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    North’s softball capped off a big week with an 11-1 win over rival South under the lights at Todd Field on Friday.

    With the win, the Rangers improved to 17-7 overall and 8-1 in the Western Reserve Conference and extended their winning streak to five straight games.

    “It was awesome,” said North coach Matt McPeek. “We talked all week about taking one step at a time and giving ourselves another day to play for something, and that’s exactly what they did this week.”

    The Rangers went to work early as Ashley Sykes singled to start the bottom of the first and she moved to second on Alyssa McPeek’s sacrifice bunt. Amanda Dobida, who pitched out of a jam in the top of the first, singled home Sykes for a 1-0 lead.

    The Rangers added three more runs in the second when Bre Preston singled and Lily Namestnik hit a home run over the right field fence. Taylor Bard followed with a solo shot to center.

    Preston hit a two-out homer to center, and Namestnik reached on an error, Bard walked, and Brynne Smith hit an RBI single that pushed the North lead to 6-0.

    The Rebels avoided the shutout with a run in the fourth when Allyson Leskiewicz led off with a double and scored on a groundout.

    North responded with three runs in the bottom of the fourth and then invoked the run rule with two runs in the bottom of the fifth.

    McPeek, Aly Hall, Preston, Namestnik, and Smith each recorded two hits for the Rangers. Namestnik knocked in a team-high four runs.

    All nine Rangers recorded at least one hit in the game.

    “I think getting that lead in the first innings was just what the doctor ordered,” Coach McPeek said. “We talk about that all the time, and sometimes we like to take our time, but we didn’t do that. We got just the one run we manufactured, and then the floodgates kind of opened up later in the game.”

    Dobida limited the Rebels to just one run on two hits and she struck out three in the complete game victory.

    Hailey Zupancic and Leskiewicz recorded South’s only hits of the game. Violet Dichazy struck out two and allowed eight earned runs on 14 hits in 4 2/3 innings in the circle.

    North hopes to ride this week’s momentum into a pair of key games next week.

    The Rangers play North Canton Hoover in a district semifinal at Mentor on Monday at 2:00 p.m., and then on Tuesday, they’ll play for the WRC title when they complete a game against Riverside on Tuesday.

    “There’s a saying that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it, and the girls have done everything they had to do up to this point,” Coach McPeek said. “I’m not trying to over coach at this point, I’m trying not to overwork them, and we’re trying to let them get their rest in between games and heal up. We just want to stay sharp, and so far, so good.”

     

     

     

    Steve Hare
    Steve Harehttps://www.ohiovarsity.com
    The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.
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