Even after the Rams took a four-run lead in the top of the fifth inning against tiring Wildcats pitcher Kelsey Collins, Dallastown would not fold.
Two runs in the bottom of the fifth, followed by two more in the sixth that tied the game, and once again the young team that is never out of the game looked primed for a second straight come-from-behind victory.
Until with one out in the top of the seventh, Central Dauphin pitcher Taylor Henry launched the first pitch she saw over the left-field fence, then retired the Wildcats in order for the first time in the game in the bottom of the seventh.
Finally out of comebacks, third-seeded Dallastown fell to No. 4 Central Dauphin, 7-6.
However, as high school principal Dr. Alan Fauth told the Wildcats while helping coach Jeff Deardorff present the silver medals, "You did Dallastown proud tonight."
"I am proud of the way they played. But we have done this a lot. We keep battling back and battling back," Deardorff said. "They just believe they can do it. They honestly believe they can score runs when they need to and they never give up."
Fresh off Wednesday's dramatic 10-inning come-from-behind semifinal win over Central York, Dallastown (19-4) was poised for another comeback after the Rams (21-3) pushed across two runs in the top of the fifth.
Sam Hartman walked, courtesy runner Jess Gates stole second and scored on a Kayla Merriman single, who went to second on the throw home. Merriman went to third on Amanda Jones' bad-hop single and scored when Jenna Eckenrode grounded out.
With one out in the sixth, Julia Snyder reached on an error and scored when pinch hitter Hallie Morris drilled a ball to deep left field that was ruled an error. Morris scored on another error, tying the game.
"I would rather be up 6-2, but I know the game is not over," Deardorff said. "I know we will battle back and still have a great chance to win it."
"I am really proud because last night we had a long, tough game and came through," Jones said. "We showed resiliency. We can come back and we almost did. We just fell one short."
The University of Pitt-bound Henry, who called the Wildcats a "very tough, very competitive team," collected her thoughts before her final at bat.
"In the on-deck circle I recognized I had the adrenaline going. I just calmed my mind and focused. As soon as it hit the bat, I knew it was gone," Henry said after going 3-for-4 with three runs batted in.
It marked the second straight season the Rams knocked off a YAIAA team in the district title game.
Dallastown opens its PIAA tournament on Monday against the District 12 champion with the time and site to be determined. Not bad for a team with only one senior and a program competing in its first district title game.
"It's pretty amazing. We are making history at Dallastown. Hopefully we will do well at states and make even more history," Jones said. "We have a really good team. We have a lot of young talent and who knows, we can go all the way next year."
Hartman walked in the first inning and came around to score when Merriman's single was bobbled in the outfield. The sophomore tripled in a run in the bottom of the third, after Central Dauphin scored four times on three hits and two Wildcat errors in the top of the inning.
at Millersville University
CENTRAL DAUPHIN 7, DALLASTOWN 6
Central Dauphin 004 020 1 -- 7 10 4
Dallastown 101 022 0 -- 6 6 5
CD, Taylor Henry and Karli Boyer; Dt, Kelsey Collins and Sam Hartman. SO-BB -- CD, Henry 7-5; Dt, Ke. Collins 6-0. W -- Henry. L -- Collins. 2B -- CD, Halley Rose; Dt, Kayla Collins. 3B -- Dt, Hartman. HR -- CD, Henry.