Then again, there aren't exactly any welcome mats in the postseason playoffs.

So when West Chester East dumped a single into right field, drilled a single off pitcher Heather Rush's glove, and dropped another single into short right-center with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning of Thursday afternoon's District 1-Class AAA third-place final at Ursinus College, well, it ended the scoreless stalemate for good, and the 1-0 victory closed the door on the Rams' otherwise superb season.

"They're upset," said head coach Tim Hughes, nodding toward a bench full of disheartened Rams. "As a coach that's good to see because this means something to them.

"They worked hard, they did everything we asked of them, and they earned their way here. This game means something to them, and they're not happy they aren't moving on."

It was a particularly disappointing week for Spring-Ford (20-5), the No. 6 seed that rolled into the final week of districts with an impressive victory over No. 3 seeded Hatboro-Horsham. But a nine-inning, 1-0 setback to No. 2 seed and four-time defending champion Pennsbury dropped them into Thursday's third-place game with No. 1 seeded W.C. East.

And going pitch-for-pitch with the highly touted Vikings (24-1) was of no consolation, especially after Jill Viguers' single to right, Allison Gengler's tracer off Rush's glove and Sandi Norris' RBI single to right that ended the 59-minute affair.

"You have to expect this kind of game when you get this far," said Spring-Ford senior first baseman Michelle Reffner. "It's hard, but you can't think about it. All you can do is play hard and do the best you can.

"A lot of people didn't even think we'd be the (Pioneer Athletic Conference) champs, so we were a big upset I guess. We really turned some heads. But this team came together, and we did a lot together."

Up until the seventh, Rush and the Rams' defense sure had it together. Rush, a junior right-hander, allowed a leadoff single to Kelli Boyle in the fourth, but she was erased on a heads-up double play when Susan Lebow caught a pop-up bunt in front the plate and caught Boyle off the bag. Marie Galvin led off the sixth with a single, but was promptly picked off first by Lebow.

Rush, who also got big plays when shortstop Taryn Carmody snagged a pair of liners and when Erin McHugh caught a shot fully extended in center field, didn't walk a batter and had three strikeouts entering the decisive seventh.

However, the Rams couldn't muster any offense against Vikings starter Mary Costa. They had three base runners - two errors and a walk - through four turns at the plate. Megan Allebach finally broke up Costa's no-hit bid with a one-out single in the fifth, but got doubled up on a line drive to shortstop. Reffner's single through the hole on the left side came with two down in the sixth.

But those were the only offensive hurrahs.

"This isn't the way we wanted it to end," Reffner said.

"We kind of flew in under the radar," Hughes added. "I don't know if we were picked by many people to win the PAC-10. No one expected this, really, not after we were 3-3 in the beginning of the year.

"But then we won 16 in a row ... then we lose 1-0 to Pennsbury and 1-0 to the (W.C. East). I'm proud of these girls, every one of them. I wouldn't trade them for anything."

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NOTES ... Despite the loss, Rush - who didn't walk anyone - threw just 55 pitches. Costa finished with 71, which included one walk and two strikeouts. ... Spring-Ford loses five seniors, but returns among others its very efficient battery of Rush and Lebow.

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