North used an 11-run sixth inning to pull away from host Brush in a 20-5 win in the Western Reserve Conference opener for both teams on Wednesday.
The Rangers led 9-4 before capitalizing on seven free passes issued by Arcs pitching in the sixth.
“The last two years we’ve come home from Myrtle (Beach), we’ve lost our first conference game,” North coach Taylor Braddock said. “I stressed to the girls how important the first win, especially a conference win, is to start the season.”
North jumped on the Arcs in the top of the second when Kirsten Luksic, Hannah Harris, Hailie Wilson and Juliana Augusta each singled and scored to lead off the inning.
Madie Cicero also had a single in the frame.
The Rangers added two more in the third on a single by Luksic and a triple by Harris and a single by Augusta, who later scored on Adri George’s fielder’s choice.
Brush pulled to within 6-4 after the fourth but the Rangers tacked on three more in the fifth.
Olivia Augusta reached on an error and Ashlee Kronik singled. George then hit a one-out single to make it 7-4 and two runs scored when Jess Dodd reached on an error.
“The girls knew going up to the plate they needed to get their hit and pass the bat,” Braddock said. “(Brush pitcher) Taelor Lester is a good pitcher and after the first two innings, our girls made the adjustment they needed to and hit the ball where it was pitched. Clutch hitting is contagious. We found the holes and capitalized on all of it.”
Luksic shut down the Arcs in the bottom of the fifth and North sent 16 different batters to the plate off Brush’s relief pitcher in the sixth.
The Arcs added a run in the bottom of the inning but couldn’t cut prevent the run-rule from cutting the game short.
Eight different Rangers finished the game with two hits and Emily Zaleski and George both knocked in three runs.
The Rangers, who outhit the Arcs 19-9, collected four extra-base hits in the win.
Luksic picked up the pitching win after allowing three earned runs and fanning seven.
“Kirsten pitched a great game,” Braddock said. “She hit her spots and trusted her defense to make the plays behind her. Being a senior, she knows what it takes to win games and she pitches that way.”