By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
NORTH PORT – The four seniors on the North Port softball team have certainly been through a lot in their four years at the school, and some of it wasn’t particularly great.
On Tuesday, they got to celebrate their final regular season home game in style, with all of them making a contribution in a 14-0 victory over Cape Coral on Senior Night.
Brianna Heider drove in three runs and got to return to her roots by pitching the final out of the game.
Brianna Mitchell went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, Taylor Koohns singled and scored and Skylar “Rudy” Poitras also scored a run to help the Bobcats, who put the game to bed with a nine-run fourth inning.
North Port coach Dennis Bell said it was more about the seniors than the game, which is how it should be on Senior Night.
“They deserve to go out like this. These four have meant a lot to this program and I’m happy to see them go out this way,” Bell said. “They score the runs and hit the ball. I’m very proud of them.”
For the seniors, before there was the success of this year, there was an awful lot of losing. Despite that, they all hung tough and were rewarded with a better than expected season.
For Koohns, as it is with most seniors, its bittersweet.
“It was an amazing game, but it’s also heartbreaking that I have to leave the girls I love on this team,” Koohns said. “We came together our junior and senior years and made a great team.”
Heider was the team’s starting pitcher for two years before becoming a utility player this season.
“It was interesting. I knew my role. Anywhere the coach put me, I would play,” Heider said. “Our first two years we didn’t really know the upperclassmen, but this year we were able to jell.”
Poitras says the players’ relationship with one another is a big reason for their success this season.
“Because we know each other on the field so much, we play as one. Coach Bell has been the biggest influence on me because he makes it more fun to play here,” Poitras said.
Mitchell said she would miss the friendships she’s made, with her greatest memories being more off the field than on.
“It was all the times we bonded and how we came together and forgot about all the drama in life and went with the flow,” Mitchell said.
Liberty Pence improved to 7-4 on the season with four shutout innings and helped herself at the plate with a two-run single.
Katelyn Nelson had two of the four hits for Cape Coral, which committed six errors.
NORTH PORT 14, CAPE CORAL 0
Cape Coral 000 00 – 0 4 6
North Port 203 9x – 14 11 2
WP: Liberty Pence. LP: Allysa Meliaci. Top hitters: (NP) Brianna Mitchell 3-4, 2 R, RBI; Brianna Heider 2-3, 3 RBI, R. Records: North Port 14-8, Cape Coral 6-15.