Danville scored its two runs in the third and fourth innings, when five of Pennington's six walks occurred.
Boyle takes advantage of Danville miscues
But it was Boyle (7-9) taking advantage of some Danville miscues in the sixth that made the difference in the game. Amber Mills led off the inning with a single and went to third on a single by Joanna Frauenhoffer that was then thrown over the head of Morgan Young covering first base.
Frauenhoffer stole second, and one out later Mills scored on a groundout by Tiffany Webb. Pennington sent a grounder to shorstop Monica Vonderbrink, but Vonderbrink's throw to first was in the dirt and Courtney Frye couldn't dig it out. That scored Frauenhoffer with the winning run.
Danville coach Jerry Perry was not happy with the way his team played and said Boyle "should win the district hands down."
"Monica was just afraid," Perry said. "She was afraid to overthrow the bag, so she didn't throw it at all."
Oates said Thursday's game was a good step for her team, another on a long string of improvements.
"Fast pitch softball is a game of opportunities," Oates said. "We took advantage of some of the opportunities that we had. I told the girls they need to get on base, they need to run it out, they need to be smart. We have a very experienced top part of the lineup that did their job."
Boyle took its first lead when Mills led off the game with a liner to right field that skipped past Liz Ruth for a triple. She scored on a groundout by C.C. Leffew, but Boyle didn't get another hit until the sixth inning.
Strikeouts or walks for Pennington
In the meantime, Danville was facing a feast or famine day at the plate. Pennington was either completely on (getting strikeouts on eight consecutive outs at one point) or way off (walking four straight batters).
Eight of the first nine outs of the game came on strikeouts, but in the middle of that was a point of lost control for Pennington. She opened the third inning with a strikeout, then walked Jerrica Potts, Renee Chiu and Vonderbrink. Potts scored on a wild pitch, and then Pennington walked Chelsea Wallace.
Oates called a timeout to talk to her pitcher.
"I just wanted her to refocus, go back to the fundamentals of pitching," Oates said. "I basically just wanted to calm her down."
"I wasn't getting my release point," Pennington said. "I think I was just not focused at that point."
She struck out the next two batters to leave the bases loaded. Danville left the bases loaded again in the fourth, but also scored on an RBI infield single by Vonderbrink to go up 2-1.
Vonderbrink's hit was the only one for the top six batters in Danville's order, who struck out a combined nine times. The bottom three had three hits and only two strikeouts.
"It was all the bottom of the order," Perry said. "The top of the order hit nothing, just like it has been. Till the top of our order comes around, we're not going to beat anybody."
Wallace took the loss despite giving up only three hits and striking out six.