With one swing of his bat, Osbourn's Kenny Morris provided all the offense the fourth-ranked Eagles needed to defeat First Colonial, 5-1, in the Virginia AAA semifinals Friday. His two-run double also made life a lot more complicated for himself and two senior teammates.
Morris, Colin Dunleavy and Justin Lehman, now face a long -- and potentially great -- Saturday. The day will begin with graduation at 10 a.m. at Nissan Pavilion and continue at 5 p.m. here at Plumeri Park, site of the state final.
"It could be a very, very big day for me," Morris said. The seniors "definitely don't have much time to celebrate this win. But that's okay. We're coming back."
Thanks to Morris's timely hitting, and a stellar pitching performance from sophomore right-hander Brett Howell, Osbourn (22-4) won for the 14th time in 15 games and earned its first berth in the state championship. The Eagles will face Princess Anne, a 2-0 winner over Stonewall Jackson in the second semifinal.
"Kenny and those guys are going to be flying high," Osbourn Coach Keith Howell said of his three seniors. "What an incredible way to go out."
Brett Howell, the coach's son, limited the Patriots (23-6) to five hits through 61/3 innings. It was Howell's best performance this season, but more importantly, it might have given Osbourn an edge on Saturday. Ace right-hander Tony Pasquariello (10-1) will be rested and ready to start the championship game because the junior threw only five pitches in relief Friday.
Whether the seniors are rested and ready, after a graduation ceremony and an approximately three-hour drive -- if there's no traffic -- won't be known until Morris and Co. return.
Morris belted a double off the center field wall in the fourth inning to put Osbourn ahead 2-0. His hit scored Brent Greer, who had reached on an error, and Dunleavy, who had singled.
In the fifth inning, Osbourn's Marcus Powell doubled and scored on a single by Greer to stretch the Eagles' lead to 3-1. The Eagles added two runs in the sixth, aided by a pair of First Colonial errors.
Stonewall Jackson's improbable run through the postseason came to an end in an emotion-filled day for the Raiders' five seniors, who missed their graduation ceremony to play in the game.
"This hurts," Raiders third baseman Garrett Smith said. "It's my senior year. We worked so hard to get here and win this thing."
Princess Anne improved to 22-6; Stonewall's season ended 16-12.