do,” Simpson said. “I won state as a freshman. Sophomore year we lost the regional title. Last year we won the regional title and then lost [in the state semifinals], and then this year we’re one step closer.

“We just had to handle some business, and now it’s time to put it down and get that other championship and leave with one.”