By Bruce Robins, Sun Correspondent
NORTH PORT — North Port’s softball team completed the first week of its regular season with a 3-0 record, including a victory over Class 5A state finalist Bayshore.
Week 2 didn’t get off to a very good start, however, as the Bobcats dropped a 5-1 decision to DeSoto County Monday night.
The Bulldogs’ Hannah England pitched a complete game, allowing only four hits while sparking the DeSoto offense with two hits of her own.
North Port coach Dennis Bell said the Bobcats just came out flat.
“You can’t do that against DeSoto,” Bell said. “Coach Jeter had his girls ready to play. For some reason, I don’t know if our girls took it for granted with the hot start we had. We played a great game Friday, and it’s hard to believe they’d come out and be as flat as they were today, but it happens.”
England and North Port starter Liberty Pence matched blanks for the first three innings until England led off the top of the fourth with a single. Catcher Alyssa Hairston followed with a double off the left field fence, scoring courtesy runner Allison Bordner from first. Hairston scored from third on a squeeze bunt by Michaela Cross to make it 2-0.
DeSoto added another run in the sixth as England doubled with one out. Bordner, again running for England, went to third on a single by Cross, and the Bobcats appeared to have Cross caught in a rundown between first and second. But first baseman Nadia Playter was unable to handle the throw and Bordner came home on the error.
The Bulldogs (2-1) got their final two runs in the top of the seventh on a double by Desarae Omar, a bunt single by Dekoda Johnson, a throwing error, and a single by Malyssa Jeter.
North Port loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh on a single by Cortney Senna, an error and a walk. After Senna was forced at the plate, Kamryn Nazario delivered a fly ball to right, and Brianna Mitchell scored on an errant throw by Cross, spoiling the DeSoto shutout.
Bell said England did a good job keeping the Bobcats hitters off balance.
“She worked in and out. We just didn’t have an approach going to the plate tonight,” Bell said. “We were trying to swing for the fence. We have power, but the girls have to find it within themselves not to overdo it.
“I had a couple of girls squeezing the bat a little too tight and wanting to do something with the ball that they probably couldn’t.”
It will be a short turnaround for North Port, as the Bobcats will host Lemon Bay at 1 p.m. today.
“The bad thing is that we lost, but the good thing is that we get to do it again tomorrow,” Bell said. “Hopefully the girls think about what happened tonight and try and keep that from happening again tomorrow.”
DESOTO COUNTY 5, NORTH PORT 1
DeSoto 000 201 2 — 5 8 2
North Port 000 000 1 — 1 4 2
WP: Hannah England; LP: Liberty Pence. Leading hitters: (D) England 2-4, 2B; Alyssa Hairston 1-3, 2B, RBI; (NP) Ashley Nelson 2-3.