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North rips Lely in Region 6A-3 softball playoffs

May 10, 2019
By PETE SISK ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

North Fort Myers softball coach Jeff Miner was hoping for a fast start. He didn't get it.

Things worked out pretty well anyway.

The Red Knights (19-10) opened Region 6A-3 playoff competition Wednesday with a weather-delayed 14-4 victory against Lely at Bobbie Dewey Field.

Article Photos


North Fort Myers sophomore Taylor Rosciti (25) takes a big swing during the Red Knights’ Region 6A-3 quarterfinal win against Lely, Wednesday night. To view more photos from the game, see the Cape Coral Breeze Facebook page.

Miner was happy, and unhappy, with Wednesday's performance. The final result was fine, no doubt, but he thought his team lacked the sense of urgency the playoffs require.

"Outstanding; however," Miner said. "We hit the ball well. We pitched OK, not great.

"What I'm concerned with is our energy. We've got to play with more energy. We've got to have more zest for wanting to play this game.

"I think once we do that, we'll become a better team."

Next up for North Fort Myers is a May 14 rematch with archrival Mariner, which traveled down to Immokalee on Wednesday and came home with a 2-1 win in their playoff opener.

It will be the fourth meeting between the two teams. North holds a 2-1 lead so far, including a 6-4, nine-inning battle last week for the District 6A-11 title.

The fourth meeting will be the biggest, and last, of the season. At stake is a berth in the Region 6A-3 final.

North Fort Myers will be the home team for Tuesday's showdown.

Lely took a 1-0 lead on the first two at-bats of the game, but North came back with three runs in the bottom of the first. Following an hour-plus lightning and rain delay, the Trojans scored three times to lead 4-3 in the middle of the third inning.

From there on out, it was all North. The Red Knights sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the third, scoring nine times for a 12-4 lead. Two more came across for the Red Knights in the fourth.

Needing three outs to end the game, North made it more interesting that Miner might have liked. The first two runners reached, advancing to second and third with no outs.

Reliever Sydney Morris, who had come in to start the fifth inning, struck out the next batter. Then Emma Johnson, who had moved from pitcher to first base, recorded the final two outs on a pop-up and an infield grounder, tagging the runner.

The rain delay came at a bad time for Johnson, who had just recorded her fourth consecutive strikeout to open the third inning. When she got back in the circle an hour-plus later, the first three Trojans reached and scored. An outfield error with two on turned Bianca Palacios' single into a trip around the bases.

It wasn't just the play in the field when the game resumed that bothered Miner.

"No excuses," Miner said. "What concerns me is, when we come out, instead of hustle, I'm waiting for four players in our dugout to get their shoes on.

"You know. It's just kids in general. I just want to get moving a little bit quicker."

Finding themselves down 4-3, their second deficit of the game, the Red Knights put the game away in the bottom of the third. There was some good offense in the nine-run outburst, but also four Lely errors and three walks. Two of those walks came with the bases loaded to force in North runs.

"Our kids responded well after getting down a run," Miner said.

Morris had a two-run single and an RBI walk in the long inning, with Taylor Rosciti, Johnson, Sarah Giompalo, Aleis Morris and Kirsten Gnagey drove in runs. Ryleigh Poklemba also picked up an RBI with a bases-loaded walk.

Eight times a North batter reached base on a walk Wednesday night. Four would score.

Johnson pitched four innings, striking out the side in the second and fourth innings. She had seven strikeouts in all, while allowing three hits and two walks. Two of the four runs Johnson allowed were unearned.

Johnson also gave her team quite a scare. Up to bat in the first inning, she took a pitch to the face. After checking her for concussion symptoms, Johnson was allowed to continue.

"They played hard, Lely played hard," Miner said. "That leadoff hitter (Olivia Hamilton, who tripled, walked, singled and scored twice), what an athlete she is. She hit the ball well and stung the ball against us.

"And they came back and took the lead on us."

Mariner 2, Immokalee 1: Hannah Holloway struck out 15 batters for the Tritons (20-8), including the final Immokalee batter of the night. Holloway held the Indians to six hits, and Immokalee's lone run was unearned. Mariner needed a big night from Holloway, with Immokalee freshman pitcher Ava Nunez holding the Tritons to four hits. Delicia Bent had two hits, including a solo homer, and scored both Mariner runs. Laila Jones also had two hits.


Class 4A region semifinals

West Palm Beach King's Academy at Bishop Verot (n)

Oasis at West Palm Beach Oxford Academy (n)


District 6A-11 championship

Island Coast at Mariner (n)

District 4A-5 championship

Sarasota Cardinal Mooney at Bishop Verot (n)



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