Softball: Stone Bridge rallies past Osbourn to reach Virginia AAA semifinals; Woodgrove crushes Tabb in AA quarterfinals


Niki Prince races home as Stone Bridge beats Osbourn in the Virginia AAA state quarterfinals. (Gabe Hiatt for The Washington Post)
June 4, 2013

Lying face down on the third base path with dirt kissing her freckles, all Stone Bridge senior Niki Prince could think about was the ball clutched securely in both hands.

Osbourn pitcher Lindsey Corbin had committed to stealing second base in the sixth when Bulldogs catcher Olivia Tatara chucked a laser to Prince. Corbin trucked into the shortstop a foot ahead of second base.

Prince went flying. The ball did not.

“The whole time I didn’t realize she hit me,” said Prince, the two-time Northern Region player of the year. “I was just holding on to that ball. If she’s hitting me, I’m getting that out.”

Stone Bridge did not take the lead until the fifth inning of its 6-3 win over Osbourn on Tuesday night in Ashburn, but Prince’s play at shortstop ensured no Eagles would reach scoring position again in a Virginia AAA state quarterfinal.

Kelly McDaniel followed the tag-out with the first of three strikeouts on the night.

The Eagles (18-7) scored three runs in the first two innings, but McDaniel settled down and allowed only one hit in the final five frames.

Stone Bridge (27-1) won the Northern Region the past two years but got shut out in last year’s quarterfinals.

In the fifth inning against Osbourn, McDaniel ensured a different result.

Trailing by one with two outs and and senior Courtney Gibson on base, McDaniel bombed a two-run home run to left center field.

“I tried to look, but I didn’t see it go over,” McDaniel said. “It just felt really solid.”

Stone Bridge freshman No. 9 hitter Olivia Sappington clobbered her own two-run homer to add insurance in the sixth.

The Eagles started strong as junior Odalis Avilessingled and scored in the first inning and hit a two-run double in the second.

“We let things get to us a little bit I think more than we usually do,” Stone Bridge Coach Billy Rice said of the shaky start. “Maybe we didn’t anticipate how good they actually are.”

Prince put the Bulldogs on the board after stroking a double in the third. She stole third and raced home to beat a throw from first after Gibson barely reached base.

“We’re just going to keep moving on,” Prince said. “Last year, this is where we had our downfall. We were down in the first couple of innings, and we were not going to accept that.”

MADISON FALLS: The Northern Region runner-up Warhawks fell, 1-0, at Orange, which took a lead in the first inning and held on the rest of the way. Madison (19-6) struck out 17 times and had only one hit.

The Warhawks, whose roster features only three seniors, will return freshman pitcher Katie Vannicola and fellow first-year slugger Julia Hoy to a team with high expectations for next season.

WOODGROVE ROUTS TABB: The Wolverines (25-2) notched 31 hits and blew out Tabb, 33-2, to reach their third consecutive state semifinal and extend their quest to repeat as state champions.

Catcher Rachel Harris homered and finished with four RBI. Ashley Cole had six hits and six RBI, and Mackenzie Moler had four hits and four RBI.

“They’re peaking at the right time. Hopefully that’s a sign,” Coach Joe Spicer said. “We’re playing very, very well. I’m just going to try to stay out of the way.”

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