One more win and Yorktown softball team will make history. But the record-setting victory will pale in historical context to the two previous ones, by clinching the district crown this past Friday and an even more exciting come-from-behind victory over private school power O’Connell on Saturday evening.
Yorktown had never beaten O’Connell since, before the 3-2, extra-inning, high-fiving, walk-off victory at Greenbrier Park. The Patriots were already debating whether the win was the biggest win in school history, though the fact that O’Connell has dropped previous games to Paul VI, St. Mary’s Ryken, Elizabeth Seton and Madison might draw some luster off the landmark win.
In the three previous years, the Knights outscored Yorktown, 28-4.
For the Patriots, though, it didn’t matter.
Senior second baseman Katie Sterling was the game’s final hero, sending a two-out single to over the first baseman’s head in the bottom of the eighth inning.
“The girls went wild,” Richardson said. “They were just so happy. It was a big win for Yorktown, no doubt about it.”
Senior tri-captain Bree Hanafin led off with her second single, before being sacrificed to second by Stephanie Severn. Following O’Connell’s intentional walking of Lauren Wilson, Hannah Bauman’s groundout placed runners at second and third with Sterling at the plate.
“The girls were so ecstatic,” said Yorktown head coach Al Richardson. “For them, it was such a big accomplishment.”
The Knights, fresh off three straight wins, including a vindication game over rival Paul VI, opened up a 2-0 lead in the second inning behind Kathleen Finley’s two-run double.
In the fourth, Wilson scored Severn with Yorktown's first run in the fourth, after Kimmi Oldham had been gunned down at the plate earlier in the inning.
In the thrilling seventh, Oldham’s diving catch down the right field line saved a potential O’Connell run. The Patriots eventually retired the side, which forced them into having to score to stretch the game into extra innings.
In the bottom of the seventh, Wilson tallied her second hit, while Bauman sacrificed her to second. Wilson took third on Sterling's ground out. With Yorktown down to its last strike, Kristen Soroka fouled off seven pitches, and eventually walked. Emily Panyard
also walked to load the bases.
Gretchen Schneider then grounded to short, but all the runners were safe on a fielding error by the O'Connell shortstop. It allowed Wilson to tie the game.
“As the game progressed, [Bauman] got stronger,” Richardson said. “Our batters started to be really disciplined.”
Bauman was the winning pitcher, striking out six and walking one, while not allowing any earned runs. Senior Colleen Carty, the O’Connell ace, went the distance, fanning eight and walking three. Yorktown had seven hits and O'Connell six.
<b>AGAINST MOUNT VERNON</b>, Yorktown again dominated its National District opponent, notching a pedestrian 9-2 road victory to clinch the district title.
Yorktown scattered 11 hits, including home runs by Hanafin and Wilson. In addition to Wilson’s solo shot, she added a single and double, and scored three runs.
Sterling notched three hits and scored twice, while Soroka had two hits. Panyard and Bauman added singles.
Bauman was the winning pitcher, striking out a game-high 11 batters.
Yorktown (16-1, 11-0) also downed Wakefield, 12-0, and Edison, 18-0, earlier in the week. They traveled to Falls Church on Tuesday in the district finale.