EASTLAKE—North celebrated Senior Night with a dramatic 17-16 eight-inning win over visiting Riverside on Monday.
The Rangers spotted the Beavers a 6-0 lead and twice fought off the run-rule before Jess Dodd’s bases-loaded single in the bottom of the eighth capped the comeback bid.
“I told them in the fourth inning when we were down 10-plus, they dug themselves into the biggest hole they had ever been in as a team,” said North coach Taylor Braddock. “They just one by one fought out of it. We had sophomores coming through, freshmen coming through, everyone came through; the seniors came through on Senior Night.”
Riverside scored two in the first and four in the second before the Rangers put up a four-spot in the bottom of the second to pull to within 6-4.
The Beavers added two more in the third and five in the fourth. North responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth but Riverside tacked on three more in the fifth, leaving the Rangers in danger of being run-ruled.
North outscored Riverside, 10-0, in the final three innings of regulation to set up the dramatic finish.
“I think it’s the demeanor of the girls,” Braddock said of North’s refusal to let up. “They know we’re the underdog in almost every game they play. They don’t like that so they come through. It took us four innings to do it, but every girl had a chip on their shoulder. Every girl wanted that hit. I think having (former head coach Andy ) Palermo in the dugout helped as well because they’re used to his motivational speeches and that’s what he did, he brought them up. They’re not allowed to be quiet in the dugout and he stresses that.”
Samantha Pirosko, who finished 3-for-3 with two runs batted in and three walks, doubled to start the sixth-inning rally. Hannah Harris, Danielle Meier and Ashlee Kronik also had hits in the inning.
Trailing 16-11 in the bottom of the seventh, Val Arnold reached on an error, Mikaela Fording and Pirosko both singled, Harris walked and Kirsten Luksic doubled and later scored to force the extra inning.
Luksic pitched out of a jam in the top of the eighth and Fording tripled to open North’s half of the inning.
That forced Riverside to intentionally walk Pirosko and Harris to create a force out at any base.
Dodd, who struck out with the bases loaded in the first inning, bounced the first pitch she saw over the shortstop’s head to end the game.
North travels to Riverside for the season finale on Wednesday.
“The confidence is through the roof but we’ve still got to stay humble because Riverside is ready to come back on Wednesday 10 times harder,” Braddock said. “They don’t want to lose to us again so the girls have to come ready to play. I’m proud of my seniors. I’m going to miss them.”
Adri George also had three hits in the game and led the Rangers with five RBI.