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    Maddie Russo hit two home runs, leading North to a 6-1 win at rival South on Wednesday.

    With the win, the Rangers improved to 12-5 overall and 5-1 in the Western Reserve Conference. More important, North snapped a two-game skid.

    “It was pretty cold, but we did some things really well,” said North coach Matt McPeek. “We played defense, Amanda (Dobida) pitched really well, and Maddie Russo went off again just like she did in Myrtle Beach. Brynee Smith just kept hitting too, and some of the other kids that don’t get all the notoriety came through today.”

    North went right to work as Alyssa McPeek drew a one-out single in the first and moved to third on Dobida’s single. Aly Hall then hit the first of her two doubles for a 2-0 Ranger lead.

    The Rangers threatened again with a pair of one-out singles from Smith and Ashley Sykes, but South pitcher Violet Dichazy pitched out of that jam.

    Hall doubled again in the third and Smith doubled and Sykes singled in the fourth but the Rangers were turned away again.

    North finally added to its lead with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings and two more in the seventh.

    Russo hit a solo shot with two outs in the fifth and Dobida doubled home Smith in the sixth. Russo then hit a one-out homer in the seventh for her first career two-home run game.

    “I was very happy and just proud of myself,” Russo said. “It was huge to hit those two home runs. I went into the batter’s box looking for my pitch and when it was there, I took advantage of it. The games against South are always hyped up because they are our rivals, but we can’t let our emotions get too big. We just went into today’s game as if it was just another game. We did our jobs and came out with the win.”

    South avoided the shutout when Taylor Zupancic tripled to start the seventh and she scored on an error.

    Russo led the Rangers at the plate with her 3-for-4 performance with two runs scored, two homers, and two RBI. Smith was 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored, and Dobida and Hall both finished with two hits. Lily Namestnik also had a hit for the Rangers.

    Dobida earned the pitching victory after allowing one unearned run on four hits with seven strikeouts.

    “The best part is, I think we kind of hit the valley or the low point over the weekend and then on Monday when we played two horrible games consecutively,” McPeek said. “We talked last night about controlling our own destiny because they really do at this point. They can still win the WRC, so it was nice to see them bounce back after having a couple of games we weren’t real happy with.”

    Summer Bliss recorded two of South’s four hits and she knocked in a run. Savannah Jolly had the other.

    Dichazy took the loss in the circle, but she held a potent lineup in check for most of the game.

    She allowed six runs on 13 hits and struck out four.

    “South does a nice job of coaching them up and they’re playing pretty well right now,” McPeek said. “Their pitcher did a nice job of keeping us off balance.”

    North hots Midview on Friday while South hosts Lakewood on Thursday.

     

     

     

    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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