SOFTBALL: North Port continues to roll in win over Booker

By Bruce Robins, Sun Correspondent

NORTH PORT  The North Port softball team overcame another slow Monday start and went on to defeat Booker 12-2 in a non-district matchup.
The Bobcats found themselves trailing the Tornadoes 2-1 after two innings, but eventually took advantage of a slew of Booker mistakes to end the game in the bottom of the fifth inning.
North Port had only six hits, but Booker pitcher Jesse McCrea walked 12 and hit a batter. Booker also committed four costly errors.
“I was kind of worried at the beginning, we came out flat,” Bobcats coach Dennis Bell said. “I don’t know if we were looking past them at all, but we got it together in the third inning and started putting some hits together. It also helped that they couldn’t find the strike zone for a little bit.”
Booker got a run in the first off North Port starter Nadia Playter on double by TT Smith, a stolen base and a wild pitch. But the Bobcats evened it up in the bottom of the frame as Kylie Murray led off with a walk, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Taylor Koohns.
The Tornadoes (2-5) went back in front in the top of the second on a hit batter, two singles and a walk by Kacey Garrison.  North Port left two runners on in the bottom of the inning, but finally went ahead in the third with a four run rally.
Ashley Nelson led off with a walk and Playter reached on an error by Booker left fielder Jada Saunders. Koohns drove in Nelson with a base hit to tie the score and Brianna Mitchell and Skylar Poitras followed with singles to drive in Playter and pinch-runner Kamryn Nazario. Mitchell scored on a throwing error by catcher Mackenzie Everhart after Brianna Heider had drawn a walk to give the Bobcats a 5-2 lead.
North Port pushed across the necessary seven runs to open up a 10-run lead and invoke the mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth inning. There were six walks, a hit batter, two Booker errors and two Bobcat singles in the inning. It was somewhat fitting that the game ended when Mitchell drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the final run. It was one of three bases-loaded walks in the inning.
Meanwhile, Playter gave up two runs on six hits, walked two and struck out two in her three innings of work. Nelson came in and pitched two scoreless innings to pick up the win.
“Nadia hasn’t had too much experience,” Bell said. “She’s a freshman as well. That was her first start of the season. She got the jitters and nerves out tonight. Ashley came in and shut the door like we expected her to do.”
The Bobcats improved to 6-1 and will host Southeast on Wednesday night.
“We looked like we did against DeSoto last Monday night,” Bell said, referring to the Bobcats only loss of the season.  “But they came out and took care of business, that’s all I can say. They know they need to come out with a fire lit. Maybe I shouldn’t schedule Mondays anymore.”
NORTH PORT 12, BOOKER 2
Booker 110 00x x – 2 7 4
North Port 104 07x x – 12 6 0
WP: Ashley Nelson.  LP: Jesse McCrae.  Leading hitters: Taylor Koohns (NP) 3-4, 2B, 3 RBI; Skylar Poitras (NP) 2-2, run, RBI; Brianna Mitchell (NP) 1-1, 3 BB, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Mila Morrow (B)  2-2.

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