MENTOR—An early lead helped Mentor hold off visiting North in a non-conference game on Friday, 6-3.
The Cardinals led 6-1 entering the seventh inning and made a key defensive play with the tying run at the plate in the seventh inning to seal their win behind freshman pitcher Maggie Haydu.
“It was huge to put up some runs so she could go out and there and be comfortable,” said Mentor coach Jo Bondra of the run support for Haydu. “I think she settles in once she knows it’s not a 0-0 game so when we can give her that cushion, it’s definitely helpful for her.”
Leah Temple singled to start Mentor’s two-run first inning.
Peyton Trick then walked and Abby Haydu hit an RBI single to right field and Sydni Bush followed with a ground out that allowed Trick to score.
Kiley Markowski’s one-out double in the second led to two more Mentor runs.
Temple followed with a two-out RBI double and she scored on Bella Carcioppolo’s double.
North’s Alyssa McPeek hit a two-out triple in the third and scored on Amanda Dobida’s ground out but Mentor responded with two more runs in the bottom half of the inning to push its lead to 6-1.
Maggie Haydu hit a one-out single and Jenna Place followed with a single. Markowski’s sacrifice bunt left runners at second and third with one out and Oliva Sacks singled them home.
“I think our offense is coming together,” Bondra said. “We made some changes a couple of weeks ago and those kids are stepping up huge for us. Our entire lineup, there isn’t a kid a pitcher can take a break on because every single hitter is hitting very well right now.”
Temple finished the game 3-for-4 and Maggie Haydu and Markowski both recorded two hits for the Cardinals.
North threatened in the fourth as Olivia Augusta singled to lead off the inning and Maddie Russo doubled to put runners at second and third with no outs but the Rangers couldn’t get the clutch hit off of Haydu.
Dobida doubled to lead off the North sixth but again, Haydu pitched out of that jam.
The Rangers made their run at the Cardinals in the top of the seventh.
Autumn Fester hit a one-out single and Lily Namestnik and Taylor Bard hit back-to-back singles to cut Mentor’s lead to 6-2. McPeek then reached on an error that allowed Namestnik to score and left runners at second and third.
A pop-out left the Rangers with just one out to tie the game.
Augusta hit a deep fly ball to right field but Jenna Place made an impressive catch to seal Mentor’s win.
“It seems like we’ve turned the corner that we’ve been waiting to turn,” Bondra said of Mentor clinching its fourth straight win. “We found our starting pitcher in Maggie Haydu, who has done a great job of keeping the other team to low runs. With our offense, we can give up three or four and still get a win. They’ve definitely settled in and things are going the direction that they were supposed to be going.”
Haydu allowed two earned runs on eight hits and struck out six.
The loss snapped North’s four-game win streak.
“I give a lot of credit to Maggie,” said North coach Matt McPeek. She changed speeds better than anyone else has and moved the ball around. She kept us at bay until the end there.”
Dobida and Russo both hit doubles for the Rangers and Alyssa McPeek had the triple. The Rangers collected eight hits in the loss.
Dobida allowed six runs on 11 hits and struck out three in five innings. Augusta threw one scoreless inning. She struck out one.