By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
NORTH PORT — Nadia Playter’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning scored Kylie Murray to give the North Port High School softball team a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over Bayshore at the Preserve in a non-district matchup Friday night.
The victory kept the Bobcats unbeaten at 3-0, who had to rally from three runs down against one of the better pitchers in the region in Bayshore’s Mim Schmoll. Some timely hitting and four Bruin errors helped their cause.
“That was a great game. We faced a top pitcher but we executed in the sixth inning and got the winning run across,” North Port coach Dennis Bell said. “We have a talented team. If we get down, we can bounce back.”
Murray led off the inning with a double over the center fielder’s head. After Ashley Nelson bunted her over, Playter hit a fly ball into shallow center field. Murray took off on the catch and was able to beat the throw home for the winning run.
Bayshore (0-1) put the leadoff batter on in the seventh, but a diving catch by second baseman Skylar Poitras and a double play ended the game.
It was a great ending to the game for North Port. The beginning? Not so much.
Bayshore struck for three runs in the first, highlighted by Schmoll’s RBI single. A throwing error scored the second run and the third came on an RBI grounder to short from Courtney Uelschi off North Port starter Ashley Nelson, who settled down after that.
Schmoll struck out 11 and allowed six hits and three walks, but ran into problems in the third, thanks to a pair of errors. Brianna Mitchell had an RBI single, with a throwing error leading to a second, as did Poitras to tie the game.
Nelson struck out nine, but left the game in the fifth after walking the bases loaded with two outs. Liberty Pence induced a grounder to end the threat and went the rest of the way to earn the win in relief.
“I was trying to help my team the best I can and throw strikes. I had my defense behind me and let them work,” Nelson said. “We all had energy and we kept fighting after we got down.”
Murray had two hits and a run. Poitras reached base three times and drove in a run for North Port.
Bayshore, which had three players who just joined the team following a deep run in the basketball season, got production from the top four hitters, while the 5-9 batters went 0-for-14 with 12 strikeouts. The Bruins got no hits after the first inning.
“We have one of the best pitchers around, but it’s going to be tough for her because we have a lot of new players,” said Bayshore coach Frank Luther. “There’s a lot of on-the-job training.”
NORTH PORT 4, BAYSHORE 3
Bayshore 300 000 0 – 3 2 4
North Port 003 001 x – 4 6 2
WP: Liberty Pence (1-0) LP: Mim Schmoll (0-1). Top hitters: Kylie Murray (NP) 2-4, 2B, R; Skylar Poitras (NP) 1-1, RBI; Mim Schmoll (B) 1-2, RBI, R. Records: North Port 3-0, Bayshore 0-1.