Blaze roll to three stae titles


The Osbourn Park softball team finished third in the Cedar Run District last spring, but help in the form of a future pitching ace is on the way.

Alysha Demarest, a 14-year-old rising freshman who will undoubtedly make the Yellow Jackets’ varsity team in her first year of eligibilty, allowed four runs in four games last weekend as the Manassas Blaze 14-and-under team captured the Babe Ruth State Tournament.

Demarest had a 13-strikeout and an 11-strikeout performance during the three-day tournament, which was held at the Jennie Dean Memorial Park softball complex.

After earning runner-up honors at the Lower Loudoun Classic and the Queen of the Hill Tournament earlier this summer, the Blaze captured their first championship behind Demarest’s pitching prowess and an offense that produced 39 runs on 52 hits, including home runs from Demarest, rising Stonewall Jackson freshman Amanda Bures, and rising Osbourn freshmen Jamie Jansen and Brittany Campbell.

A 14-1 win over Greene County set the tone for the weekend as Campbell hit a home run and the Blaze combined for 22 hits, including three each from Demarest and Parkside Middle School eighth-grader Ashley Hochstrasser.

Jansen, rising Brentsville freshman Brittany Bailey, rising Osbourn Park freshman Kat Beauvais, rising Gar-Field freshman Cat Jennings and rising Hylton freshman Kristin Nickloy had two hits apiece in support of


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Demarest, who faced only 17 batters in a one-hit outing.

The 14U Blaze have reached the final four of eight tournaments this summer. The Babe Ruth title qualified them for the regional championships in Kinston, N.C. next week.

Demarest and Bailey combined on a one-hitter in a 12-1 slaughter-rule win over Glen Allen and then the Blaze reached the final by routing Blue Ridge, 9-1.

Bures, the younger sister of Group AAA state player of the year Courtney Bures, hit a two-run homer to back a 13-strikeout performance by Demarest.

Doubles by Jennings and Nickloy and a two-run hit by Demarest accounted for six more runs. Sunday’s championship game was a bit more suspenseful as the Blaze topped Glen Allen, 4-1, on a bases-loaded double by Hochstrasser and three hits from Demarest, who struck out 11 in a complete-game victory.


Mighty Mouse saved the day for the Manassas Blaze 10-and-under softball team at the Babe Ruth State Tournament.

Shortstop Stephanie Blakslee, known to her teammates as Mighty Mouse, hit two home runs and the Blaze won five consecutive games to capture their seventh tournament championship of the summer.

A fledgling team made up of 11 athletes who are playing together for the first time, the Blaze head to the Babe Ruth Regional Championship next week in Kinston, N.C. with a 46-16-1 record.

“The girls like to have fun but know when to get serious out there on the field,” said assistant coach Jerry Williams.

First baseman Ashleigh Williams hit a home run in the championship game for the Blaze, who played their first tournament together last October.

The Blaze has dominated this summer because of outstanding pitching. Williams, Marie Shaughnessy and Susie Finzel have led the Blaze to the final four of 11 consecutive tournaments.

Outstanding defense has also played a key role. Right fielder Ashley Boteler caught two fly balls in one inning and threw a runner out at first as the Blaze took second place at the Vienna Invitational. She also threw a runner out at second at an NSA Tournament in Richmond a competition the Blaze won with the help of a diving play from second baseman Shelby Peters and a clutch game-winning hit from Tori Bailey.

Kaitlyn Barbour came through with the big hit a two-run double as the Blaze overcame injuries and illness to win an NSA Tournament in Sterling.

Among the biggest highlights of the summer was a championship-game victory over Frederick’s Lake Shore Lightning at the Battle of Manassas. The Lightning came to town with an unbeaten record and reached the finals before losing their first game of the travel season to the Blaze.


A 1-0 victory over the Shamrocks on May 5 is still considered the biggest win in Blaze softball history but, as far as tournament titles are concerned, nothing compares to last weekend’s performance at the Babe Ruth State Tournament.

A championship summer that began in earnest with the win over the Shamrocks at the Hunt Country Classic hit its high point with five consecutive Babe Ruth victories at the Jennie Dean Memorial Park softball complex.

Melissa Kirby shut out Greene County 1-0 in the semifinals with the help of a sensational diving catch from left fielder Robin Botkin and Allison Stevens earned a complete-game victory in the title game with the help of a Botkin home run as the Blaze topped Glen Allen, 8-0.

The 12U squad outscored opposing teams 40-1 and qualified for next week’s Babe Ruth Regional Tournament in Kinston. N.C.


After proving that they are the best 14-and-under softball team in the commonwealth of Virginia, Rock ‘n’ Fire set out to conquer new territory during a recent visit to Petersburg.

Future Osbourn Park Yellow Jacket Brittney Lyddane hit three homers and drove in 10 runs, while Gar-Field’s Becky Horesky homered twice and knocked in eight runs as Rock ‘n’ Fire went unbeaten in seven games to capture the 16-and-Under Queen of the Hill Tournament.

Jenn Haynes and Hylton’s Amanda D’Atillio also hit home runs for Rock ‘n’ Fire, which scored 63 runs in three days and defeated 14U rival Fire & Ice, 8-7, in the championship game.

Gar-Field’s Sarah Malene scored a team-high eight runs and Osbourn Park’s Adrienne Johnson scored seven as Rock ‘n’ Fire defeated six 16U teams to reach the finals.

Potomac pitcher Shyla Rider and Madison’s Kelly Weber split time in the circle, with Rider picking up four wins and a save and Weber winning three games.

Lyddane, who currently attends Benton Middle School, homered to account for the only run in a 1-0 victory over the Richmond Storm. Rider earned the victory with the help of some terrific defense from Horesky, who started three double plays at third base.

D’Attilio’s bases-loaded triple in the fourth inning was the big hit in Rock ‘n’ Fire’s championship game victory. Malene and Rider also drove in runs.


The Fire & Ice 14-and-under softball team won three games in decisive fashion last weekend to claim first place at the Heatwave 16-and-under PONY Tournament in Fairfax. In its final turn-up before PONY Nationals in Sterling next week, Fire & Ice scored 21 runs while allowing only one.

Dave Utnik covers fastpitch softball for the Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger. Reach him at (703) 878-8051 or at [email protected]

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