The Broad Run High School softball players hounded senior Charlene Kordon to try out for their team. She finally caved in, picking up a softball for the first time in late February. Eventually, Kordon learned the techniques of hitting and throwing.
Her development continued with a bases-loaded single in the eighth inning Friday night to give No. 5 Broad Run a 1-0 win over Madison, the Washington area's top-ranked team, and a Northern Region championship at West Springfield.
Broad Run, making its first appearance in the Group AAA state tournament, will host Eastern Region runner-up Nanesmond River on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a state quarterfinal.
Broad Run freshman pitcher Christy Anch -- who was named the Northern Region tournament most valuable player -- allowed five hits, walked none and struck out seven despite a sore pitching arm. She has pitched shutouts in six of Broad Run's past seven games.
Kordon's hit came during a dramatic eighth inning of a scoreless game. Broad Run's Mia Jones and Jessica Olownia reached base on a walk and an error, respectively. After Madison pitcher Morgan Marr struck out the next batter, Madison Coach Chris DiLandro elected to intentionally walk Anch, loading the bases and bringing Kordon to bat.
"It gives you a bunch of advantages," DiLandro said. "[Anch] is one of their best hitters, so obviously you avoid pitching to her. Plus, loading the bases gives you easy outs at a lot of places. . . . It's one of those shots where [Kordon] just hit it to a spot where no one was. And I take my chances against her 100 times out of 100."
Kordon looped a single on an 0-1 pitch into right field, scoring Jones from third. Kara Burke, a replacement runner for Olownia, was thrown out at home by right fielder M.K. White.
"I didn't even know that we had scored," Kordon said. "I just ran past first and hoped somebody went over the plate. Then I turned around and I saw they had gotten an out at home plate, which was the second run. I thought it was the first and I started thinking, `Oh no.' Then I saw the score and I was like, `Oh, yes.' "
In the bottom of the eighth, Anch yielded an infield single to Madison's Melissa Wright, but then got two strikeouts and a pop up to begin Broad Run's victory celebration.
Kordon played club lacrosse the last two years, and was one of Broad Run's top gymnasts during her four years at the school.
"I wanted to try something different. A lot of my friends are on the softball team, and they kept telling me to go out, and I had the guts to," Kordon said. "I was really bad at first. I didn't know the rules. I didn't know how to swing. I didn't know how to throw."
"She's a fast learner," Broad Run Coach Ed Steele said. "Anybody that does backward flips on the balance beam and that kind of stuff isn't going to be afraid of hitting the softball in a big game. [Her] technique might still need a lot of polish, but she's not going to be afraid."
Broad Run (25-3) 000 000 01 -- 1 3 2
Madison (21-3) 000 000 00 -- 0 5 3
Anch and Olownia; Marr and Gore.
CAPTION: Broad Run's softball players celebrate after Wednesday night's regional tournament semifinal victory over Chantilly.