North sophomore Taylor Bard threw a complete game in leading North to a 14-6 win at Kenston in a Western Reserve Conference showdown on Friday.
Bard allowed six runs on 13 hits in picking up her third win of the season.
“It was a lot of fun,” Bard said. “I was happy to give it all for my teammates and grind out a win.”
Bard allowed one run in the first, two in the fourth, and three in the sixth.
“I used several pitches, but ball speed and movement helped me secure a lot of groundball outs that my defense helped me pick up,” she said. “My catcher also called a great game and mixed up different pitches that came to work in different scenarios. Trusting my defense helped me stay focused.”
North led 8-1 heading into the fourth which allowed head coach Matt McPeek to empty his bench.
“It was big for Taylor,” McPeek said. “She got a little tired at the end and left some things up in the zone and maybe lost a few ticks on the speedometer but she pitched very well. We got a lot of the starters out of there about halfway through and we should have closed out with the subs but we just didn’t do it. We let them hang around there a little bit at the end.”
The Rangers took control of the game with three runs in the top of the first inning.
Breonna Preston led off with a single, stole second, and scored on Lily Namestnik’s double. Olivia Augusta reached on an error and Namestnik scored on Maddie Russo’s ground out. Dori Siekaniec then reached on an error that allowed Augusta to score.
A leadoff walk and a single allowed Kenston to cut North’s lead to 3-1 in the bottom half of the inning.
North added five runs in the third.
Alyssa McPeek was hit by a pitch and then Namestnik, Olivia Augusta, Russo, Siekaniec, and Juliana Augusta each hit a single. Autumn Fester walked in the inning.
The Rangers added two runs in the fourth on singles by Namestnik and Olivia Augusta and one in the fifth on a solo home run from Juliana Augusta.
Namestnik reached on an error and singled in North’s three-run sixth. Olivia Augusta, Siekaniec, and Fester also singled in the inning.
Namestnik finished the game 4-for-5 with four runs scored and two RBI. Olivia Augusta, Siekaniec, and Juliana Augusta each added two hits and Juliana Augusta led the Rangers with three RBI.
North’s offensive production allowed Bard to settle in and pitch her game.
“It helped me tremendously,” she said. “Having a big lead allowed me to settle in and relax on the mound. As the game went on, I felt more comfortable because my teammates had my back.”
North hosts Massillon Perry Gold in a doubleheader on Saturday.