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North East beats Harford Tech in opening round of softball playoffs

Harford Tech head coach Brian Reider, standing at right, talks with his team after Monday's loss to North East.
Harford Tech head coach Brian Reider, standing at right, talks with his team after Monday's loss to North East. (Randy McRoberts)

North East pitcher Alesia Doctor shut down host Harford Tech on three hits Monday as the Indians defeated the Cobras, 9-1, in an Class 2A East, Region I softball playoff quarterfinal.

Doctor walked four batters and hit another, but she struck out 15. The allowed run was unearned.

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The Indians (8-9) will visit Fallston (11-6) in today’s (Wednesday) region semifinal.

“I think we were confident, but they had a great season, I think they were 11-7 and I told my kids don’t overlook them,” first year Indians head coach Carly DiVirgilio said. “We’re up and down and I said, keep your weight back, you can hit them. Be confident, not cocky.”

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North East scored multiple runs in four innings, starting with a pair of unearned runs in the first inning. The Indians scored three more in the third for a 5-0 lead.

Freshman Reagan Hassell belted a two-run home run in the fifth inning and finished the game 3-3 with three RBIs.

The Indians added their final two runs in the seventh inning. Two Tech errors resulted in a sacrifice fly from Megan Harris and Hassell’s final RBI. Harris was 3-3 with an RBI.

While Doctor was dominating the Tech lineup, sophomore Lacey Swart seemed to figure her out. Swart did strike out to begin the game, but she put together three hits in her next three at bats to lead the Cobras (11-8) offense.

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“I’m not use to hitting leadoff, so I was a little nervous, but a lot of the coaching helps, the hitting practice, that helped me a lot,” Swart said. “I’ve had a lot to work on in a short amount of time to get where I am.” Swart says she’s only been playing softball since seventh grade.

Swart was 3-4 and she scored the lone Tech run, which was scored in the third. Swart hit a one-out single and Ashleigh Deems sacrificed her to second.

Hayden Kobert then grounded hard back to the pitcher Doctor, who threw wide of first. Kobert was safe and raced to second on the throw, while Swart scored easily from second.

The Cobras had runners on base in four other innings, but the just couldn’t get any more runs across.

Tech pitcher Brianna Lunenfeld allowed nine hits and a walk, while striking out seven. Of the nine runs allowed, four were earned.

“Obviously, you’re not going to win a game with three hits, it’s highly unlikely,” Cobras head coach Brian Reider said. “I believe five of the nine runs were earned, so we did make errors at the beginning, caused our pitcher to throw to four more batters and that’s a momentum killer right there. Even through we haven’t batted yet, it stops you from maybe getting momentum.”

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