By Nick Cammuso
Times West Virginian
While some feel there is no such thing as moral victories, Wednesday’s North Marion-University game in Rachel might be an exception.
The Huskies, who came into the contest unbeaten, hung with Class AAA University in a 5-4 loss that stretched nine innings.
“We knew coming in that it would be a pretty good measuring stick to see where we are,” North coach Brad Harker said. “ It may sound kind of funny, but I may be more proud of them now than if we won. We didn’t give them anything.”
For the first seven innings, it was a back-and-forth affair.
The Huskies led 2-0 after one, only to see the Hawks tie things up not long after. North (6-1) again took the lead, 3-2, in the third, only to see UHS grab a 4-3 cushion heading into the bottom of seven.
North, though, never said die.
Chelsi Latocha walked and freshman Shasta Pyles ripped a double to the gap that got all the way to the fence. While she was throw out at third base trying to stretch the hit into something more, it was enough to score Latocha and force extra innings.
“I’m not going to fault her for aggressive base-running. She came up big for us,” Harker said.
It was part of a big day for Pyles, who moved from the fifth to No. 3 spot in the order on Wednesday. She finished 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs.
In the top of the ninth, University got back-to-back bunt singles from speedy seniors Jamie Myers and Brooke Parks, the former who would eventually score what was the game-winning run.
North went down in order 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning.
Senior Danielle Fluharty pitched all nine for the Huskies. She scattered seven hits while striking out three and not issuing a walk.
“She was relentless and the defense played well behind her for the most part,” Harker said. “She gave us everything she had tonight.”
Fluharty went 2 for 5 with a double at the plate. Cheyanne Steen finished 1 for 4 with a triple, while Amanda Sigley and Paige Efaw each singled in the loss.
North visits Big 10 foe Bridgeport today.