Berwick’s offense got started immediately.
McKenzie Waltman and Gabby Starr never stopped.
Waltman and Starr finished with three hits each Saturday when the Lady Bulldogs landed a spot in the first full round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 4A softball tournament by defeating Northwestern Lehigh, 8-4, in a play-in game at Patriots Park in Allentown.
The runners-up from Districts 2 and 11 met to see which would fill the last spot in the 16-team bracket when District 3 chose not to have its second-place team qualify this year.
Berwick was in control throughout, scoring three times in the top of the first, then adding two runs in the third and one in the fifth for a 6-0 lead.
By the time Northwestern Lehigh had its first baserunner against Emily Novicki in the fourth inning, Berwick (14-9) already had a five-run lead.
Novicki also joined Peyton Lipsey in adding two hits to the Berwick attack.
Berwick is 11-3 with two losses to district champion Tunkhannock and one to Class 5A Pittston Area – by one, two and three runs – since a 3-6 start. The Lady Bulldogs will go to Lebanon Valley College in Annville Monday at 4 p.m. to face District 3 champion Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt (21-2).
Waltman, Novicki and Starr all drove in runs in the first inning.
Starr and Kaite Caladie drove in two runs in the game.
Waltman, who scored three times, and Novicki had doubles for the team’s two extra-base hits in the game.
Novicki walked three and struck out six.
Northwestern Lehigh had just one hit through four innings before scoring twice each in the fifth and seventh. The Colonial League champions finished 21-3.