PERRYVILLE, Mo. – Six starting seniors from the North County softball lineup left the field disappointed following a performance riddled with miscues on Thursday night.
Perryville maximized team speed, timely hitting and efficient pitching from Makayla Brown to reach the Class 3, District 1 championship game on its home field in an 11-0 blowout.
Katie Roberts went 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored as the Pirates (19-8) advanced to meet top seed Notre Dame in a rematch on Friday after beating the Bulldogs last week.
Perryville grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning, and stamped the outcome early by sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring seven times in the second.
The devastating rally began with a bobbled ground ball at shortstop, but North County had multiple chances to minimize the damage for starting pitcher Kiersdan Davis.
Two ensuing ground balls could have resulted in routine throws to first base, but neither produced an out. Kaylin Schuessler reached safely on a hurried throw to Emilie Morgan, who was several feet away from second base while Brianna Morgan was already covering the bag.
No. 9 batter Kyla Laurentius followed with a bases-loaded, two-run double to left-center, and later ripped a triple to right while going 2-for-3 overall.
Ann-Marie Simpson and Roberts chased Davis with RBI singles through the left side, and both would eventually slide across the plate on wild pitches.
Brooke Huber beat a late return throw to the plate for a 9-0 margin after Brittanie Stewart intentionally put herself in a rundown between first and second to entice the initial toss.
Brown cruised through a five-inning four-hitter with six strikeouts and no walks allowed, facing just three batters above the minimum.
The Lady Raiders (17-7) offered one formidable scoring threat that ultimately fizzled in the fourth. It began with a leadoff double to left-center by Cheyenne Dickens.
She stopped at third on a single by Emma Becker, then broke too late toward the plate and was tagged out after a kicked ball in left field was quickly recovered for a strong throw home.
Becker moved to third on a ground ball, but Brown stranded her there by fanning Emma Keen. Jill Wruck had the Lady Raiders’ only other hit along the infield during the fifth.
Simpson caught two sharp liners from Emilie Morgan and Brianna Morgan in center, and Taizja Lawless was retired on a flare to second base after facing seven pitches in the third.
Becker finished 2-for-2 in her final varsity game, and will leave North County as one of the most prolific power hitters and most decorated players in program history.
Dickens replaced Davis in the circle, and yielded two earned runs on three hits over the last four frames. She shined during a stretch of six consecutive strikeouts, and tallied nine of them overall.
Roberts scored on a fielder’s choice after her strikeout on a pitch in the dirt was thrown away in the fourth, and delivered an RBI single in the top fifth.
Simpson was 2-for-4 with three runs scored as Perryville notched its ninth victory in a row.
North County dropped a fifth consecutive district opener, and suffered its first shutout loss this season.
Six of the eight runs charged to Davis were unearned.