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North softball gears up for playoffs

April 26, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The North Fort Myers Red Knights softball team enters the district playoffs this week as a top seed.

After a first-round bye, North will play the winner of the Cape Coral vs. Port Charlotte matchup tonight at home. The Cape/Port Charlotte contest was played Monday night.

The Red Knights wrapped up the regular season last Thursday in Punta Gorda, overcoming a 6-2, sixth-inning deficit to Charlotte to win 7-6 in nine innings to wrap up a 22-3 season.

Article Photos

The Charlotte baserunner slides underneath the tag of North Fort Myers third baseman Haley Weaver during a game last week.

CHUCK BALLARO

The Red Knights only losses were to Steinbrenner, Braden River and Estero, the latter two by one run.

They outscored their opponents 162-7 on the season, with 10 of their 12 wins by double digits. Only Port Charlotte was able to give them a game late, trailing 2-0 in the seventh before North blew the game open.

Jeff Minor, North head coach, said you may be able to knock them down, but keeping them down is a whole 'nother story.

"Our team has heart. They kept playing hard and we persevere. We made some great defensive plays and got clutch hitting," Minor said. "Charlotte played a great game and it was a matter of who was going to gut it out in the end."

"We underestimated them because we beat them early in the season. We realized they weren't playing around so we kicked it into high gear," said North's senior captain Summer Ackerson.

Trailing 6-2, North rallied to tie the game in the sixth on Shelby Coyne's RBI double, Haley Weaver's two-run double that was misplayed in the outfield and Natavia Ellis' RBI single.

The game went into extras, where starting pitcher McKenzie Peterson's RBI single brought home Ellis for the game-winning run. Emma Johnson came in to pitch and retired the side for the win.

Ackerson is especially looking forward to the tournament, and not just because she's a senior. She missed the last two postseason runs to injury. Last year she broke her arm and two years ago she had to undergo knee surgery.

"I'm finally going to get to play in the playoffs. It's been so emotional just watching," Ackerson said.

Minor said the Charlotte game was a learning experience for his team. Good teams can beat anybody.

"This game shows us we can't underestimate anyone. We need to play with better intensity early in the game," Minor said. "We tend to be sluggish early and Charlotte put a whooping to us early."

 
 

 

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