The favorite saying on the Beecher bench this season, according to Emily Landis, has been "dinger derby."
"Taylor Johnson, she'll come up to bat and hit a dinger (home run), and then all of a sudden Sarah Crews will come up and hit a dinger," Landis said. "Everybody will be hitting hard and we'll be like, 'Oh, dinger derby!' It's just a little joke."
There is no joking around during the playoffs.
"I don't think we really have a saying. We're just trying to stay serious and stay focused," Landis said after Beecher beat Chicago Christian 11-1 in five innings Wednesday in a Class 2A Reed-Custer Sectional semifinal.
Landis led the way on offense for the Bobcats (31-7), going 4-for-4. Sarah Crews allowed four hits, striking out four en route to the pitching victory.
Davina Gutierrez was 2-for-3 for Chicago Christian (14-16).
Beecher will meet Reed-Custer in Saturday's sectional final.
Pretty heavy underdogs, the Knights kept it a ballgame over the first three innings. Gutierrez pitched her way out of a bases-loaded first-inning jam by inducing a lineout to third baseman Bre Vollan for a double play.
After the Bobcats went on top 3-0 in the second on hits by Carson Solis, Madison Bainbridge and Landis, Chicago Christian got one of the runs back in the top of the third when Emily Vilendrer singled and later scored on a base hit by Kaycee Pittman.
The walls caved in on the Knights, however, in the bottom of the fourth when Savanah Stluka led off with a bunt single, setting the stage for a seven-run, six-hit assault, the biggest blow a three-run triple by Crews.
"I think as a team we were a little lackadaisical at the beginning," Crews said. "As we kind of went on we started getting pumped up, letting each other know what was going on in the dugout, like if the pitcher was throwing a certain way or to a certain side.
"We were kind of just preparing each other for every at-bat that we could."
Crews allowed baserunners in every inning but one, but basically had things well under control. The Knights hit only three balls out of the infield.
"I just look at this as one that kind of got away," Chicago Christian coach Kevin Pittman said. "I give (Beecher) credit. They capitalized on mistakes that we made. We just weren't real sharp today, and when you're not real sharp at this time of year in a game like this, it kind of bites you in the rear end. We got bit."