Madison senior Kelsey Ross contorted her shoulder toward the plate and braced herself for a line drive to the back. After absorbing the impact, Ross watched third baseman Mary Bolinger pick up the ball and throw out the Oakton runner at first.
The pitcher smiled, shook off the sting and leaned on her defense through the rest of a 5-0 win over the Cougars on Monday at Falls Church in a Virginia AAA Northern Region quarterfinal.
The Warhawks (18-5) will face Liberty District rival McLean, a 4-1 winner over Centreville, in Wednesday’s semifinals.
Ross struck out three and allowed just one hit, a first-inning single, before stymieing Oakton (11-8) for the rest of the afternoon.
“I’m just happy Mary made the play. In the end, that’s the most important thing,” Ross said.
“I’ve told my teammates, ‘If I ever get hit, you have to make the play.’ They were always there to back me up . . . they were outstanding today.”
The Warhawks never faced more than four Oakton batters in an inning.
The bats came alive in the second, when Madison loaded the bases with two singles and a walk. Oakton pitcher Allison Davis notched a strikeout and induced a flyout to right field, but she would not escape the inning.
Second baseman Jackie Yahner, who finished 3 for 4, smoked a double off the left field wall to score two.
Shortstop Kat Olson followed her with two more RBI on another double, a line drive that might have gone foul if it weren’t deflected off the tip of the first baseman’s glove.
Freshman Julia Hoy slugged the first of Madison’s 10 hits, a single that led off the second-inning burst. Hoy spent time at designated player and first base, finished 4 for 4 and hit a single in the seventh that scored an insurance run for Madison.
She said she found success by attacking pitches above the letters.
“I try to lay off of those, but sometimes I can get a good line drive off of them,” Hoy said. “That’s what happened today.”
Oakton started the season 5-7 before a six-game win streak that culminated in a Concorde District tournament championship.
Madison is the Liberty District’s No. 3 seed, and Warhawks Coach John Schneeberger Jr. said regular season play in the district prepared his team to face the class of the Concorde.
In the second quarterfinal of the day, McLean used a five-hit, three-run second inning to knock off Centreville. Nikki Slade whacked a two-run single and junior Christi Geisler drove in the third run of the big inning for the Highlanders (20-5).
“I think we put pressure on them all game long,” McLean Coach Maurice Tawil said. “We put people on base, we put people in motion and we put pressure on them.”
Senior pitcher Lauryn Hahne loaded the bases in the fifth, but got out of the jam unscathed and went 2 for 3 at the plate.
Centreville junior Lexi Hunter’s grounder in the sixth scored the Wildcats’ only run.
In evening action, defending region champ Stone Bridge beat South County, 4-2, and Langley beat Herndon, 8-0.
All four semifinalists are from the Liberty District.