Congressional Bank D.C. Softball Classic

After a Rain Delay, Wilson's Championship Plan Comes Together

Wilson's Kathleen McLain delivers during an eight-strikeout, no-walk day. Counterpart Katie Kolbe struck out 11.
Wilson's Kathleen McLain delivers during an eight-strikeout, no-walk day. Counterpart Katie Kolbe struck out 11. (By Richard A. Lipski -- The Washington Post)
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By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 17, 2009

During a rain delay in the bottom of the seventh inning of the inaugural Congressional Bank D.C. Softball Classic, Wilson players sat around and jokingly planned what to do when the game resumed.

"We decided our strategy was for everyone to get on base," senior pitcher Kathleen McLain said, "and Rachel [Bitting] to hit a grand slam."

Bitting came pretty darn close.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Bitting blasted a towering shot that dropped in deep right field and allowed the two decisive runs to score and give the Tigers a thrilling 3-2 victory over Georgetown Visitation at Guy Mason Park in Northwest Washington.

As she recalled her teammates' conversation from minutes earlier, Bitting cracked, "Yeah, this works for me, too."

The teams showed good softball can be found within the District's confines, as they turned in a well-played game, keyed by both pitchers, McLain -- who struck out eight and scattered eight hits without any walks -- and Visitation's Katie Kolbe, who fanned 11 and allowed just six hits.

But the game appeared headed for an unsatisfying finish when lightning struck with Roslynn Posley at second and McLain at bat with one out in the bottom of the seventh and Wilson trailing 2-1. Umpires halted play, and, by rule, made sure 30 minutes elapsed without another visible bolt before resuming play. If lightning had struck again, officials said the game would have been called.

"All our adrenaline was up," Bitting said, "and then to have to go wait was really tough."

The teams returned to the field in a soft drizzle, and McLain drew a walk. After the next batter popped out, Annie Cohen hit a soft roller along the first base line that she beat out to load the bases.

That brought Bitting to the plate, with memories of her teammates' grand plan.

"It was kind of funny how that worked out," said Bitting, whose RBI single in the third inning cut Visitation's lead to 2-1. "I was just focused on hitting the ball because it was really wet."

After taking a strike, Bitting took a high pitch the opposite way, and it was clear immediately that it was going over the right fielder's head. Wilson's Larry Janski, coaching at first base, instantly leapt in the air, and Posley and McLain scored easily before the Tigers mobbed Bitting as she headed toward second base.

"I don't think anyone was expecting much from us," McLain said, "or from this game. I think we kind of surprised people."

Wilson 3 Georgetown Visitation 2 Ticket Punched: Wilson advanced to the Classic championship game by defeating Coolidge in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association final earlier in the day, 17-1. See You There: Wilson's players will be recognized at Nationals Park on May 30 during the Congressional Bank D.C. Baseball Classic.

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