"I think it made us realize if we don't play our 'A' game, we're not going to win," Boyle sophomore Beth Brown said.
Boyle coach Heather Oates said that lesson made last week's loss worthwhile.
"While you hate to lose a game, if it's one that gets you prepared for the district, we'll take it," Oates said.
The game in the final week of the regular season, which followed an 11-1 Boyle win April 23, was scheduled before realignment left Boyle and Lincoln in the same district.
"It's really not smart to play a district opponent this close to district," Lincoln coach Pam Young said.
Rebels, Ads play for district title Thursday
Boyle (10-14) clinched a berth in next week's 12th Region Tournament with Tuesday's win. The Rebels will try to win their first district title since 2001 when they face host Danville in Thursday's district final.
"Coach Oates showed us the runner-up trophy (from last season), and it fired us up," said Brown, who started Boyle's offensive attack by driving in the game's first run with a sharp single to right field in the fourth inning. "We don't want another one of those."
The game was scoreless through three innings, but over the next three innings Boyle collected seven of its nine hits and took advantage of multiple Lincoln errors to pull away.
According to Brown, the offense got untracked soon after a hitting tip from assistant coach Roger Webb.
"He reminded us their pitcher always throws a strike on the first pitch, and we started listening to him and going after the first pitch," Brown said.
"Being aggressive at the plate, seeing strikes and hitting strikes is what we've been preaching at the girls for the entire season," Oates said.
Meanwhile, Young was disappointed that Lincoln (11-16) gave the Rebels so much help. The Patriots got away with two errors in the third inning, but they committed four more over the next three innings to make every Boyle run unearned.
There were errors of seemingly every sort, from simple fielding and throwing errors to dropped throws and two dropped popups.
"We've had really good games, and we've had games where errors have cost us," the Lincoln coach said. "At this late stage, we shouldn't be making those fundamental errors."
Pennington allows just one hit
While Lincoln was giving Boyle plenty of help, the Rebels were giving their opponent nothing. Pitcher Mary Beth Pennington allowed only one hit - a third-inning single by Samantha Stapleton - and had three walks and nine strikeouts. Boyle played errorless defense behind her.
"We preach fundamentals, and today we did that," Oates said. "We have pretty much all season. I feel confident in our defense."
Consecutive RBI singles by Brown and Melissa Shannon gave Boyle a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning, and C.C. Leffew drove in a run with a double in the fifth.
The Rebels doubled their lead in the sixth on singles by Amber Mills and Joanna Frauenhoffer, the only player with two hits.
Now Boyle must beat Danville for the third time this season to win its first championship in the reconfigured 45th District. Danville has won the last two district titles, each time beating Boyle in the final.
Boyle beat Danville 4-2 on April 15 and 3-2 on April 29 this season.
"It should be a good game," Oates said. "We'll have to come out and execute well and play the best we can play."