Broad Run 8, Stone Bridge 1

Broad Run softball coach Ed Steele thought for a minute after the Spartans' 8-1 victory against Stone Bridge on Friday night in the opening round of the Dulles District tournament. He was searching for the best word to describe his team's turnaround from its collapse late in the regular season.

Steele had just witnessed much-improved play by his Spartans, both offensively and defensively. Broad Run (14-6) had lost five of seven games entering the postseason and had struggled both in the field and, even more so, at the plate.

That stretch included a 4-1 loss to Stone Bridge on Tuesday -- just three days before the start of the district tournament.

"I think it just embarrassed them Tuesday, if you want to know the truth of it," said Steele, who allowed his team a players-only talk after the loss to regroup. "And so they worked hard these past couple days not to let that happen again."

Friday, the Spartans recovered nicely, registering 12 hits and committing only one fielding error.

The Spartans used a quick start to advance to the semifinals, where they will face top-seeded Loudoun Valley at 4 p.m. Monday at Loudoun County.

Broad Run scored twice in the first inning -- one on an RBI double by first baseman Sammi Sink and another on one of five Bulldogs errors -- and tacked on another run in the second on an RBI single by shortstop Charli Wacker for a 3-1 lead.

Broad Run then broke the game open in the fourth, scoring four more runs on five hits, including RBI singles by Lilly Rollins, pitcher Jenny Clohan and Emily Olsen, and benefiting from two more errors.

"This game wasn't an indication of how our season went," Bulldogs Coach Bruce Feinberg said. "I'm not sure I can say anything more than that."

Stone Bridge (11-10) had five hits off Clohan, scoring its lone run on an RBI single by Kellie Earle in the second inning. Clohan also struck out three batters and walked two.

"When we sat down and talked we agreed that everyone needed to come prepared to play, wanting to play and wanting to win," Clohan said. "I'm not sure we had been doing that. But tonight we did, and you saw how much it paid off. Now we just need to take what we did here and take it to the Loudoun Valley game.

"We needed a game like this to break open our bats and to start believing in ourselves again."