It started out as a promising night offensively for the Manitou T-Birdies.
One half-inning changed all of that.
Manitou scored two runs in the top of the first inning but were shut out over the next six as the Fort Frances Her-icanes powered their way to a comeback 19-2 victory over the T-Birdies on Monday night in the Rainy River District Women's Fastball League season-opener at VanJura.
Things didn't start off so smoothly for the three-time defending champion Her-icanes as ace pitcher Marissa Kerry allowed an RBI single and an RBI triple after retiring the first Manitou hitter as the T-Birdies jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.
But Kerry buckled down after that—striking out the next two batters she faced to limit the damage at two runs.
The Her-icanes showed their championship pedigree in the bottom half, getting on the bats right away and jumping all over T-Birdies' starter Bev Cochrane to the tune of a five-run frame to forge ahead 5-2.
Kerry continued her dominance on the pitching rubber, only allowing three hits and a walk the rest of the way to earn her first win of the season in a complete-game effort.
She also finished with double-digit strikeouts in mostly keeping the T-Birdies' hitters off-balance.
The Her-icanes scored two runs in the second, eight in the third, and four in the fourth to round out the scoring.
Manitou threatened to cut into the deficit in the top of the seventh, leading off the frame with back-to-back singles, but with the rain starting to fall—Kerry locked in and sandwiched a trio of strikeouts around those hits to preserve the 'Canes' first win of the season.
Cochrane was saddled with the loss in allowing all 19 of the Her-icanes' runs.
In other games on Monday, the Couchiching Lady Raiders also got off to a good start to their season as they outlasted the Fort Frances Mud Dogs 11-9 in a high-scoring affair.
Steph Legree picked up her first win of the season while Rachelle Yeo was tagged with the loss.
Rylee Redford had a solid outing as she pitched the Fort Frances Angels to a 15-6 win over the Sabaskong Tebinaak.
Rachelle Jack was handed the defeat.
In another high-scoring affair, the Big Grassy Lynx outlasted the Dawson Tigers in a 16-13 thriller.
Candace Handorgan earned the win with Cass Teeple suffering the loss for the Tigers.
And the Renegades—who are playing out of the Barwick ball park this season—edged the host Northwest Bay Beavers 6-5.
Karma Andy garnered the win while Darcy Smith was tagged with the defeat.
The Red Gut Babes had the bye on Monday night.
Tonight's games will see Mud Dogs entertain the Lynx, the T-Birdies will welcome the Renegades, the Tebinaak will square off against the Tigers, the Babes will host the Angels, and the Beavers will do battle with the Lady Raiders. The Her-icanes have the bye.
All games are slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. (weather permitting).
There will be no games next Monday (May 20) due to the Victoria Day holiday.
As for the Rainy River District Fastball League, it was slated to begin its season last night with the outcomes not known as of press time.
The Lakers battled the Goldeneyes in an all-Sabaskong matchup, the Rainy River Royals welcomed the Dawson Tigers, the Stratton Eagles looked to take flight against the Barwick Blue Knights, the two-time defending champion Fort Frances Braves opened their title defence against Sight & Sound Wolves, the Thunderbirds hosted the Northwest Bay Chieftains in Manitou, and the Couchiching Raiders squared off against Windey's Warriors.
Tomorrow's games, which all start at 6:30 p.m., will see the Tigers play host to Stratton in Pinewood, the Blue Knights will battle the Lakers, the Goldeneyes will tangle with the Royals, the Raiders will square off against the Chieftains, the Braves will entertain the Warriors, and Manitou will welcome the Wolves.