Belleview Rattlers seek fourth consecutive 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.
“Actually, against Lake Weir, we tend to start slow,” Belleview head coach Gary Greer said. “We were hoping for a good first inning. And we definitely had that.”
After senior pitcher Lauren Reimsnyder and the Rattlers’ defense issued a three up, three down first inning, Belleview seniors Kylah Gardner and Jaela Haynes helped the Rattlers ignite a seven-run opening inning, which set the tone for Belleview’s routing of Lake Weir 15-0 in a three-inning district semifinal on Tuesday night.
Gardner, who signed her letter of intent with Edward Waters College in December, sent a lead-off triple to centerfield for Belleview’s first hit of the contest.
Then Haynes, who will play for Stetson University next year, launched a two-run home run to dead center to scratch across the opening pair of runs.
Lake Weir junior pitcher Makenna Marr would see 13 at-bats in the lengthy first inning, where she and the Hurricanes gave up six hits — five of which went for extra bases — and four walks.
Gardner’s second at-bat of the first inning resulted in a base-clearing, three-RBI triple that blew the game wide open 7-0.
The Rattlers continued to play small ball in the second and third innings, scratching across three and five runs, respectively.
Meanwhile, in the circle, Reimsnyder proved why she not only earned the distinction of being the Rattlers’ ace, but also what drew the attention of Bethel University, where Reimsnyder will play next season.
In the three-inning run-rule victory, Reimsnyder saw the minimum at the plate, keeping her pitch count under 30.
The senior pitched a perfect three-inning bout, allowing no hits, no free bases and striking out four.
“Lauren is getting sharper,” Greer said. “She’s definitely proved she’s the best pitcher in our county. She has the most wins in our county. And she has a team that plays behind her.”
Tuesday night’s shutout was the seventh of the season for the Rattlers, who improved to 18-7 on the year.
Belleview will host North Marion on Thursday night as the Rattlers seek their fourth consecutive district title (excluding the shortened 2020 season).
The North Marion Colts made their way into the district title game after defeating the Vanguard Knights 13-3 in five innings on Tuesday night in Belleview.
North Marion freshman Ainsley Grubbs notched a two-hit performance from the plate on Tuesday, driving in three runs for the Colts. Sophomore Alexis Riley contributed three RBIs of her own in the win.
The last time the Colts (9-14) saw the Rattlers, Belleview ran off with a 15-0 victory.
“Belleview’s always got a target,” Greer said. “I’m sure they’ll find motivation to play us. North Marion always comes ready to play us.”
Following the loss to North Marion, Vanguard finished its season 1-15, while Lake Weir finished its 2021 campaign 1-14.