Reynolds’ 2 home run performance lifts Gold past Blue in all-star softball game

DOVER – Wednesday night’s annual Blue-Gold All-Star Softball game at Dover Little League marked the final time the crop of 2018 Delaware high school graduates would have the chance to suit up and play a high school softball game.

Some of those girls, such as Milford High’s Kalaysia Reynolds, took full advantage of the opportunity.

Reynolds, representing the Gold team along with her Milford teammate Darby Brennan and Lake Forest girls Brooke Glanden, Brittany Baker and Katie Stahre, smashed a pair of home runs to help the Gold squad defeat the Blue squad, 8-7.

Kalaysia Reynolds crushes the second of her two homers in the fourth inning Wednesday night (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

“I was trying to keep my head down and just keep my eye on the ball,” Reynolds said of her approach in those two early-inning at-bats. “I wasn’t trying to kill it, just get a hit and get on so that we could keep runners on the bases and score.”

Her first homer of the night, a solo shot over the left field fence, started off the scoring with one out in the top of the second inning.

Tied 1-1 in the top of the fourth, Glanden led the inning off with a double to left field. Two at-bats later, Reynolds drilled her second homer to score Glanden and put the Gold team ahead 3-1.

The second homer was enough to earn Reynolds the Gold’s Most Valuable Player award.

“It’s so great, I’m just so grateful for my coaches and my team – they helped me get here,” she said of the honor.

Darby Brennan and Brittany Baker kept the Lake-Milford offensive theme alive in the top of the fifth, with Brennan bunting a Gold base-runner over to second base to set-up a Baker RBI double and extend the lead to 4-1.

Baker would come around to score on a fielder’s choice later in the inning to make it 5-1.

Lake’s Brooke Glanden went 2-for-4 with a single and a double in Gold’s 8-7 win (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

A trio of runs in the top of the sixth off a Lexi Johnson (DMA) RBI double and a pair of RBI singles capped the Gold scoring for the night.

The Blue team’s Indira Purnell (William Penn) and Rachel DiMarcello (St. Georges) kept the game interesting with a Purnell two-run homer in the sixth and a DiMarcello grand slam in the eighth. The pair of round-trippers brought the score to within one run heading into the ninth inning.

Stahre, who pitched the last four innings for the Gold in relief of Smyrna’s Delaware Pitcher of the Year Jessica Anderson, finished the game off in the pitcher’s circle with a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth inning, including a game-ending diving catch from Darby Brennan at second base.

It was a play Brennan had been practicing for years, and put an exclamation point on her All-State softball career with the Lady Bucs.

“It’s amazing,” she said after the game. “Honestly, that’s a play I’ve been practicing my entire career for softball, and just to finish that way is something me and my dad were just talking about – it’s awesome, just because I’ve literally been working on that play for so long.”

Sean Brennan, coaching first base Wednesday night, has a chat with Darby Brennan between innings during their final game together (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

“It was as exciting as winning a state championship,” coach Brennan, her father and Milford High’s head softball coach, said with a smile. “She has worked really hard on that play for three years, and that is no lie, every day in practice we’re working on that dive. She would get so frustrated because it would be just out of her reach, where she would mistime it or whatever. So for her to end the game that way, and to be a part of that, was so special.”

Coach Brennan served as the assistant coach for the Gold squad, coaching alongside Dover High’s Gerald Jester.

“It was great because I thought during the tournament that would be our last dance, but now today we got the opportunity to just have one more time together just me and him,” Darby said of playing for her father one last time.

“It was a great honor tonight to be able to close out the chapter,” coach Brennan said. “I coached her in her first game and I got to coach her in her last game. It’s been a great ride and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

In total, the five Lake-Milford girls combined to go 7-for-15 with two homers, four doubles, one single and four runs batted in at the plate and were responsible for half the runs scored by the Gold squad.

“At first it was a little different, because we’re all from different teams and were enemies pretty much,” Glanden, who will be playing softball at University of Delaware next year, said of playing alongside her Henlopen Conference foes. “But coming together and getting to play with the girls we’re always playing against felt good. It felt great as seniors getting to come out here and give it our all one last time.”

“It was like we all knew each other, even though we didn’t,” Reynolds said of the experience. “It was really nice, and all the girls were really nice and were cheering together. It was like we were all on the same team all year.”

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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