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North opens postseason with a bang

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No. 5 North opened the postseason with a dominating 26-0 win over No. 12 Shaw in a sectional semifinal on Tuesday.

With the win, the Rangers advance to a Division I sectional championship game at No. 4 Chardon on Wednesday. The Hilltoppers swept the Rangers in both Western Reserve Conference games this season.

“It was important to give us a good start in the playoffs to give us some confidence going into Chardon,” said junior catcher Mikaela Fording, who was 4-for-5 at the plate with three runs batted in and a pair of doubles. “Losing to Chardon the past couple of times gets us excited to get one more try to go at them with everything we have.”

In her last six games, Fording is batting .609 (14-for-23) with seven doubles, three home runs and 13 runs batted in.

“At the plate, I always keep in the back of my head that there isn’t much time left in this season,” she said. “I owe it to my coaches and teammates to give it my all, 100-percent of the time, because it could all be over this week. I want to do my best for them and give them the season we deserve.”

She wasn’t the only Ranger to find success at the plate.

Alyssa Robinson was 3-for-3 with three runs batted in and her second home run of the season. Katie Rosin and Sam Szoradi both had a pair of hits for the Rangers.

North pounded out 17 hits in the win while freshman Kirsten Luksic held the Cardinals without even one in her second outing of the season.

The only Shaw batter to reach base safely did so on a third inning error as Luksic mowed down nine in her five-inning shutout.

“My fastball was working well,” Luksic said. “I was a little shaky with hitting my spots at first but I got better as the game went on. My drop-curve came in handy as well. My confidence is growing thanks to my teammates and my coaches.”

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