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The Falcons fell behind the winless Red Tornado 3-0 in the first inning, before rallying for a 9-6 victory.

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The Cedar Crest softball team took a giant step forward in its development on Wednesday with a gut-check 1-0 victory over perennial power Warwick.

Then on Friday, with winless McCaskey in town, the work-in-progress Falcons shuffled backwards a few feet before regaining their momentum again.

It wasn't particularly pretty, but Cedar Crest picked up its third win in its last four outings, rallying for a 9-6 victory over the Red Tornado at Cedar Crest Middle School.

McCaskey, still reeling from a crushing 33-0 loss to Hempfield on Wednesday, jumped on Cedar Crest ace Maddie Gable for three runs in the top of the first in an impressive show of resilience, only to see the host Falcons rebound with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame and pull ahead to stay on Gable's RBI single in a four-run second.

The outcome left the Falcons 3-2 overall and 2-1 in Section One and secure in the knowledge that they're getting there but haven't arrived just yet.

"We definitely came out flat tonight," said Cedar Crest coach Eric Edwards. "We played great against Warwick the other day and finally put a game together, a complete game start to finish, and it paid off for us. We can compete like that if we play that way. But we definitely came out flat tonight. We're just happy to get out with a win."

Credit, though, is due to McCaskey which greeted Gable with three straight hits to open the game, including Keiley Lloyd's RBI double that helped put Crest in a 3-0 hole before its first turn at bat.

"The other day they were really down on themselves. Today they came out and really competed and played hard," said McCaskey coach Corey Lloyd, proud of his club's ability to bounce back and fight on Friday. "We almost went through our whole lineup (in the first) and that's a positive. All I ask them is to put it in play and see what happens."

Unfortunately for the Red Tornado, Crest used a similar approach to get back in the game and ultimately take control of it, patiently pounding out seven of its 11 hits in the first two innings. Among those knocks were RBI hits from Gable, Rachel Witherite, Bailey Perry-McClintic and Ashley Maulfair.

McCaskey would get back to within 7-6 in the third with the help of a costly Crest throwing error and a run-scoring groundout by Yareilyn Santiago, but Gable slammed the door from there, retiring 11 of the last 12 hitters she faced while getting some insurance from her own RBI double in the sixth that chased home battery mate Emma Spang.

"We were hitting the ball hard in the middle of the lineup," Edwards said. "Maddie had three hits, and her bat's been hot all season. And Ashley (Maulfair) has been coming around, I think she's seeing the ball pretty well right now."

The Falcons will need to keep swinging those hot bats next week, with key section showdowns looming with pitching-rich Penn Manor and Manheim Township. They'll also need to continue learning from some of the mistakes they made on Friday.

"Coach (assistant Craig Boyer) just told them, 'I'll take an ugly win over a good-looking loss any day,'" Edwards said. "You have to have a short memory. Make a bad play, short memory. Win a big game, short memory. It's onto the next one. That's kind of our focus right now."

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