WILLOUGHBY—In the final game of their high school careers, North seniors Adri George and Jess Dodd etched their names in the record books in leading the Rangers to a 6-2 victory over rival South in front of a boisterous crowd under the lights at Todd Field on Friday.
George went 2-for-3 with a home run that set a new school record for four-baggers in a single season and Dodd was 3-for-4 and now stands alone at the top of the program’s leaderboard for highest batting average in a single season.
“Knowing these records were so close to being beaten, I just wanted these two girls to pull through, and they did,” said North coach Taylor Braddock. “Jess has worked so hard every season and offseason to reach the level of success she has. She finished her career at North with a blowout of the previous batting average record and I couldn’t be more proud of her and her successful career. The biggest success story comes from Adri, a kid who had not had a high school home run and she beats the record her senior season; that’s incredible. She put in so much work to be where she is. Those two kids shaped a lot of what our program is and I’m very happy their name is now a part of the record books at North. They left their mark.”
George led off the game with a double and Dodd roped a single to center to give the Rangers an early 1-0 lead. Olivia Augusta and Hailie Wilson walked to load the bases and Juliana Augusta earned an RBI the easy way when she collected North’s third walk of the inning to push the lead to 2-0.
The Rangers added four more runs throughout the game to take a 6-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh. South scored two but the Rangers held on for their first win in the rivalry since 2015.
“This is huge,” Braddock of the win over South. “There was one thing coming into this game because we’re out of the playoffs, we lost last Wednesday, but we told the girls, come out and play it for the seniors, play it for your coaches, and play it for the hard work you put in all year and that’s exactly what they did. Each girl played a part in this game from freshman to senior and that’s what we wanted.”
George’s one-out solo shot in the second was the sixth of her season. With the home run, she passed Kelsey Pacholke at the top of the leaderboard. Pacholke hit five home runs in 2009.
She entered the season, her fourth as a starter, without a career home run. She hit her first in an April 17 win at Crestwood and finished the year with six in her last 10 games.
“Before that game, I said, ‘If there’s one thing I want this season, I want her to get a home run,’ and she got a home run that game and now she has the school record,” Braddock said.
Following the home run, Dodd and Olivia Augusta drew back-to-back walks and Wilson delivered an RBI single to push the Ranger lead to 4-0.
Dori Siekaniec drew a leadoff walk to start the Ranger third. George walked with one out and Dodd singled to load the bases. Wilson drew a leadoff walk to make it 5-0.
The Rangers drew 12 walks in the game.
“Each girl took the walks that they were given and they passed the bat and got it to the next person,” Braddock said. “Unfortunately, in some of those situations, we couldn’t come up with the big hit but the walks were just as big in getting runs as the hits were.”
North added an insurance run in the top of the seventh when Dodd hit a two-out single, stole second, and scored on Wilson’s single.
With her final hit of the day, Dodd closed out the season with a .593 batting average. Mo Brandt was the previous single-season batting leader after hitting .506 in 2012.
South scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh and had a runner in scoring position before freshman Amanda Dobida closed out her eighth win of the season.
“We wanted the girls to just play the game and make the small outs and then the bigger outs will come,” Braddock said. “I think playing behind a freshman in the circle in this big atmosphere with all of these fans was huge for them and they wanted to have her back just as much as she had their back, so I think having her on the mound played a huge role in this.”
Dobida allowed six hits and struck out seven, but it was the seniors that stole the show in their last game against their rival and first under the lights at Todd Field since their freshman season.
North’s seniors—George, Dodd, Wilson, and Emily Zaleski–combined to go 7-for-14 at the plate with four runs scored and five runs batted in.
“I expected a lot out of the seniors tonight,” Braddock said. “They were ready for this game, they were pumped, and they wanted to win. We actually haven’t played South since their freshman year under the lights here, so this is something that they were waiting for. I think they shined in their moment. The pressure wasn’t too big for them.”
Dobida also had a hit and Olivia Augusta drew four walks in the win.
Ryan Wallace, Grace Woodcock, Makenna Matriano, Alexa Cesar, Emily Kelly, and Alyssa Tekavec had hits for the Rebels.