BG’s North shuts down, shuts out Fliers
Freshman Bobcat pitcher strikes out 11 in victory
GENOA — On a day of offensive struggles, Clyde had almost exactly what it wanted in the bottom of the fifth.
Clyde was trailing Bowling Green 1-0, and had managed only two hits against Bobcats freshman hurler Alexa North.
But Kylie Kantu reached on an error, Delaney Gill had an infield hit and Kendall Bailey walked.
That brought up the Fliers’ best hitter, Murissa Drown.
It was, without question, the pivotal moment of Saturday’s Division II district final.
“We had our best player up,” said Clyde coach Marc Marshall. “Unfortunately, the pitcher won that time.”
North struck out Drown swinging, one of 11 punchouts she recorded in BG’s 4-0 win.
“Murissa’s been in that situation many times before, and she’s come out on top,” Marshall said. “It’s exactly what we wanted … we get a base hit there, now it’s maybe 2-1. Changes the complexion of the game.”
North allowed just three singles in the win.
“I could tell that she trusted all her pitches today,” said Bowling Green catcher Katie Devine, “and it really helped to bring us more strikes and more weak hits on the field.”
Clyde didn’t have many opportunities. In the first, the Fliers put two on with one out, but North worked out of it. Other than that and the fifth, the Fliers never managed more than one baserunner in an inning.
“She’s a very good pitcher,” Marshall said. “We saw them against Maumee on Wednesday, and we had two days to work on it, Thursday and Friday. We didn’t work hard enough, I guess.”
Meanwhile, Clyde pitcher Hunter Schwochow was strong as well, with the Bobcats collecting a couple big hits.
In the second with the game scoreless, Bowling Green got singles from Quinn Beeker and Mikaela Boston. With two out, Erin Spangenberg slapped a single to left, driving in a run.
Schwochow then kept the Bobcats off the board for the next four innings, escaping a bases loaded, one-out jam in the fifth by getting Beeker to ground into a double play.
But in the sixth, the Bobcats threatened again, getting three singles to load the bases with one down.
Once again, it looked like Schwochow might escape. She fanned Beeker to bring up BG’s Mackenna Fry.
To that point, Fry was 0 for 2 with a walk.
“Mackenna is a freshman that has been clutch,” said Bowling Green coach Shawn Watson. “She’ll struggle, struggle, struggle, and then all of the sudden, the situation comes up, bases loaded, two out.”
Fry clobbered a pitch to deep center. It cleared the bases, and Fry had a triple.
“When they put up a 4-spot like that, that’s gonna be pretty tough,” Marshall said.
Still, the coach praised Schwochow, one of the squad’s seniors.
“She just battles,” Marshall said. “She is an example of what our softball program is. We’re just gonna battle. We may not be the biggest, we may not be the fastest, but we’re just gonna try to battle, and we’re gonna do everything we can. That’s exactly what she’s done for four years.”
Then North finished the game in the bottom half of the inning.
Clyde dropped to 22-3. Bowling Green (18-7) will go to the regional at Tiffin University, where it will play the No. 1 team in the state, LaGrange Keystone at 2 p.m. Wednesday.