Belleview beats North Marion to win softball district title

The Belleview dugout empties to celebrate with Jaela Haynes (1) as she hits a home run against Lake Weir during a softball district playoff game at Belleview High School in Belleview, Fla. on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. The Belleview Rattlers defeated the Lake Weir Hurricanes. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

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Posted April 29, 2021 | By Ainslie Lee,

The Belleview dugout empties to celebrate with Jaela Haynes (1) as she hits a home run against Lake Weir during a softball district playoff game at Belleview High School in Belleview on Tuesday. On Thursday the Rattlers beat North Marion to win the district title. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

Belleview softball head coach Gary Greer is no stranger to district championships.

Greer, who’s coached the Rattlers’ softball program for 21 seasons, has now helped Belleview capture eight district crowns, including four straight (excluding the shortened 2020 season).

But the Rattlers’ 10-0 run-rule victory over North Marion at Belleview’s Venom Field on Thursday night was just a special as the first seven of Greer’s career.

“We talk about the history and the past, but the last thing I told them was even though it’s four, we enjoy today’s,” Greer said. “Because today is the one that you got as a group. They’ll never be together… this group of girls.”

The Rattlers made their way into the Class 4A-District 5 title game after thumping the Lake Weir Hurricanes 15-0 through three innings behind a stellar performance behind senior ace Lauren Reimsnyder on Tuesday.

In Tuesday’s outing from the circle, Reimsnyder pitched a three-inning, perfect game and kept her pitch count under 30.

On Thursday night, the Bethel University signee picked up right where she left off, helping Belleview to its eighth shutout of the season.

“I feel great,” Reimsnyder said. “Even though I have pitched now four days in a row because I pitched in practice too, I just feel really loose and competitive. I think the adrenaline is really getting to me and making sure this isn’t the last time I get to step on this field.”

In Reimsnyder’s five-inning victory, she saw the minimum number of at-bats possible, putting the Colts down in order each inning and tallying eight strikeouts in the process.

“Lauren hasn’t given up a hit or walk in eight innings straight,” Greer said. “That’s probably the best playoff performance we’ve ever had. So that’s pretty awesome.”

On the other side of the plate, the Rattlers strung together timely hits, which began in the bottom of the first inning.

After an uncharacteristic lead-off groundout off the bat of senior Kylah Gardner, Jaela Haynes (2 hits, 2 steals, RBI) notched the first hit of the ball game to the tune of a three-bag knock.

Following Haynes’ triple, the Rattlers followed with three consecutive hits off the bats of junior Emily Pearce (2 hits, 2 RBIs, 2 steals), Reimsnyder (2 hits, RBI) and freshman Lynnay Howard (2 hits, 2 RBIs).

“Jaela, our senior, started off with a triple and then Howard had another – two nights in a row – she’s been a star at the plate,” Greer said. “Ours is smart base running, timely hitting… our girls are well-seasoned at that. We focus on that in practice a lot. We aren’t really accepting poor base running.”

Despite the loss, North Marion (9-15) will have an opportunity to bounce back next Thursday, with the opponent, location and time still to be determined.

The Rattlers, who rank as the second-best team in Class 4A according to Maxpreps, will host either Dunnellon or Citrus on May 6. The time is yet to be determined.

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