Coolidge 10, Ballou 8

When Coolidge senior Ashley Alexander stepped up to the plate in the sixth inning of yesterday's D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association softball championship against defending champion Ballou in Northeast, the game was tied 8-8 and her objective was precisely defined.

"I was trying to hurry up and go home," she said.

Alexander jumped on the first pitch from Ballou junior Shayana Brawner and slammed a home run over the left fielder's head, producing the go-ahead run in a 10-8 victory. The Lady Colts (8-1) earned their second city title in three years.

The game resumed yesterday after being postponed in the sixth inning on May 25 because of lightning and rain.

"As good as I was feeling, I knew I was going to smack it, so I just swung at the one that looked the best," said Alexander, Coolidge's pitcher. "I wasn't stopping [running] at all. If [the coaches] told me, I still wasn't stopping. I had to make it home."

Later in the sixth, Coolidge tacked on an insurance run courtesy of two errors to give Alexander some cushion for the top of the seventh. She got the first two hitters on a fly out and infield pop, then secured the championship with a strikeout on a high riser. It was her sixth of the game.

"I've had teams much more talented than this team athletically," said Coolidge Coach Ada Mitchell, who has led the team since 1978. "But this team had a brain. And a brain will help you in the end. An athlete may fall down but a brain will help you. Most of these girls are on the honor roll. They learned this game, and they played it well."

The Lady Knights (7-2) rallied from 4-1 and 8-6 deficits to tie, but could not get a timely hit off Alexander when the game resumed.

"This is a good team," said Brawner of her Ballou teammates. "We didn't give up, we just made little stupid mistakes. I guess they wanted it more than we did."

Coolidge celebrates second title in three years. "They learned this game, and they played it well," said Ada Mitchell, coach of Coolidge since 1978.