DANVILLE — There’s something about the tournament that gets the juices flowing in Danville.
The Blue Devils softball team historically makes a run at this point in the season, and Monday they showed Delaware Christian why that’s the case, jumping on the Eagles early and often en route to a 16-0 victory in the Division IV sectional final at Danville’s DARCI Field.
“The tradition is rich in Danville, it goes back years,” said Danville coach Jill Lyons. “These kids grew up in that tradition. And, this senior class is hungry.”
Home runs from Kaitlynn Briggs and Sammie Lavender in the first inning helped kickstart a Danville offense that racked up 17 hits in just four innings of work. Briggs’ homer scored McKinley Alberts, who had singled, stole second and then moved to third on an infield pop-out by Daleigh Parker. Lavender followed Briggs’ bomb with a solo shot of her own, pushing the level of excitement through the roof of the Danville dugout.
“It definitely generated that, the girls get excited and usually you can feed off that momentum,” Lyons said.
Bobbi Berger followed with a single and scored on CeCe Newbold’s triple. Newbold then scored on a sacrifice fly by Hannah Duncan. Before the Eagles had a chance to catch their breath, they trailed 5-0.
The Blue Devils continued the offensive roll, scoring four times on four hits in both the second and third innings, then adding three more in the fourth.
Meanwhile, Lavender and Newbold were having their way with Delaware Christian batters.
Lavender started the game, striking out five and allowing just one base runner on an infield error in her three innings of work. Newbold finished up, walking one and letting her defense do its work behind her.
“We wanted to see both of them work tonight. I think it’s good to work as many pitchers as we can just to keep their arms ready so we’re ready for whatever we need down the road,” Lyons said.
Danville kept up the pace in the second inning offensively, as Brittney Holt got a bunt single to lead off the inning. She then stole second and moved to third when the catcher’s throw got away.
The Devils then took advantage of their speed and aggressiveness to score the next run.
Alberts hit one back to Delaware Christian pitcher Claire Bowman, who tried to nab Holt at home. Holt was able to get into a rundown, eventually beating the throw home. Alberts, meanwhile, was racing around the bases and ended up safe at third.
Parker then tripled her in, Briggs followed with an RBI single and Bobbi Berger drove in Briggs with another single.
Alberts had the big blow in the third, cranking a three-run, inside the park home run to right field. A pair of triples by Keaura Schilling and Alberts keyed the final three runs.
Briggs led the Devils with a home run, a double, two singles and three RBI. Alberts finished with a home run, triple and a single, while Berger had three singles and two RBI. Newbold, Parker and Schilling all tripled, and Duncan and Jasmine Anderson both singled.
“The last two days, we’ve talked about waiting for our pitch and staying back and driving the ball. We wanted hard shots. I’m really proud of the girls. I thought we made the adjustments necessary to be successful.”
The Devils advanced to the district tournament, where they will face Fisher Catholic, a 7-0 winner over Millersport. The game will be Monday at 5 p.m. at a site to be determined.
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