It is a hectic and emotional time for the five Osbourn softball seniors, with the state championship and graduation both scheduled for today.
Yesterday in a 1-0 win over Kellam in a Virginia AAA semifinal, it was the younger Eagles who made sure the seniors would have the chance to don a cap and glove this afternoon in Newport News after donning a cap and gown in the morning in Manassas.
Junior Jamie Jansen had two hits for No. 1 Osbourn and, in the sixth inning, drove in sophomore Cindy Moore with the game's lone run. Sophomore shortstop Dana Woodsmall made a running over-the-shoulder catch on the fringe of the outfield to wrest the Eagles from a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the sixth.
Senior All-Met pitcher Cristi Ecks gave up five hits and struck out six for the Eagles (27-0).
Osbourn will face Kempsville, a 4-0 winner over Gar-Field, at 5 p.m. today at the Stoney Run Athletic Complex in a bid to become the second straight team from Manassas to win the state title. Stonewall Jackson won in 2004. Like Kellam (23-5), Kempsville hails from the Eastern Region, which has produced five of the past seven state champions.
"It's going to be tiring going from graduation to a big state game," Ecks said. "But we have the mind-set to win the state championship. We're not going to let other things distract us. So right after graduation, right when we get on that bus, we're thinking softball. We're not thinking about anything else."
The Eagles did not push a runner beyond first base until the top of the sixth, when Moore, Woodsmall and Jansen strung together consecutive singles off Central Florida-bound pitcher Magon Paul. But despite having runners on second and third with no outs, Osbourn scored only one run.
That was enough for Ecks. A forceout at home on a squeeze attempt in the sixth preserved that lead, as did Woodsmall's inning-ending catch.
"We just get it done with one [run]," Ecks said. "That's all we need to win."
In the first semifinal, Kempsville (26-2) scored single runs in four of the first five innings to cruise past Gar-Field (18-9), which managed just two hits off senior Mallory Mazur (16 strikeouts).
Valley's Good Vibes
Loudoun Valley All-Met shortstop Jennifer Everhart sensed that her twin sister was going to produce during a Virginia AA semifinal at Radford University.
"Jess, I got a twin vibe, and I knew you were going to get a hit," she told her sister, All-Met second baseman Jessica Everhart, following a 2-0 victory over Poquoson. "I just felt it."
With a laugh, Jessica said, "I'm glad you knew it was coming."
The third-ranked Vikings, having just escaped a one-out, bases-loaded situation in the top of the fourth, entered the bottom of the inning in a scoreless tie.
Senior third baseman Kori Bonner led off with a walk, and Jessica Everhart promptly blasted a shot down the left field line that bounced just fair and rolled to the fence, scoring Bonner. Senior left fielder Amy Edmondson followed with a single to right field to score Everhart.
"In order to win at this level you got to have some luck," Loudoun Valley Coach Joe Spicer said. "I don't care how good you are, some things have to go your way. We were lucky enough to string a couple of hits together there. And we'll take it."
Loudoun Valley (26-1) advanced to today's state championship game at 11 a.m. against Dan River, a 2-1 winner over Cave Spring in the other semifinal game.
Teams from the Dulles District have claimed three of the past five Virginia AA championships: Broad Run (2000), Park View (2002) and Loudoun Valley (2003).