Lyndie Dorgan threw a no-hitter, and Gabby Keisler slammed two home runs as the good times continued to roll for Gilbert in the Class 3A state softball playoffs.
The Indians (20-10) opened the Lower State championship tournament with a 7-0 win Monday over visiting Darlington. It was the 10th straight win for Reuben Eagle’s Tribe after falling to the .500 mark in the wake of a 1-4 showing at the Aiken Triple Crown tournament during spring break.
“We’re playing pretty good ball right now,” said Eargle, the only coach in program history. “To be honest, I wasn’t sure how good we’d be this season. We’re a young team, and we had to replace five starters. We didn’t swing the bats well at all early in the year, but things have come together at the right time.”
Dorgan, who fired her first varsity seven-inning no-hitter, said it’s been a matter of the team finally realizing it could compete at a higher level.
“I think we were all a little scared playing at 3A for the first time, but our attitude has changed a lot,” said Dorgan, a junior right-hander who is program’s winningest pitchers with a 56-14 career record. “Once we proved to ourselves that we could compete against any team when we’re playing well, our confidence started to grow.”
Dorgan’s no-hitter was preserved by two key defensive plays.
The first came in the fifth inning when Darlington’s Brooke Sohneman blooped a ball over Dorgan’s glove and in front of second baseman Savannah Anderson. But Anderson, the only senior on the team, charged the ball and threw quickly to nip Sohneman at first.
The next saving play was by third baseman Alicia Dorgan, Lyndie’s sister, who raced in to field a bunt up the line by Hanna Gainey in the sixth and threw just in time to first for the out.
As a final measure, catcher Gibson Westfall snagged a foul pop up as she slammed into the fence behind the plate for the final out of the game.
Keisler provided all the offense required. Her first homer was a solo shot to center in the first inning, and she closed the scoring with a two-run blast to center in the sixth.
Shortstop Jenna Williams had three hits, including a two-run double in the Indians’ three-run burst with two outs in the fourth.
Gilbert, an Elite Eight playoff team for the third year in a row and the fourth time in the last five seasons, has the home field advantage in the Lower State as long as it keeps winning. The Indians host a semifinal game on Wednesday to move within one win of reaching the state championship series for the first time since 1994.