MANASSAS — Lydia Sumner was so excited about playing softball on Thursday night that she wore her uniform shorts to breakfast.
Every one of her Osbourn High School teammates understood Sumner’s eagerness to get to the field.
The Eagles’ senior has waited her entire varsity career to pitch in a championship game and last night was her moment in the spotlight.
Sumner was ready to shine.
“I’ve been so wired up,” she said. “I had my game shorts on all day.”
The 12 hours between Osbourn’s team breakfast and Sumner’s first pitch felt like an eternity, but that just made the outcome more rewarding.
Facing regular season champion Stonewall Jackson in what amounted to the program’s most important game, the Eagles gave the ball to Sumner and let her make history.
Just a few starts removed from a record-setting 19-strikeout performance at Woodbridge, Sumner held the Raiders to a season-low two hits as Osbourn captured the inaugural Cedar Run District Tournament title with a 7-0 victory.
“We came out with the mind set that nobody can beat us,” said shortstop Stephanie Gaynord, who had a 4-for-5 night that included a triple, an RBI single and three runs scored.
“We were trying to earn some respect today,” she said. “We knew Lydia was going to throw strikes so we just wanted to play good defense behind her.”
The Eagles gave Sumner much more than great defense. They also broke loose for 14 hits against one of the region’s premier pitchers — sophomore Courtney Bures — and wound up achieving three softball milestones in the process.
In addition to becoming the first team this year to shut out Stonewall Jackson, the Eagles added another win to their landmark season.
At 16-4, Osbourn has already accomplished more than any other softball team in school history, but the Cedar Run title is just the beginning.
The Eagles also won their first title as a Group AAA team and earned the right to host their first Northwest Region Tournament game — against the Western Valley District runner-up — on Monday night.
“We knew we were already going to regionals, but we wanted the district title and we wanted to play here on Monday,” Eagles coach Renee Leake said.
Playing on the same field where their season nearly unraveled following a 4-2 loss to Stonewall eight days ago, the Eagles summoned all of their collective talent and came up with their biggest triumph.
“It’s so huge. I can’t even explain it. It means so much,” Sumner said.
“Stonewall was the only loss I had in the regular season and I didn’t like that team getting the best of me.”
The Raiders have gotten the best of many teams this spring. Their 16-2 record is no fluke. They have one of the area’s most menacing lineups and a defense that typically doesn’t give away runs.
That dynamic was thrown off balance Thursday by the unexpected loss of star shortstop Julie Pallatt, who was pulled off the team — apparently for academic reasons — less than a day before the district finals.
The Raiders tried to counter by shifting second baseman Lauren Mayoral to shortstop and first baseman Jessie Henderson to second base. Designated hitter Jessie Green took over at first and Keisha Robinson, who hit three batting practice homers on Wednesday, moved into the DH spot.
The usually sure-handed Raiders committed three errors and the Eagles repeatedly found holes in the patchwork alignment.
In addition to four sacrifice bunts and a successful squeeze play –the second in its past two games — Osbourn received at least one hit from eight different players.
Freshman Alyssa Kemmerer went 3 for 4 and Mandy Brady was 2 for 4. Freshman Cristi Ecks, sophomore Katie Lee, sophomore Laura Hundemer and right fielder Mandy Brady each delivered RBI singles.
That was more than enough support for Sumner.
With her blistered big toe wrapped in protective padding, the Eagles’ senior struck out four and faced only 23 batters — two over the minimum for a seven-inning game.
“I was pretty much just waiting my turn and waiting for a nice stage to perform on,” Sumner said. “I could not have done it without my defense and especially Sarah White, my catcher. I can’t go through a game without her.”