North’s softball team opened the postseason with a dominating 10-0 five-inning win over visiting Twinsburg on Monday.
The Rangers scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning, five in the third, and invoked the run-rule with a three-run fourth.
“We had a little bit of a slower start,” said North coach Matt McPeek. “Their pitcher threw a little harder than we expected. She wasn’t a fireballer but she was sneaky quick and had a nice changeup. She had this little spin on her ball that kept hitting the outside corner and she was getting the call, so I don’t think our first three hits totaled 200 feet if you tally them all up but then we started figuring her out and we were hitting the ball harder and harder.
Breonna Preston drew a leadoff walk in the first and Amanda Dobida and Maddie Russo both drew walks after a strikeout to load the bases with two outs. Juliana Augusta followed with a two-run single.
The Rangers left two runners on in the second but scored five runs in the third before Twinsburg recorded an out.
Olivia Augusta started the rally with a single and Russo hit a bomb to center field.
“Maddie Russo hit a ball that just kept going up as it left,” McPeek said. “We got a spark off of that.”
Juliana Augusta restarted the rally with a single and Dori Siekaniec reached on an error. Autumn Fester singled home Augusta and Siekaniec scored on Preston’s groundout.
Dobida hit a leadoff double in the second and scored on Olivia Augusta’s single. Russo and Juliana Augusta followed with back-to-back singles and Siekaniec hit a sacrifice fly that gave the Rangers the 10-run cushion they’d need to invoke the run rule.
Juliana Augusta finished the game 3-for-3 with a team-best three RBI. Olivia Augusta and Russo both finished with two hits.
Dobida went the distance in the circle. She allowed just one hit and struck out eight in five scoreless innings of work.
“This was a total team effort,” McPeek said. “Juliana was 3-for-3 again with a couple more big hits and Amanda was really good. She had to knock the cobwebs off there in the first inning. She walked one or two but then she ended up getting out of it and that was their biggest threat of the game.”
With the win, the Rangers improved to 9-3 overall and will play at Massillon Jackson in a sectional final on Wednesday.
The Rangers also have four key conference games to play this week and three more next week as they chase the Western Reserve Conference title.
“This was the first step in a big week,” McPeek said.