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North softball continues to roll

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Mar 31, 2021

North Fort Myers senior Kirsten Gnagey (9) hit two triples during the Red Knights' 16-0 win over Mariner Tuesday night. To view more photos from the game, see the Cape Coral Breeze Facebook page. MICHAEL PISTELLA, MPISTELLA@BREEZENEWSPAPERS.COM

news@breezenewspapers.com

When a really good young softball player decides on what high school she wants to attend, she often picks one with a successful program. And for the past several years, one of those schools has been North Fort Myers High.

Because of School Choice, students have the option of ranking the schools they would like to attend. North Fort Myers, thanks to its reputation of having a good softball program, often lands some of the top players.

This year with a good mix of seniors and underclassmen, it has resulted in yet another solid season for North, which would be even better if Fort Myers weren’t on their schedule.

The Green Wave have given North both its losses, including a 3-2 verdict on March 13, just before spring break. But North came back from the layoff in prime form, winning three games, two against rival Mariner.

North softball coach Jeff Miner said the team has played well and has been resilient as several players have been dealing with injuries.

“We’ve been able to put kids in different positions and they don’t complain a bit. They do whatever they have to do to help the team,” Miner said. “We need to figure out a way to beat Fort Myers. We may play them in the regional tournament.”

The bats lit up on Tuesday, lashing out 16 hits in two innings on a team that has a .345 batting average and averages more than nine runs per game.

Sophomore Desirae Devine leads off this powerful lineup, using her good batting eye and speed to score quick runs.

It’s usually senior Taylor Rosciti who brings her home with her .515 batting average, and sophomore starting pitcher Kendall Wylie, who has overcome a slow start in the circle to join with Sydney Morris to form a tough pitching staff.

“We’ve been working hard on and off the field with academics. We’ve been doing well on offense and defense,” Wylie said. “We’re always good because Coach Miner is a great coach and he teaches us the fundamentals. People see good players and they want to play here.”

Seniors Kristen Gnagey, Alexis Morris and Sydney Morris power the lineup, with the three leading the team in RBI.

Gnagey said her four years with the program has shown the team can bring in players regardless of what year they’re in and produce.

“It’s just hard work. As a senior I have to make sure the younger ones come in knowing what’s expected,” Gnagey said. “We’re determined. We’ve never beaten Fort Myers in my time here, but we’re good in the dugout, cheering each other on and picking each other up.”

“The philosophy is not to rebuild, but reload. We get the kids who play travel ball and we’ll get two or three kids every year, which makes a tremendous difference,” Miner said. “With how we have done in the past, a lot of kids want to come here to play.”