Ross' homer helps NIC split
Sports Writer | April 17, 2010 9:00 PM
COEUR d'ALENE - Ranked or not, when a pair of rivals square off on the athletic field, be prepared for some high intensity action.
Friday's Scenic West Athletic Conference doubleheader didn't disappoint as 13th-ranked Southern Idaho defeated North Idaho College 5-2 in the first game before NIC rallied in the second game for a 6-2 win at Memorial Field.
CSI (35-15, 26-11 SWAC) outfielder MeChel Hunt hit the go-ahead three-run home run in the top of the sixth inning to break a 2-all tie. CSI capitalized on three Cardinal errors in the inning.
"I was just looking for a hard base hit," Hunt said. "They are a tough team to play at home and I just knew I had to put the ball into play."
Mikkel Griffin opened the scoring with a solo home run in the first inning for the Eagles.
"I thought we came out sharp," Southern Idaho coach Nick Baumert said. "North Idaho always plays well at home. When Mikkel hit the home run - it really got us going. The three-run shot was a big momentum boost for us."
Generra Nielsen had eight strikeouts in the first game for CSI.
NIC (28-22, 21-17) evened the score at 2 in the bottom of the fourth on back-to-back RBI singles from Juliann Hartnett and Briggett Plenger.
"You can't give up three errors in an inning," NIC coach Don Don Williams said. "It's tough."
The host Cardinals extracted some revenge in the second game as Jessica Ross hit a two-run home run to key a four-run bottom of the third inning which erased a 2-0 CSI lead.
"I knew I could see the ball in my first at bat," said Ross, a freshman from Lake City High. "I went up the second time ready for my pitch. I just went up and did my job. I figured we just scored, so let's keep it going."
Ross also relieved Alyssa Erickson in the fifth inning, throwing three scoreless innings for the save.
"It's something that's expected of me," Ross said. "I don't feel that it's on me to perform well. It's a team game - it's on all of us."
CSI had a chance to get out of the inning with only two runs scoring, but extended the inning on a dropped fly ball by center fielder Marie Williams.
"We should have been out of the inning," Baumert said. "That's a play we should make, but it's the way the ball bounces sometimes. It's what makes the game maddening."
NIC picked up two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth on a pinch-hit single by Abbey Reardon to close out the scoring.
"Two runs is never enough against CSI," Williams said. "They've got a bunch of potent bats. I knew if we had runners on, we'd have to get them in. Abbey had been hitting well all week in practice and I told her on Thursday, if we get a chance, I'd give her a shot."
Lyndi Miller had a two-run single in the third inning for CSI.
"It's good to play a team like NIC this weekend," Baumert said. "Both clubs are getting closer to regionals and it's good to face a quality opponent. Tomorrow (Saturday) will be fun for sure."
Williams also believes her team is hitting their stride.
"We're starting to compete a little more," Williams said. "We're getting better each time we take the field. We're hoping to compete at the end against everyone."
The teams conclude their series today with a doubleheader starting at noon at Memorial Field.
Southern Idaho 100 013 0 - 5 9 0
North Idaho 000 200 0 - 2 6 3
Generra Nielsen and Chelsea Nix; Kathy Comack, Jessica Ross (7) and Renae Kimbell. W - Nielsen (20-8). L - Comack (10-9).
HITS: CSI - Williams 2, Griffin, Nix, Albertson 2, Gonzales, Hunt 2. NIC - Ross 2, Hartnett, Plenger, Maloney, Krier. HR - Griffin (14).
Southern Idaho 002 000 0 - 2 7 1
North Idaho 004 002 x - 6 10 0
Brie Dimond and Kayla Powell; Alyssa Erickson, Jessica Ross (5) and Renae Kimbell. W - Erickson (12-9). L - Dimond (7-5). S - Ross (3).
HITS: CSI - Williams, Albertson, Griffin, Groenewegen, Bryant, Hunt, Miller. NIC - Hawley 2, Springer, Maloney, Krier 2, Ross, Stark, Hartnett, Reardon. 2B - Hartnett. HR - Ross (9).