The beat goes on for the Gilbert softball program.
The seventh-ranked Indians (25-4) overpowered Georgetown 10-2 on Friday to secure the Class 3A, District 7 championship. It was the fourth straight district title for the Tribe and the fifth in six tries since 2009.
“I told the girls that we’ve been here before, and now it’s time to take that next step and get to the championship series,” said Reuben Eargle, the only coach in program history, who has announced his retirement.
“We’re five wins away from doing the one thing we have yet to do.”
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The Indians slammed three home runs in the title clincher – a three-run shot by Nikkie Hopkins in the third inning, and a pair of two-run blasts by Gabby Keisler and Alicia Dorgan in the sixth.
Dorgan smacked two homers in Gilbert’s 6-4 semifinal win over Georgetown – including a two-run, walk-off in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Gilbert finished the three-game district sweep with 43 runs and nine homers.
“I have a strong feeling that we can win state this year,” said Keisler, who is the program’s all-time home run leader with 26.
“We just have to keep believing in our bats, because that’s what has kept us going all season.”
For Keisler and fellow senior starters Jenna Williams and Lyndie Dorgan, the driving factor is to become the first Gilbert team to make it to the state championship series in 20 years – and win the title.
“If we’ve learned anything from our past experiences, it’s that it all comes down to playing our best one game at a time,” Keisler said.
Lyndie Dorgan had two hits and was the winning pitcher, scattering eight Bulldogs hits.
The Indians open the Lower State championship tournament at Hartsville on Monday.