Langley junior pitcher Paige Miller remained undefeated against the Northern Region, and No. 9 hitter Kat Miller had two hits and two RBI to lead the Saxons to a 5-2 win at home last night over Madison, giving them their first Liberty District title since 1997.
Langley (20-3) hit the ball hard against Warhawks ace pitcher Lauren Frankiewicz, scoring one run in the second, three more in the fourth and another in the sixth. Madison (19-4) rallied for two runs in the sixth, but struggled against the control of Paige Miller, who scattered five hits and struck out five. Her only two walks came to open the sixth.
"I moved it in and out all night and I made them hit my pitch," said Miller, now 13-0 against the region and 13-2 overall. "I used all my pitches and made them hit my pitches. Even when there was a 3-2 count, I threw it down the middle because I knew my fielders would be there for me."
McKinley Cooper smashed a ground ball that deflected off the third baseman's glove to score pinch runner Kirsten Gamotis in the second.
Kat Miller's two-out, two-strike slap hit to left field in the fourth scored Cooper, who had doubled. After an unearned run, Caroline Sexton stroked a two-strike hit to score Angie Ortiz for a 4-0 lead. Paige Miller drove in an insurance run with a groundout in the sixth.
"Against a hard thrower like [Frankiewicz], I just try to block all that out when I'm at bat," said Kat Miller, whose average rose to just under .400. "There's less pressure on me, batting ninth in the order, and I know I have the top of the order coming up after me to drive me in."
Langley will host the No. 4 seed from the Patriot District on Friday in the first round of the Northern Region tournament; defending region champion Madison will host the No. 3 seed from the Patriot.
Raiders Emerge From Crowd
Needing to win two playback games to break a three-team jam atop the Cedar Run District standings was a hassle for two-time defending AAA state finalist Stonewall Jackson, which finally wrested the regular season crown with an 8-0 win over Osbourn Park at Osbourn High School in Manassas.
On the other hand, beating No. 6 Osbourn, 4-0, on Thursday and the Yellow Jackets yesterday made the second-ranked Raiders feel all the more worthy of their automatic Northwestern Region tournament bid.
"To come out of this district says something," Stonewall Coach Jason Koch said. "It's a definite load off our shoulders and our backs to know that we're going to the postseason."
Stonewall, Osbourn and Osbourn Park finished with 4-2 district records -- all splitting two games with each other -- prompting two playbacks to break the tie. Stonewall beat Osbourn last week and advanced to face Osbourn Park, which had won a draw to avoid the first playback game.
By winning yesterday, Stonewall (18-2) emerged as the top seed for the district tournament and will play at tournament host Potomac (3-10-1) today at 1 p.m. No. 6 Osbourn (16-3) and Osbourn Park (13-8), which was ranked a few weeks ago, will square off at 3:30 p.m. at Potomac. Osbourn has reached the state semifinals the past two years; a loss today would end the Eagles' season.
Stonewall averted further drama yesterday by scoring two runs in the first on RBI hits by juniors Jessie Green and Katie Speaks.
The Raiders tacked on six more runs in the sixth, thanks to five hits and three Osbourn Park errors. Green, senior Lauren Mayoral and senior Kristen Windle added RBI hits that inning.
Stonewall senior Courtney Bures tossed a three-hitter, striking out 10 and walking none thanks in part to an effective change-up that kept the Yellow Jackets guessing.
"I actually liked having to play the extra two games because. . . . you get two more competitive games," Bures said. "Winning against a team like [Osbourn Park] by that many runs is going to give you a lot of confidence going into the postseason."