Pioneer’s dominance in sectional play came to a screeching halt Monday at the hands of North Miami and junior pitching sensation Josie Wood.
Entering the game Pioneer felt confident they could battle with the talented Warriors but North Miami wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard as the Panthers fell 11-1 in six innings at the Class A North White Sectional.
Caston held off West Central 12-10 in a later first-round game.
No. 8-ranked Pioneer (18-10) had won three straight sectional and regional titles before the loss to No. 1 North Miami, which was upset by Lewis Cass the last two years in Class 2A sectional action.
Wood faced 21 Pioneer batters during the contest and finished with 13 strikeouts while giving up just three hits. The Indiana University bound pitcher had help from her teammates as North Miami pounded out 11 hits in the game.
“We knew going in that we were going to have our hands full and that it would be difficult,” said senior Megan Smith. “Some of us may have been a little intimidated but we all made a concentrated effort to keep our heads up and to keep fighting.”
Wood struck out the side to begin the game and North Miami quickly went to work scoring three runs in the first to take an early 3-0 lead.
The Warriors added two more runs in the second and third innings for a 7-0 lead. It wasn’t until the fourth inning that something positive happened for the Panthers. With leadoff hitter Megan Smith at the plate the senior laced one back up the middle and just out of reach of a diving Josie Knauff for a base hit thus taking away the perfect game that Wood had going up to that point. Moments later a base hit in the right center alley by Katie Bingaman scored Smith to get the Panthers on the board.