After losing a guessing game with Broad Run pitcher Jenny Clohan for six hitless innings, Oakton finally guessed right in the seventh and beat the Spartans, 1-0, on an RBI bunt by Cougars pitcher Jessie McCarrick.
Clohan surrendered her only hit -- an opposite field, lead-off double -- to Jen Francis to start the rally in the bottom of the seventh. Francis then stole third, setting up a tough spot for the crafty Clohan, who fanned 10, mostly on change-ups.
Clohan admitted after the game that she was trying to walk McCarrick, but on a 1-0 pitch, McCarrick reached out and bunted the ball back to Clohan, whose throw home was too late.
"The bunt play wasn't on because we all thought she was going to walk me," said McCarrick, who allowed only a bunt single to Clohan in the seventh and struck out 12. "I knew she was going to pitch outside, so I reached out and made contact."
Said Clohan, "I was trying to walk her, I think she knew the pitch was coming [away and outside of the strike zone]."
No. 6 Oakton (7-2) was coming off a disappointing 5-3 Concorde District loss Tuesday at Westfield.
"This gets our mentality back on a high," said McCarrick, whose team will travel to Madison on Wednesday for a rematch of last year's Northern Region final.
The Cougars got a runner to second base in the second and third innings, but couldn't get a clutch hit. The No. 7 Spartans (7-2) got a runner to second after Nicole Ardura walked on a 3-2 pitch to open the fourth, but McCarrick struck out the next three batters.