Stonewall Jackson 3,
The latest meeting between Manassas softball rivals Stonewall Jackson and Osbourn came down to two good bunts followed by one good at-bat by Stonewall Jackson shortstop Courtney Bures.
Bures, the All-Met player of the year, blasted a two-strike, two-run double in the third inning and later scored, playing a part in all the runs in the Raiders' 3-0 win over the visiting Eagles in the Virginia AAA Northwestern Region championship game.
Both teams had already clinched spots in Tuesday's state quarterfinals. The Raiders (23-2) will host Oakton, a 2-0 loser to Madison, on Tuesday; the Eagles (19-5) will travel to play Madison.
"Of course, it's great to get a banner up in the gym," Bures said. "This is something we definitely wanted."
Julie Pallatt and Kristin Windle reached on bunt singles in the third inning, setting up Bures' two-out at-bat against All-Met right-hander Cristi Ecks. Bures had a full count before lining the double to right-center field.
Bures, who added another double in the fifth inning, has yet to strike out this season.
"She's a great pitcher, but it was just the situation I wanted to be in," Bures said. "I like being in the pressure situations."
The two Cedar Run District rivals, located three miles apart in Manassas, have now faced each other five times this spring -- twice in the regular season, once in a district tiebreaker game, once in the district championship game and yesterday -- with one more meeting possible in the state final.
Stonewall Jackson has won four of the games, including the district and regional championships.
The latest victory was due to some strong pitching by right-hander Kirby Jenkins and one good inning at the plate.
"That's usually the way it goes against them," Stonewall Jackson Coach Jason Koch said. "You have one inning where you get your runs, and it's even the rest of the way."
Osbourn had two long doubles in the first two innings, but neither resulted in runs. After that, Jenkins settled down, allowing three more base runners for the rest of the game.
Jenkins got a nice cushion in the third inning. Ecks had retired the first seven batters before Pallatt and Windle laid down perfect bunts. After a flyout allowed the runners to advance to second and third, Bures made her big hit.
"She's the best hitter in the state," Koch said. "Courtney is at her best when she's facing the best."