The region-title winning run stood at third base, and Sydney Broderick’s thinking was simple.
“I knew we were tied and I really wanted to win this game,” the Stone Bridge All-Met junior center fielder said. “I was just trying to do my best to make contact, and whatever happens, happens.”
The left-handed hitting Broderick went with an outside pitch and laced a single down the left-field line, capping a controversial three-run seventh inning rally that gave the Bulldogs a 5-4 win over Oakton in Vienna and its first Virginia AAA Northern Region softball title since 2006.
Both teams will advance to the state quarterfinals scheduled for Tuesday, but Stone Bridge (24-2) gets to host Patrick Henry in a quarterfinal game while the Cougars (17-6) now must travel to face Cosby.
“We get to stay at home on Tuesday instead of going down to Richmond, which is a pretty good little ride,” Stone Bridge Coach Billy Rice said. “Plus, it’s been a while since we’ve won [the region] and none of us were around for it, so [the players] love it.”
The controversy came with one out in the seventh inning and the tying run on third base.
Oakton had taken a 4-2 lead into the last inning, and with Northern Region pitcher of the year Allison Davis on the mound, the two-run lead looked safe even against a Stone Bridge lineup that had scored more than 10 runs per game this season.
Oakton third baseman Hayley French chased down Hine and appeared to tag her before she reached the plate, but the umpire ruled Hine was never tagged and the run scored.
The next Stone Bridge hitter made what would have been the last out of the game before Broderick’s single.
“I had a great angle,” Cougars Coach Ray Gordon said. “Did she knock her out? No. But she scraped her butt [with the tag]. But the umpire was convinced it wasn’t” an out.
The wild ending overshadowed a strong performance from Davis, who limited the Bulldogs to just two second inning runs on a two-run double by Emily Kenny.
French’s RBI single in the sixth gave Oakton an insurance run, but the Bulldogs still found a way to win its 12th consecutive game.
●BROAD RUN 7, OSBOURN PARK 3: The Spartans scored four runs in the top of the 11th inning to win the AAA Northwest Region title.
●WOODGROVE 3, BRIAR WOODS 2: The Wolverines won the AA Region II title for the second consecutive year with a walkoff single in the bottom of the seventh inning. It was the fourth meeting of the season between the Loudoun County powers, who also squared off in last year’s state final.
Woodgrove (24-2) will host Culpeper in a state quarterfinal on Tuesday, while Briar Woods (22-4), the defending state champion, travels to Poquoson, the Region I champion.