DANVILLE — It didn’t take long for the Danville softball team to assert its dominance Monday.
The Blue Devils erupted for 11 runs in the first inning and rolled to a 24-0 victory over visiting Granville Christian in the first round of the Division IV sectional tournament.
“The first inning really set the stage for us tonight,” said Danville coach Mike Beheler. “Hopefully, this will put us on the road to a nice tournament run.”
Pitcher Kat Mickley got the good vibes going early, striking out all three Granville Christian batters she faced in the first inning.
The Devils’ offense followed Mickley’s lead and blew the game open from the first pitch.
Darci Lauderbaugh led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a stolen base, third on a sacrifice bunt by Deanna Parker, and scored on a wild pitch. The rout was on.
The Devils (16-11) were the benefactor of a struggling pitching staff for the Lions. Danville had seven batters walk and one was hit by a pitch in the 11-run first inning. Jessica Francis had the big blow in the inning, smacking a two-run home run to right center field. Bri Staats added a run-scoring single and a run-scoring double as the Devils batted 17 batters in the opening frame.
“Jess got a real good pitch and drove it. She’s capable of doing that,” said Beheler. “It was nice to see her get that. Hopefully, that will help get her confidence up.”
Granville Christian threatened in the second when Alicia Westmiller doubled, then moved to third on a wild pitch. But, Lauderbaugh, the Danville catcher, caught her napping off third and the threat ended as quickly as it began.
Danville put the game completely out of reach with nine runs in the second inning. Emily Pew had two singles in the inning as the Devils took advantage of six walks and four hit batters.
Beheler was able to empty the bench at that time, giving his underclassmen some experience on the field during a tournament game.