ONARGA — Clinging to a two-run lead in the fourth inning of Saturday's Gilman 1A Softball Sectional championship, Gardner-South Wilmington broke out the sticks at the plate.
They ended up being whoopin' sticks.
Six hits and three errors later, the Panthers owned a nine run lead. One inning and four more runs later, the locals were celebrating its first ever sectional championship after a 13-0 win over Donovan.
"I told the girls that they have tied the best team finish in school history," GSW coach Jon Posing said. "The 1993 baseball team is the only other team at the school to make the Final Four."
GSW scored twice in the top of the first inning to get off to an early lead.
Emily Foley singled and Lexi Posing doubled to start things and Abby Horrie reached on an error, scoring Foley. Becca Bernardy then brought in Posing with a sacrifice fly to center field.
The big inning of the day, however, was the fourth.
"Coming into the game, we felt that we needed to score early and often," Lexi Posing said.
In the fourth Maranda Residori reached on an error and one out later, Emily Hopwood singled and Paige Lardi singled home Residori. An error on the Donovan centerfielder allowed the runners to move up a base and Ally Matthews singled and an error on the Donovan leftfielder kept the runners going. Foley then doubled and Lexi Posing singled. After the second out, Bernardy doubled. The final two runs of the inning came when both Posing and Bernardy scored on the same wild pitch.
In the fifth, GSW scored the final four runs to ice the game with the big hits coming when Posing had a bases clearing triple and Bernardy an RBI double.
"This team can hit up and down the lineup," Coach Posing said. "After yesterday's practice, I had a feeling that the bottom of the order was going to hit today ... I was real happy with the way we put the ball into play today."
Especially with runners in scoring position.
"We want to go up there and try to be calm," Lexi Posing said. "We want to hit the ball but we also want to be patient and to get a pitch we can drive."
On the other end of the spectrum, Foley was the winning pitcher for the Panthers. She went five innings allowing three hits and one walk while striking out six.
"We can't afford to go out and be all big-headed and everything, but we know that we need to go out and play the best game that we can," Foley said. "And we did that today."
The Panthers will now play on Monday in the Seneca 1A Supersectional at 11 a.m. — looking for another piece of GSW history.
"It's great knowing that we'll always have that record up there at the school, that's it's always going to be there," Lexi Posing said.
"It's a great feeling," Foley said.