How About . . . Osbourn baseball's insurance?
The celebration seemed a bit out of place: Mike Walters screamed and windmilled his right arm as he sprinted home with Osbourn's fourth run Tuesday night.
It was the bottom of the sixth inning of the fourth-ranked Eagles' AAA quarterfinal against Midlothian. Walters, who reached on a triple, made his euphoric trip home after sophomore Kevin Kirk lashed a hard ground ball into center field, giving Osbourn a two-run cushion.
Walters said he sensed immediately that the extra run would matter. So did his pitcher, Tony Pasquariello. So did his coach, Keith Howell. And all three were correct.
Midlothian pushed across one run in the top of the seventh before Pasquariello stranded the tying run at second base with a dramatic strikeout, giving Osbourn a 4-3 win and a first-ever berth in tomorrow's semifinals against First Colonial.
"I feel so good going out there" with a two-run lead, the junior right-hander said. "I don't want them to score any runs, but if they do, I know we're still in it. I've got two chances."
This insurance business is becoming routine for the Eagles (21-4). In the regional final against Stonewall Jackson, Osbourn led 3-2 early, entered the last inning with a 4-2 lead and hung on for a 4-3 win. Which is why Walters was told in the dugout before his last at-bat that the Eagles needed more.
"Oh, I knew that run was going to come into play," Walters said, explaining his enthusiastic trip down the third base line. "Going out there with two runs in the seventh inning is a lot different than going out there with one."
-- DAN STEINBERG