North scored 11 runs in the final three innings to beat host Wickliffe on Monday, 14-6.
With the score tied 3-3 after three innings, the Rangers scored three runs in the fifth and sixth innings and added five more in the seventh to seal the win in their season opener.
“It was exciting to see the girls back in action,” said North coach Taylor Braddock. “It was a long time coming and just being back on the field means so much to us coaches and the girls.”
Adri George opened the game with a single and Dori Siekaniec reached on an error. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch and George scored on a Juliana Augusta sacrifice fly. Hailie Wilson followed with a sac fly that scored Siekaniec, which gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead after the first half-inning.
In the second, Emily Zaleski hit a one-out single and scored and Maddie Cicero’s single to push the North lead to 3-0.
Wickliffe scored two runs in the bottom of the second when Abby Schneider led off with a double and scored on Mackenzie Gazdak’s single. Gazdak later scored on a groundout.
The Blue Devils tied the game up with one run in the bottom of the third on back-to-back singles by Laylah Ruscin and Mia Welms. Ruscin scored on Schneider’s groundout.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Rangers went to work in the fifth.
“After the game was tied up, we told the girls to buckle down and have quality at bats,” Braddock said. “The girls that took the walks and passed the bat started our rally. Once we finally had girls passing the bats, that’s where the big hits and runs came from.”
Juliana Augusta drew a leadoff walk to start the fifth and then Olivia Augusta hit a one-out single to put Rangers at first and second. Zaleski then hit a two-out single that scored Juliana Augusta. Alyssa McPeek cleared the bases with a triple.
As they did in the fifth, the Rangers scored three runs on two outs in the sixth.
Juliana Augusta drew a two-out walk and scored on Hailie Wilson’s triple. Olivia Augusta reached on an error that Wilson scored on to push the North lead to 8-3. Augusta then stole second, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored on an error.
Wickliffe scored three runs on a pair of hits and two errors in the bottom of the sixth to cut North’s lead to 9-6.
The Rangers batted around the order in the seventh.
Cicero and George opened the frame with back-to-back walks and then Siekaniec singled home Cicero. Juliana Augusta then hit an RBI single and Wilson reached on an error. Olivia Augusta drew a bases-loaded walk and Zaleski reached on an error that scored the final two runs of the game.
“Our offense made the adjustments they needed too early in the game,” Braddock said. “We want them to attack the ball and I think they’re doing a better job at it. We hit a lot of solid shots right at the defense, but then they began to fall and we scored runs.”
Wilson and Zaleski both finished with two hits. Zaleski posted a team-best three runs batted in while Juliana Augusta, Wilson, and McPeek all finished with two RBI.
Olivia Augusta picked up the pitching victory after throwing 6 1/3 innings. She allowed five earned runs on five hits and struck out five. Amanda Dobida closed out the game. She allowed one hit and struck out one of the four batters she faced.