Peebles downs Devils, 5-3

John Wareham/News Danville’s Hannah Duncan holds runner Avery Storer of Peebles on first base in the Division IV Regional finals softball game at Pickerington Central High School on Saturday. Peebles won 5-3.

John Wareham/News

Danville’s Hannah Duncan holds runner Avery Storer of Peebles on first base in the Division IV Regional finals softball game at Pickerington Central High School on Saturday. Peebles won 5-3.

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PICKERINGTON — The Danville softball team got behind early in the Division IV Regional finals game at Pickerington Central High School on Saturday and tried to rally, but started its comeback too late and lost to Peebles 5-3.

The Blue Devils (18-8) were held scoreless until the top of the 6th, where a stolen base sparked a rally that included a home run, but it ultimately wasn’t enough.

“I wish that could have happened a little sooner,” said Blue Devils head coach Jill Lyons “because when you’re facing a great pitcher — she was a good pitcher — and I knew she was gonna try to buckle down and not give us anything too much.”

Danville didn’t have much offensive action until the sixth.

Brittney Holt tried to bunt her way on, but was thrown out and then McKinley Alberts was safe at first when the lefthanded hitter slapped a grounder to third base and beat the throw.

Alberts then stole second and was safe when the tag missed, which started a momentum swing. Then Kaitlynn Briggs drove her in with a single to left.

“I was proud of the girls because that’s one thing we try to preach is never quit,” Lyon said. “I think they gave it all ’til the end.”

After Briggs drove in Alberts, Sammie Lavender drove in Briggs with a home run to center that got the Blue Devils to within two, with the score 5-3.

John Wareham/News McKinley Alberts of Danvile hits in the sixth inning against Peebles in the Division IV Regional finals softball game Saturday at Pickerington Central High School. Peebles won 5-3.

John Wareham/News

McKinley Alberts of Danvile hits in the sixth inning against Peebles in the Division IV Regional finals softball game Saturday at Pickerington Central High School. Peebles won 5-3.

The Indians (24-2) went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the sixth and Danville had one more chance to score.

In the top half of the seventh inning, the Blue Devils heard a different mantra of “Let’s go get some!” but pinch hitter Keaura Schilling popped to the catcher, Cece Newbold grounded to second and Jasmine Anderson fouled off six pitches before striking out to the end the game.

“I really don’t think people know our story this year with the injuries and stuff” Lyons said about the adversity that the team had faced during the season. “We had so much. They lost a classmate — a best friend. My first baseman is playing with a broken finger, my center fielder’s got a broken hand. These kids — It just means so much to them. They could have given up. Sammie (Lavender) had a hurt ankle all year. So just to give all that they possibly could to get to this point, I think it’s a lot to be said about those players and our team.”

The Blue Devils team reached the Regional finals (or further) for the third time in the last four seasons and got to the regional semifinals in 2016, which is quite an accomplishment for the seniors, according to Lyons.

“It stings right now, but they have a lot to be proud of, especially this senior class,” Lyons said. “How many seniors can say they gone to the regionals four years in a row? (The seniors) need to hold their heads up. They mean a lot to this program.”

Briggs finished the game with two hits and an RBI and Lavender had the home run and drove in the other two. Holt, Alberts and Hannah Duncan had the other hits for Danville.

Lavender struck out four and only walked one from the circle.

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John Wareham: 740-397-5333 or john.wareham@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews