The final moments of Osbourn's 4-3 state quarterfinal win over visiting Midlothian were fitting. Osbourn junior right-hander Tony Pasquariello got himself into trouble, allowing one run in the top of the seventh inning and watching the tying run move into scoring position.
And then Pasquariello got himself out of trouble, striking out the final batter with an off-speed pitch and flinging his glove in the air as the fourth-ranked Eagles (21-4) advanced to the Virginia AAA semifinals for the first time, where they will face First Colonial, a 13-8 winner over Hayfield, on Friday at William & Mary.
Pasquariello (10-1) yielded 10 hits and threw 114 pitches. But he repeatedly wriggled out of trouble, leaving men on second and third in the second inning, getting out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth and ending the game with his fifth strikeout as the tying run waited on second base.
"He's so tough, man" said sophomore catcher Mike Walters, who tripled and scored what proved to be the winning run on a Kevin Kirk single in the bottom of the sixth. "In that last inning, he was bringing it. He had fire in him."
The Eagles were up 3-0 by the third inning, scoring on a Colin Dunleavy RBI single and a two-run home run from Brent Greer. Midlothian (20-6), a Richmond-area school playing for the third time in four days, rallied with two runs in the sixth and started the final inning with back-to-back singles before Pasquariello settled down.
"I had confidence," he said, "and that's all you need as a pitcher."
Robinson's Run Ends
Robinson's bid to win its first baseball state championship since 1980 came to a swift end in Fairfax, where the fifth-ranked Rams were eliminated by Princess Anne of Virginia Beach, 7-1, in the Virginia AAA quarterfinals.
Robinson entered riding an 11-game home winning streak, but the Northern Region champions were unable to overcome their own shaky pitching or Cavaliers' ace Dan Hudson, who yielded only four hits in a complete-game gem.
Hudson "was just better than us tonight," Robinson Coach Bill Evers said. "We knew he'd come right at us with his fastball."
The Rams' season ended 20-6; Princess Anne (21-6) advanced to Friday's semifinals at William & Mary, where the Cavaliers will face Stonewall Jackson, a 3-1 winner at Hanover.
"To win states, you have to have a good team, but you also have to get some breaks," said Robinson senior Brad Kledzik, who went 0 for 2 with a walk. "Their pitcher had an electric fastball. Tonight, they were the better team."
Princess Anne took a 4-0 lead in the second inning. Rams' starter Spencer Wiggins left after surrendering three runs -- on a homer, three base hits, a hit batter and a walk. The fourth run came home on a wild pitch. Princess Anne tacked on another run in the fourth and two in the seventh.
Robinson's run came in the seventh inning after Charlie Martin doubled and then scored on a wild pitch.