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James Buchanan sophomore is playing softball for the first time in five years. Wochit by Shelly Stallsmith

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Kennard-Dale made quick work of Nueva Esperanza Academy, needing just 56 minutes to breeze past the Toros, 15-0 in four innings, in opening round action of the PIAA Class 4A softball tournament Tuesday afternoon at Spartan Stadium at York College.

The win advances the Rams to the quarterfinals where they will take on District 7 runner-up Yough on Thursday at a time and site to be announced.

Esperanza pitcher Ashley Santiago pitched without the usual windmill windup and her offerings more closely resembled slow-pitch softball.

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"Coach (Greg Coulton) told us to take a pitch the first time up just to get a look at it," K-D shortstop Jaedyn McKeon said. "Once we got a look at the slower speed, we tried to stay back and wait on it."

McKeon didn't have a lot of trouble with the adjustment as she went 3-for-4 with a pair of triples and a double, while scoring three times and driving in two runs.

K-D (19-3) led 1-0 after the first inning, then sent 13 batters to the plate in the second and posted a seven-spot in the frame to break the game open.

McKeon, Chloe Parker and Marguerite DeFranco all supplied doubles to the rally with DeFranco chasing home two runners with hers and McKeon plating a run with her two-bagger. Alexis Hurley also drove home a pair with a single to cap the rally.

The Rams scored five more times in the third and Amber Belt ended the game with an RBI double in the fourth.

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All told, K-D rapped out 16 hits in its four turns at bat.

"We generally hit fast pitching better than we hit slow pitching," Coulton said. "It'll be an adjustment to go from hitting 30 miles per hour pitching back up to 58 or so in just one day of practice."

Hurley and Brittany Orwig each tossed a pair of shutout innings for the Rams. Hurley worked the first two innings and allowed two hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Orwig yielded one hit and recorded one strikeout.

K-D also received a big game at the plate from Lexy Kopko, who had three hits, scored three times and knocked in four runs. Belt and DeFranco also contributed two knocks apiece.

"We didn't know much at all about this team and we don't know much about our next opponent, either," Coulton said. "We try to go out and play our game and play hard every time we take the field. Regardless of who we are playing."

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