RICHMOND, JUNE 2 -- Chantilly's softball team had summoned heroics all year long to win the Great Falls District title and Northern Region title to make it to the Virginia AAA final.
The Chargers did it again today as junior Kim Lauderdale delivered a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to defeat Oakton, 2-1, and capture the AAA championship at Henrico Field.
"We've done it many times this season and we did it again today," said dripping-wet Chantilly Coach Chris Ake, doused with a bucket of water after the victory.
Trailing by 1-0 with one out in the sixth, sophomore Michelle Shaw singled to left field. Lauderdale, who bats in the cleanup position, squared to bunt the first pitch but let it pass for a strike.
"I do that a lot because we're not allowed to swing at the first pitch," she said.
Her fake drew the outfielders in a little and when Oakton pitcher Lorri Williams grooved her next pitch down the middle of the plate, Lauderdale launched it over the head of right fielder Megan Ambuhl.
"I knew she would pitch it close because that's what she's known for," Lauderdale said. "So I told myself, mentally, that I have to hit the ball hard."
She hit it hard enough so that the ball was just getting back to the infield when she crossed home plate. And though there still was an inning to go, Lauderdale's teammates swarmed her near the backstop.
"We have a lot of respect for her," said Oakton Coach Sandy Reynolds. "But obviously we didn't have enough."
Chantilly hasn't had a close game in several weeks because it breezed through the playoffs. But today, until Lauderdale's heroics, the Chargers managed only four hits.
They blew a key opportunity in the first innning when All-Met left fielder Shannon Williams opened with a single. She went to second after a wild pitch and advanced to third on a groundout to the right side by Carmen Shoffner.
Shaw then bunted for a hit and when shortstop Kirsten Reynolds covered third base and second baseman Emily Cannon covered first, Shaw took off for a vacant second base and made it. But Lauderdale bunted to first baseman Dianne Raisovich, who simply tagged her out in the base path and Stephanie Halder struck out looking.
"We should have scored easily," said Ake. "We just messed up."
It seemed to be a fatal mistake when, in the top of the sixth, two Chantilly errors led to Oakton's run.
With one out Kirsten Reller hit a hard grounder that got away from second baseman Michelle Boeke. She took second on Shaw's passed ball. Reynolds followed with a bunt that third baseman Lisa Miller threw into right field for a run-scoring error.
But Chantilly didn't panic. "I just told my kids that this is what we worked for all season and we didn't come here to lose," Ake said.
Winning pitcher Scarlett Bowen said she wasn't concerned either. "We have a really solid offense; when they scored it didn't phase me," she said.
"You just have to do what you have to do. I tried not to think about."