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    EASTLAKE—North played a complete game in beating visiting Lakeside in a Division I sectional semifinal on Tuesday, 8-0.

    The shutout was the third of the year for the Rangers, who improved to 9-16 on the year.

    “I think this was our first complete game of the season,” said North head coach Mike Duncan. “We just played relaxed, threw strikes, fielded the ball, and made the throws.”

    After the two defenses exchanged 1-2-3 innings, the Dragons looked poised to strike first with bases loaded and no outs in the top of the second. However, the Ranger defense held Lakeside scoreless thanks in large part to two strikeouts from Sean Register.

    “That second inning where they had bases loaded and nobody out and we managed to get out of it was the turning point to me,” Duncan said. “Sean did an absolutely fantastic job in that inning and then it just kept rolling.”

    Register continued his impact on offense in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff single. Jacob Breen joined him on base, and a walk of Ethan Grinstead set North up in their own no-out, bases-loaded situation.

    “It’s incredible to have somebody that can go on both sides of the ball like that,” Duncan said of Register. “Sean didn’t play last year, and you would never know. Besides on the mound, he’s one of our leading hitters and he hits the ball hard.”

    The Rangers took advantage.

    A Patrick Keough sacrifice fly drove in the first run of the game and Breen later scored from third on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.

    The runs continued to come in bunches for North in the third. Braylon Rolf kicked things off with a triple and came home shortly after on a Tyler Leasure RBI double. Leasure scored twice on two hits in addition to his RBI.

    Register then notched his first of two RBI on the day with a hard-hit ball down the first base line, and he scored on Ethan Grinstead’s base hit to make it 5-0.

    “I think it came down to focus,” Duncan said of the Rangers’ success hitting the ball. “We were a little more selective on pitches we swung at, and when we got guys on base, we were able to bring them in.”

    Lakeside appeared to get something going in the fourth and fifth innings.

    A good piece of hitting allowed Dragon runners to reach scoring position in both innings, but Lakeside left them stranded on both occasions.

    “We didn’t make the plays we needed to make,” said Lakeside head coach Jared Sziber. “We get a single here or a base on balls there and it’s a different game, but that’s baseball. They made the plays, and we didn’t.”

    Rolf singled to start and stole a base—one of four for the Rangers in the game—to start the Ranger fifth. He later scored on Register’s sacrifice fly, and Breen knocked in another run to make it 7-0.

    North picked up one more run on a Rolf RBI single.

    Register then recorded three of his 10 strikeouts in the final two innings to seal the win.

    Despite the lopsided score, Lakeside’s Alex DiSalvatore notched nine strikeouts on the day.

    “Just keep pitching your game,” Coach Sziber said on what he told DiSalvatore throughout the game. “Don’t worry about what bad things happen behind you. It’s not your fault.”

    North advances to the second round of the tournament to take on Archbishop Hoban on Thursday.

    “There’s little things we can work on,” Duncan said. “We had some guys swinging at pitches they probably shouldn’t have. But if we can keep doing the things we did today and tighten things down a little bit, I think we can be in good shape for whoever we play.”

     

     

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