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Darlington moves on to second round with pair of big wins over Galloway

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One batter after the other, the Darlington softball team slapped hit after hit into the outfield, adding to its lead. The convoy of hits didn’t make for the most competitive of games, but it was certainly the execution a coach wants to see in the postseason.

Darlington recorded 33 hits over the span of two five-inning games as it swept Galloway in the first round of the Class A Private playoffs Thursday at home. The Lady Tigers earned a shutout 11-0 win in Game 1 and built their way to a 14-1 victory in Game 2. The wins send Darlington to the Sweet 16 for the second season in a row.

“We did what we had to do with this game,” Darlington coach Matt Larry said. “Both games, we kind of turned it on there in the middle innings. So we played our game and we made the hits when we needed to.”

Ellie Gillis went 6-for-8 with five RBIs and five runs scored in the doubleheader, including a leadoff home run in Game 2. Caroline Dingler went 6-for-6 with four RBIs and three runs scored, and Sydney Seymour reached base seven times, including on three extra-base hits.

In Game 1, Josi McKibben allowed only two hits, no runs and struck out seven through five innings pitched. Kathryne Ledbetter followed that by going all five innings in Game 2, allowing only four hits and one earned run.

Darlington (14-10) posted three runs in the first inning of Game 1 and would score in each of its four following at-bats.

The Lady Tigers never passed on an opportunity to take an extra base or take advantage of an error, and they quickly got in range to win via the run rule.

“I think we all have talent, and coach Larry expects us to hit the ball and put it in play,” Seymour said. “We know each of us can hit the ball well, so we expect to be good top to bottom.”

The second game was not much different, save for the Lady Scots (5-15) scoring their only run of the afternoon in the fourth.

Darlington scored one run in the first and second before breaking out with an eight-run third inning to take a 10-0 lead and not look back.

The Sweet 16 is where Darlington’s season ended last year, with a pair of one-run losses to Tattnall Square, cutting short their hopes of making it to Columbus and the state championship bracket.

The Lady Tigers will travel to Macon for the Sweet 16 again next Wednesday, this time to play First Presbyterian.

“We talked about just controlling what we need to control,” Larry said.

“The same exact team was here last season. We are back in Macon, so that’s something we’re used to and it may be a good thing.”