In their first game of the Class 3A, District 7 softball playoffs, the Gilbert Indians found Manning’s weakness early and exploited it. Gilbert rung up the Monarchs for a 28-0 win in four innings, posting 15 runs on 15 hits in a marathon second inning.
The mercy rule permits calling a game after five innings if a team is down by 10 runs, but the coaches agreed to end it after four.
“We have got a hitting ball club. Our team’s batting average is over .400, and they go to the plate – no matter what the situation – is with the same mentality,” Gilbert coach Rueben Eargle said. “They are looking to hit it.”
The Indians tallied four home runs, including Skylar Maroney’s three-run shot that put the Indians up 5-0 in the first inning.
In the second, the Indians strung together 12 consecutive hits, exploiting the murky defensive triangle between the Monarchs’ shortstop, third-baseman and left-fielder. On her second at-bat of the inning, senior Jenna Williams hit it out of the park for her first homer.
“I didn’t think it was going over the fence when I hit it, but when I was rounding first I heard everybody screaming and I knew. I almost cried,” said Williams, who also hit a double in the inning and went 3-4 at the plate, with three RBIs.
She was the 11th Indian to hit a home run this season.
Subbing in for Maroney, Haley Boatwright posted two homers in the game, hitting it out of the park to left and center.
Gilbert tested three Manning pitchers in four innings, and seven Indians collected multiple hits. Pitcher Lyndie Dorgan and Kate Lee hit triples, and Gibson Westfall finished 4-for-4 with a double.
“Most of us have been hitting pretty good this season, so our confidence is high, but we know anyone can have a slump. I’m actually just coming out of one, so this was good for me,” Williams said.
Dorgan (13-3) allowed one hit and struck out six to keep the Monarchs from getting into the game.
The Indians (23-4) will host a second-round game Monday.