By DAN CLENDANIEL
Special to the Potomac News & ?Manassas Journal Messenger
MANASSAS ? Like many top athletes, Osbourn’s Katie Lee knew it was her time.
With the Eagles trailing Hylton, 2-0, the first time that Osbourn had trailed in any game all season long, Lee stepped up to the plate. She was leading off the sixth inning and her team’s unbeaten season was in jeopardy.
?I was thinking I hadn’t done well before (in previous at-bats),? said Lee, the Eagles’ junior third baseman and a Division-I prospect. ?I definitely wanted to step up and motivate the team since I was the first batter.?
Lee delivered in a big way, tripling into the right-field corner to spark a two-run Osbourn rally to tie the score at 2. An inning later, the Eagles scored the winning run to defeat the Bulldogs, 3-2.
Lee is normally a dead pull-hitter, but facing a count of 1-2 against Hylton senior Kelli Wilson, Lee drove an outside pitch the opposite way.
Standing on third base, Lee barely had time to catch her breath as Stephanie Gaynord stroked the next pitch into left field for a single to score Lee. Gaynord moved to second on a ground out and scored the tying run on a double by Sarah White.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Osbourn scored the winning run courtesy of the last two hitters in the batting order. Alyssa Kemmerer lead off with a triple to right-center field on the first pitch of the inning. Kemmerer scored the winning run on the next pitch, a sacrifice fly ball to deep left field by Laura Hundemer.
?That shows we’re a complete team,? said Lee of the bottom of the lineup providing the winning run. ?We have awesome hitters one through nine.?
The non-district win improved Osbourn’s unbeaten streak to 12 games. Hylton, 2-0 and leading the Cardinal District, fell to 8-4.
?It was a bittersweet game,? said Hylton coach Desiree Hayden. ?They (Hylton) played their hearts out. They may have surprised themselves.?
Hylton showed aggression at the plate throughout the game and it paid off with a pair of runs in the third inning. Maggie Barham and Ashley Ahearn led off the inning with singles, two of the four hits surrendered by Osbourn pitcher Cristi Ecks.
Both Barham and Ahearn eventually scored on dropped relay throws by the Osbourn infield. Hylton had a chance to add to their lead in the fifth inning. Ahearn singled once again and reached third on a stolen base and wild pitch with one out.
But Ecks erased the last two Bulldogs’ batters on a strikeout and pop-up and Hylton got no more runners in scoring position over the last two innings.
Osbourn coach Renee Leake had a long talk with her team after Monday’s win over Woodbridge and her points about staying focused on the team more than on individual performances seemed to pay off.
?Here we are behind by two runs in the third inning,? said Leake, ?and the girls had their rally caps on and they are cheering each other. They didn’t look like a team down by two to a very good Hylton team. I think that showed a lot of character.?
Osbourn’s next task is to try to solidify its hold on first place in the Cedar Run District on Thursday at Osbourn Park.