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North Miami knocks off Oak Hill in extras

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HAMMER: North Miami freshman Taylor Tinney capped off a five-run third inning with a two-run home run to give the team a three-run lead over Oak Hill during Tuesday night’s softball season opener. Tinney drove in three runs, including the game-winner in the ninth inning, in the 9-8 victory over the Golden Eagles.
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Slide: North Miami sophomore Maryann Freeman (C) slides into third base on a steal attempt during the third inning of Tuesday night’s game against Oak Hill. Freeman drove in a run and had several good defensive plays in the Warrior’s 9-8 win over the Golden Eagles.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

MIER – Bailey Toy had North Miami’s number last year, giving up four total runs in two softball games during the 2017 season.

Tuesday night, the Warriors had Toy’s number, scoring five runs in the third inning and another run in the fourth but despite holding a 7-3 lead, the visitors were unable to hold onto the lead as the Golden Eagles tied the game in the seventh inning

Two runs in the ninth inning was just enough for North Miami to get the win in the end, despite a late rally from the hosts, taking a 9-8 victory in the season opener for the team.

Warrior head coach Rob Cooley said the team played very well after finally being able to take the field for the first time this year.

“It was kind of exciting and nerve-racking for this early in the season,” Cooley said. “I was impressed with how we put the ball in play.

“We fell behind early, put some runs on the board and saw a lot of good things. Our communication was awesome, the two freshmen we had played well and we’re impressed with what we say today.”

The second game of the season for the Golden Eagles started off on the right foot when Coleena Selleck reached on an error in left field and Jenessa Hasty gave the hosts a 2-0 lead with a home run to left center field.

North Miami had runners in scoring position in the first two innings but Toy was able to dodge any trouble.

That would not be the case in the third inning.

Jada Laycock singled to start the inning and moved to second on a sac bunt from Bailey Keim.

Marlie Halterman drew a walk and stole second before Maryann Freeman singled in the first run for the Warriors.

Hannah Hall was next to drive in a run with single, a passed ball allowed for the runners to move up and Ashley Lackman grounded to second base to score the third run of the inning.

Taylor Tinney provided the big bat with a two-run home run that made the score 5-2.

“The girls responded well,” Cooley said after giving up the first two runs. “The girls weren’t worried about falling behind early.”

Hasty scored in the bottom half of the inning after reaching on a double, taking third base and scoring on Kaela Robey’s grounder to second.

Toy looked to have settled down in the fourth, getting the first two batters of the inning to ground out but was stung again when Keim singled and Halterman doubled to make the score 6-3.

The junior exited and freshman Gosnell took over in the circle, giving up a single to Freeman but inducing a ground ball to end the threat at 7-3.

Cooley said the team had been swinging the bats well at practice and carried that work over in to Tuesday’s game.

“The girls have hit well in the cage over the last two weeks and they’re buying into line-drive hitting,” Cooley said. “The girls were fundamentally sound at the plate today.”

Oak Hill did not go away, however, getting both runs back in the bottom of the inning.

Kristin Dubois led off with a double, Gosnell drew a walk and Abigail Shaw drove in a run with a single, moving Gosnell to third where a passed ball would allow her to score and make the score 7-5.

After a scoreless fifth inning, Oak Hill pulled another run back as Selleck drew a walk and scored when, after looking to steal second, the throw to the bag came off of the right fielder’s foot and into the outfield.

Hasty also drew a walk and made it to third base but a grounder to Halterman at first base ended the threat.

Still trailing 7-6 heading into the seventh, the Golden Eagles looked down and out after two quick outs and Ella Ridgeway’s grounder to short looked to be the final play of the game.

Ridgeway beat out the throw and Gosnell came up with the goods at the plate, driving Ridgeway in to tie the game at 7-7.

Extra softball was required as Gosnell continued to shut down the North Miami offense with Cooley impressed with what she offered.

“The ball came out of (Gosnell’s) hand in a different spot and it took some time for the girls to pick it up,” Cooley pointed out. “She had a very good change-up that fooled a couple of our batters.”

With the top of the order coming up, Oak Hill looked to be in a great spot to win the game.

Instead, Ashley Lackman shut down Selleck, Hasty and Robey in short order, sending the game to the ninth inning.

The Warriors finally cracked the Gosnell code as Hall singled, Lackman doubled and Tinney singled to retake the lead at 9-7.

Ashlyn Transier was able to draw a walk to start the bottom of the ninth and when Korinne Perkins beat out a fielder’s choice, the Golden Eagles had two on with no one out.

Dubois struck out, as did Ridgeway, but a wild pitch allowed the runners to move to second and third.

It was there that Johnson had Lizzie Wood pinch run for Perkins as the chance to tie the game with a base hit loomed large.

Gosnell nearly pulled off another save, beating out an infield single to plate Transier.

Wood, however, continued around third trying to score and Halterman was able to get the ball to catcher Allie Miller in time for a tag out to end the game.

Despite going into extra innings, Cooley said the girls remained calm and expected to pull out the win.

“The girls were pretty confident going into extra innings,” Cooley said. “They weren’t overexcited and supported Ashley to get out of the inning,”

North Miami faced Northwestern Wednesday night and has Thursday off before facing Western on Friday and a double-header with Morgan Township and Pioneer Saturday.

Cooley said the girls were in a good spot to handle the workload and expected new faces to see time on the field in the next few games.

“The girls will hold up well,” Cooley said. “We have some girls we want to get out on the field and evaluate at different spots.

“The off day will help Thursday and they’ll be able to play the five games pretty well.”

At Oak Hill

North Miami 005 200 002 — 9 14 4

Oak Hill 201 201 101 — 8 8 2

WP — Lackman (1-0)

LP — Gosnell (0-1)

HR — Tinney (1); Hasty (1)

2B — Halterman, Lackman;

RBI — Tinney (3), Lackman (2), Halterman, Freeman, Hall; Hasty (2), Gosnell (2), Robey, Shaw

Next Game: North Miami (1-0) hosts Western Friday at 5 p.m.