Mid Valley sophomore Emily Morano had a night that most players could only dream of. She hit a game-winning homer in the top of the eighth inning to lift Mid Valley to the District 2 Class 3A championship, 6-4, over Holy Redeemer on Thursday, and a berth in the PIAA playoffs that start today. The Spartanettes avenged an extra-inning loss in last year’s final and ended the two-year state title reign of Holy Redeemer.

What kind of exhilaration is that? I was completely ecstatic. When I was rounding third base, coach is like, “Make sure you touch home.” Our team is so closely bonder, we’re such good friends, we hang out after school all the time. And I was running into home and I saw them surrounding home plate and I had the biggest smile on my face. It was great.

Do you remember touching the bases? I remember rounding first and I was like, “Okay, be cool.” Then second, and I wasn’t sure how long I could hold it in. Rounding third it was like, “Okay, it’s coming out.”

Your starting catcher and second-leading hitter, Abbie Mills, had a chance to go on the class trip to Florida but elected to stay home and be with the team. I’m so proud of her that she stayed with us. It meant a lot. I don’t know if we’d have made it through that game without her. She’s outstanding behind the plate. Everyone has so much faith in her. It would have been a whole different game.

Aside from this, what’s the one sports moment this year you remember most? When our boys played Holy Redeemer for the District 2 basketball championship. We were down two and Brad Kalinowski shot a 3 but it was blocked. I was in my chair, shaking. That was nerve racking.

When did you realize this team had a chance to do something special? When we played Holy Cross and lost, that was our moment when we had to get it together. We needed to work pitch by pitch and focus on winning every game.

With the district title behind you, what’s next on your mind? We take it pitch by pitch. Coach stresses that a lot. Getting down in ready position for every pitch, outfield, infield, it doesn’t matter. On the bench, every pitch we want you cheering. You need to boost each other, be ready for what’s about to come.

One player from another team you’d love to have as a teammate. There are so many girls to choose from and I have a lot of friends on Holy Cross, but I think Bella Tratthen from Lakeland is a really nice girl and a good player.

Who’s been the most influential person on your sports career? My dad. There’s no “I’m good.” It’s constantly encouraging me to get better.

Talking to you for an extended period for the first time, you seem mature beyond your years. I’m a sophomore, so I like to mess around with my friends, but my dad told me if I mess around nobody is going to take me seriously. I don’t want to be known as that kid who isn’t mature.

Who’s the class clown on your team? Me. Definitely me. Myself, Lauren Owens and Lindsey Medric, we’re a bunch of jokesters.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned through sports? You need to stay disciplined You need to stay committed. You need to really want it. For example, rec league. I was on a team where we went 3-12, but it showed me the difference in the girls mindset. On Mid Valley, it was strictly win, get better and do what we need to get it done.

You don’t take losing well. Not at all. I’m very emotional. When we lost to Riverside in basketball (in district playoffs), I cried for like three days. It was terrible.

Biggest improvement in a teammate this year. We’ve all gotten so much better from the beginning of the season. Lacy Harrington, Mia Pawelski, Abbie Mills, Lauren Owens, they’re all getting a lot better. And Danielle Jason, I don’t know where she is picking up the speed, but she is constantly getting faster. One person gets better, it’s like a lead by example.

Understanding you’re a sophomore, have you started to think about your future plans? I’d like to look into a pharmacy program. I really like biology so I want to stick with that.