Chantilly was eager to play last night's Virginia AAA Northern Region championship softball game at Wakefield Park, despite a steady light rain. Oakton preferred to wait for a drier day. The game went on, however, and the Chargers were wet, but happy, 9-2 winners more than 2 1/2 hours later.

Chantilly right-handed starter Scarlett Bowen handled the difficult conditions much better than Oakton lefty Lorri Williams did. Bowen also received better offensive and defensive support as Chantilly improved to 20-3.

The victory puts the Chargers, who had solo home runs from Kim Lauderdale and Rachel Karl, in Tuesday's state tournament against Northwest Region runner-up Halifax.

Despite the loss, Oakton (18-5) will also be in the state tournament, but last night's outcome had more significance than the regional title.

Chantilly is guaranteed to play its first-round state game at nearby West Springfield. Oakton will be forced to travel to meet Northwest champion Potomac.

Last night, while it was debated whether the game should start, both coaches had a good idea of how their teams would handle the rain. Both were correct.

"I wanted to play and get the game over with," said Chantilly Coach Christine Ake. "Things just don't seem to affect my players. And I think the rain definitely affected {Oakton} more than it did us."

Williams started the first inning in the heaviest rain of the night, and she never appeared to feel comfortable with the wet ball. She walked two batters, and Lauderdale followed with a single for a 1-0 Chantilly lead.

Rain held up the game for 15 minutes in the middle of the inning, and when it continued Bowen never had to face the same conditions Williams did in the top of the first.

Williams walked five, but doing even more damage were the six Oakton errors that led to three unearned runs in the third without the aid of base hit and three more unearned runs in the seventh.

"She probably walked more people tonight than she did in the past eight or nine games combined," said Oakton Coach Sandy Reynolds. "I would have preferred to have played on a dry day. Lorri simply cannot pitch in the rain, and we 'lucked out' to be the home team. I think that first run really gives a team the edge.

"When it rains, it pours, and today, it poured on us."

Bowen, selected the most valuable player of the regional tournament, said the rain had a significant outcome on the game.

"I think once you get down, it is hard to get back," said the junior, who struck out seven and allowed five hits, only one in the final four innings. "I was fortunate I didn't have to go out there first or it probably would have come out the other way around."

Northwest Region: Sheri Costa scattered six singles as Potomac defeated Halifax, 5-2, to win the Virginia AAA regional championship at Halifax High in South Boston, Va.

Potomac had 10 hits, including a first-inning solo homer by shortstop Xandra Bense.