A three-hour bus ride isn't what a team really wants before a PIAA softball game.
But at least when Greencastle-Antrim unloads at Marywood University in Scranton on Monday afternoon, it should have a good supporting crowd. Although the Blue Devils' opponent, Abington Heights, is a mere 10 miles away, Greencastle has a strong connection to Marywood - it is coach Mark DeCarli's alma mater.
"It's like the song Ozzy Osbourne sings, 'Mama, I'm coming home,'" DeCarli said. "I'll have family and friends up there that'll be there to watch us play, so hopefully my girls will give them a good show."
Greencastle takes on the District 2 victor at 5 p.m. Monday.
Abington Heights is a bit of a mystery, but DeCarli has used his connections to learn that pitcher Paige Harris and catcher Dominique Emmett are both four-year starters.
"From what I know, they're a very solid program," DeCarli said. "I think they're going to be similar to a Donegal. They're very solid and well-coached."
But DeCarli said in a situation like this, it's best for G-A to focus on themselves and try to make the small tweaks that cost the Blue Devils in the District 3 championship.
"I told them that it was a learning experience," DeCarli said. "Each girl needs to look at herself in the mirror and think, 'What could I have done better to get us a win, and how can I improve on that?'"
One thing Greencastle will look to improve is its start, after spotting Donegal a 4-0 lead. But after going hitless for the first five innings of Thursday's championship, Greencastle finished with 12 hits and will once again rely on that strong offense. Ally Brown finished the game with three hits, while Jess Root and Mackenzie Oberholzer each had two.
Brown is expected to start in the circle Monday. DeCarli said he plans to stick with his Brown-Liz Ward rotation until it's necessary to throw both in a single outing.