HOOPESTON — A quick start and a powerful offense was right combination for the Bismarck-Henning softball team on Tuesday The Blue Devils pounded out 11 hits — including five for extra bases — in their 11-1 victory over the Hoopeston Area Cornjerkers in an IHSA Class 2A regional semifinal. “We were focused and we got the job done like we needed to do,’’ said Bismarck-Henning junior centerfielder Lexi Ballard, who was 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored. “Once we get off a good start, we can keep our momentum going. “A good start can lead to a good finish.’’ Bismarck-Henning (18-8) got that good start thanks in part to leadoff hitter Brittney Ribbe, who reached on a bunt single, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. “We talked before the game that this is Hoopeston’s regional. They are well-coached and they were coming off a good win (11-3) on Monday over Milford,’’ Bismarck-Henning coach Mike Stephens said. “We felt like we had to get ahead right away. “Ribbe beating out that bunt, and getting real aggressive on the basepaths charged us up.’’ Bismarck-Henning junior third baseman Lauren McKenzie got the scoring started for the Blue Devils with an RBI triple to right-center. McKenzie scored Bismarck-Henning’s second run of the first inning on a groundout by Kate Bass. “We knew to get the job done, we had to be ready to hit the ball,’’ said McKenzie, who was 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. “It’s always good to score early. You can get on top and stay on top.’’ And that’s exactly what the Blue Devils did against the Cornjerkers. Bismarck-Henning added another run in the second, three more in the third to take a 6-0 lead. “Tournament games are different, if you get behind there is a little more pressure on you,’’ Stephens said. “I was really pleased because our kids were pretty loose. “But, the biggest key was (Emmie) Hawkins throwing the ball well. When she throws is well, we are a really good team.’’ Hawkins, who got the victory, threw four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, while walking two and striking out four. “Hitting the ball well was good, but our pitcher did really well today,’’ said McKenzie, who came on in relief and gave up a run in the fifth. Stephens added, “I was proud of the freshman coming into this situation and handling it the way that she did.’’ And Hawkins wasn’t the only freshman to come up big on Tuesday for the Blue Devils. Larissa Lappin had two singles and a game-high three RBIs for Bismarck-Henning. “She has to learn a couple of signals,’’ said Stephens with a smile. “Larissa is just one of those kids that is a player.’’ Hoopeston Area, which ends its season at 11-20, just couldn’t find enough offense to keep up with Bismarck-Henning. The Cornjerkers got their only run in the fifth on back-to-back two-out doubles from Karena Colunga and Brooke Kinney. “They outhit us today. We didn’t play badly — we just didn’t get hits when we needed them,’’ Hoopeston Area coach Krissi Price said. “We struggled hitting all year. (On Monday) we had 12 hits against Milford, but we couldn’t pull through today.’’ With the victory, Bismarck-Henning advances to Saturday’s regional championship game against either Paxton-Buckley-Loda or Watseka. The Panthers and the Warriors will play in the other semifinal today in Hoopeston. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m. Last year, the Blue Devils defeated the Panthers 3-2 in the regional championship game in Paxton. “It was a good feeling last year, and we hope we can do it again on Saturday,’’ said McKenzie. Saturday’s regional championship game is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and the winner will advance to next week’s IHSA Class 2A Watseka Sectional.