By Gary Brown, Sun Correspondent
NORTH PORT – For a while Friday night, it looked as if North Port’s softball team would come away with a victory against District 7A-11 favorite Fort Myers. But the Green Wave scored eight runs in the top of the fifth inning to erase a 2-1 deficit to roll to an 11-2 victory.
Sophomore Vivian Ponn belted two home runs in the fifth inning for the Green Wave — a solo shot and a three-run blast. She also had two singles in the contest and finished with four RBI.
“That was the turning point,” North Port coach Dennis Bell said. “We were hanging right there with them for four innings and (starting pitcher) Ashley (Nelson) was doing a really good job.”
Fort Myers sent 11 batters to the plate in the fifth inning for those eight runs before adding runs in the sixth and seventh.
Ponn also was the starting pitcher for the Green Wave. She went 3 2/3 innings before being relieved by junior Hannah Perkins.
“They put in their pitching ace (Perkins),” said Bell. “And she did the job.”
Perkins struck out seven pitchers the rest of the way as the Bobcats could not mount rally.
North Port opened the game with a run in the top of the first inning. Nelson singled and then scored on Taylor Koohns’ single. Fort Myer scored the tying run in the fourth on a walk, single and sacrifice fly.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, the Bobcats scored the go-ahead run when Brianna Heider reached first on a throwing error and then scored on another throwing error.
But that was all the offense the Bobcats could muster the rest of the game.
North Port finished with four hits and the Green Wave had 12 hits. Koohns had a double and single to lead the North Port attack. Nelson pitched five innings, belted a hit and scored a run.
Before their fifth inning rally, Fort Myers stranded seven base runners in the first three innings.
Fort Myers finishes the district schedule undefeated and will be the No. 1 seed for the District 7A-11 Tournament. North Port finishes 2-4 along with Charlotte and Venice, forcing a tiebreaker amongst three teams for seeds two through four. Those three teams will pull names out of a hat to determine the matchups.
FORT MYERS 11, NORTH PORT 2
Fort Myers 000 181 1 – 11 12 2
North Port 100 100 0 – 2 4 1
WP: Hannah Perkins. LP: Ashley Nelson. Leading hitters: (FM) Vivian Ponn 4-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R; Perkins 2-4, 2 R, BB; (NP) Taylor Koohns 2-3, 2B. Records: Fort Myers (21-2, 6-0), North Port (12-8, 2-4).