North’s 9-7 win at Riverside on Wednesday was far less dramatic than Tuesday’s 17-16 eight-inning affair but it did seal a season sweep for the Rangers.
As they did at North on Tuesday, the Beavers again jumped out to an early lead after scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning but the resilient Rangers scored four in the third to take the lead then outscored Riverside in the final four innings.
“We told the girls to stay humble and play their game,” said North coach Taylor Braddock. “That’s a hard-hitting Riverside team and we matched them every inning.”
Lexie Genter started in the circle for the second straight day and pitched six solid innings to pick up the win. She allowed four earned runs on 13 hits.
Kirsten Luksic threw just five pitches to finish off the Beavers in the seventh.
“Lexie pitched her game today,” Braddock said. “Her changeup was working and she was hitting her spots. Then Luksic came in and finished it up very strong.”
Ashlee Kronik, who also played well on defense, singled to start North’s third-inning rally. Adri George also singled and Val Arnold tripled to cut Riverside’s lead to 3-2.
Mikaela Fording tripled home Arnold and scored on a ground ball.
Riverside put together a string of hits to tie the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the third and neither team scored in the fourth.
Fording walked and moved to third on Samantha Pirosko’s single. She scored on a groundout to give North a short-lived 5-4 lead. Riverside tied it in the bottom half of the inning.
Jess Dodd reached on an error in the sixth to start a two-run rally. Kronik singled and George doubled in the inning.
George finished the game 2-for-5 with an RBI. She ended the Riverside series 5-for-10 with two doubles and six runs batted in.
“Coming up to the plate, I had the mentality of a base hit will get the job done and I knew I had to relax and put the ball in play,” George said. “It felt great to have a team win. We all contributed and trusted each other. We knew coming into today that they were hungry for the win after yesterday but we came back today with the same intensity.”
Riverside responded to North’s rally with a two-run inning of its own to tie the game at 7-7 heading into the seventh.
Hannah Harris led off the top half of the inning with a single and Hailie Wilson reached on a fielder’s choice that left Rangers on first and second with no outs. A groundout moved the runners up and Dodd singled home Harris and Wilson scored on an error.
Luksic shut down the Beavers in the bottom half of the inning to secure the win.
Dodd and Kronik both finished with two hits for the Rangers and Arnold and Fording both knocked in two runs.
“This is how we envisioned the team hitting all year,” Braddock said. “It took them a while to get started but they’re peaking at the right time. Our defense stepped up the last two days physically and verbally. Our sophomore, Ashlee Kronik, is starting to take charge on the field and everyone is feeding off of her.”
The Rangers travel to Chardon on Thursday.