The Excel Christian Academy softball team defeated Darlington twice during the regular season.
However, Darlington would get the better of the Lady Eagles when it mattered most, sweeping Excel Wednesday by scores of 7-3 and 12-0 in the first-round of the Class A Private state playoffs.
The series loss ends Excel’s season with a 10-15 record.
Excel came in ranked 20th in Class A Private, while Darlington hosted the series as the No. 13 seed.
Excel made 10 errors in the two games, allowing a total of 14 unearned runs.
In Game 1, after two scoreless frames, Excel scored first in the third inning when Taylor Gibson singled to lead off, advanced on a Kalli Beth Scheff sacrifice bunt and scored on Brighton McCollum’s two-out RBI single.
However, the game would be won in the bottom of that same inning when Darlington scored five runs on a single, a hit by pitch, a walk, an error, a sacrifice fly, a double and then another single.
Darlington then tacked on two more in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run home run.
Excel made an attempt to come back with two runs in the top of the seventh on singles by Whitney Harris, Landry McCollum and an RBI groundout by Aliza Baker, but it would not be enough to make up for the five-run third inning by Darlington.
Baker hit a double in the game, while Landry McCollum and Gibson each had two hits, and Linsey Mauldin, Brighton McCollum and Rachel Parrott each had one.
Gibson pitched all seven innings of the game, allowing just three earned runs after Excel made three errors.
In Game 2, Darlington broke away in the second inning with another big frame, this time scoring seven runs to all but eliminate Excel. The Lady Eagles made seven errors in the contest, three in the seven-run second.
Darlington would tack on five more run in the final two frames to end the game by the run rule after five innings.
Excel had just two hits in the game, one each by Gibson and Rachel Parrott.
Gibson also pitched the final 1.2 innings and allowed just two unearned runs on two hits with two strikeouts.