With the bases empty in the top of the seventh inning and Georgetown Visitation clinging to a two-run lead, junior pitcher Alee Burke was forced to go head to head with National Cathedral star Sarah Ing.
Cubs pitching coach Richard Frick called for a timeout to discuss how to pitch to Ing, who already had two doubles and an RBI for the Eagles. Frick suggested Burke intentionally walk Ing, but Burke didn’t like the idea. So Burke was given the green light, and she threw a first-pitch fastball inside that Ing popped back to the pitcher for the second out.
Then Burke jammed the next batter for the final out as Georgetown Visitation outlasted National Cathedral, 4-2, for the Independent School League AA softball title at Flint Hill in Oakton on Sunday. The Cubs’ tournament title gives them the outright ISL AA title after they went 9-0 to win the regular season crown.
“I knew with her on base it could be dangerous,” Burke said of Ing, “and I felt that I could get her out.”
The Cubs defeated National Cathedral, 10-5, on May 6, but Burke quickly fell behind Sunday after she allowed back-to-back hits in the first inning, resulting in a 1-0 deficit. Burke battled back to allow just two runs, including an unearned one in the seventh, on eight hits. She struck out five batters, primarily with a drop ball.
After leaving three runners on base in the second, the Cubs (15-1) captured their first lead in the third. Burke led off with a single through the left side, and two batters later, senior catcher Juliette Lewis crushed a liner to left that dropped through the outfielder’s glove to plate two runs.
“We knew we beat them before, so we had to do the simple things like get on base,” Lewis said. “We had to work together, and we know we can score a lot, so we just had to believe in ourselves.”
In the fourth, the Eagles loaded the bases with one out, but freshman Allie Clark threw home on a groundball to keep National Cathedral (7-4) off the board.
The following inning, the Cubs caught Ing in a rundown between third and home, and after four throws they were able to tag her out. Ing was dominant in the circle with a speedy rise ball that helped her strike out six batters. Hannah Menard also added an RBI for the Eagles.
“The defense was awesome, I’m really glad I have such a great defense that I can trust,” Burke said. “That’s probably why we won the game.”
The teams will compete in the D.C. State Athletic Association tournament that starts Wednesday and could meet again in the final.
Episcopal sophomore JoJo Diaz tallied the only hit and RBI for the Maroon on a run-scoring single in the fourth inning, but that was enough in a 1-0 shutout of Maret in Alexandria for the school’s first ISL A title since 2007.
“We played a little bit better defense today compared to the April game,” Episcopal Coach John Dooley said. “They had runners on second and third twice, and our defense came up big to make plays.”
Of the 21 outs induced by the Maroon, three were strikeouts, 17 were groundballs and just one was a fly ball. Maret will next face Sidwell Friends on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the DCSAA tournament.