The Manitou T-Birdies could have been forgiven for thinking they spent the first inning in Florida rather than on their home field because they had to face one Her-icane after another.
A mammoth 15-run opening frame was all the defending champion Fort Frances Heri-canes needed en route to a 29-10 rout of the T-Birdies in Rainy River District Women's Fastball League action last night.
T-Birdies' starter “Chuck” Cochrane faced 11 batters without recording an out as a combination of singles, errors, and walks kept filling the bases with the black-and-red.
The 'Canes (9-1), who finished their first-half schedule in first place, batted around twice and sent 19 batters in total to the plate.
With red-hot hitter Summer Leonard sidelined with an ankle injury, 11th-place Manitou (2-8) couldn't mount enough offence to rally against winning pitcher Dana Ward, who went five innings before giving way to Laureen Hill.
Meanwhile, the Fort Frances Mud Dogs (8-2) kept pace without even playing after a 7-0 forfeit victory over last-place Sabaskong Tebinaak (1-7), which hasn't been able to field a its past two games.
With the Big Grassy Lynx (6-1-2) idle, the Red Gut Babes (6-3-1) moved within one point of third place with a 14-9 win last night over the seventh-place Couchiching Lady Raiders (3-5-1).
Tracy Morningstar outpitched Courtney Easton.
Stephanie Racine homered for her second-straight game in a losing cause.
Also last night, the Northwest Bay Beavers (5-3-2) continued their resurgence by downing the Fort Frances Angels 14-6.
Pitcher Darcy Smith helped the fifth-place Beavers win their fifth-straight game after going winless in their first five this season.
Rylee Redford took the loss for the Angels (2-7), who are mired in a six-game losing skid.
The Emo Renegades, playing without injured all-star first baseman Laurie Brown, also fell to 2-7 last night after falling 13-8 to the suddenly potent Dawson Tigers (5-5).
The Tigers now sit just two points back of Northwest Bay for fifth place as Shelby Nosan earned the win over Grace Bragg.
The first half of the season wraps up next week with three makeup games, including Sabaskong visiting the Angels and Big Grassy while Couchiching hosts Emo.
The teams then will be separated into East and West Divisions for the second half, which will feature a five-game, round-robin format before the playoffs begin next month.
Meanwhile, the Rainy River District Fastball League resumes action tonight at 7 p.m., with the highlight game being at Oltsher Field in Barwick in a rematch of last year's final between the defending champion Sight & Sound Wolves and Blue Knights.
Other games will see the Rainy River Royals at VanJura to face the Fort Frances Braves while the Couchiching Raiders host the Sabaskong Cubs.
Two games in Sabaskong will see Windey's Warriors against the Lakers and the Manitou Thunderbirds versus the Goldeneyes.
The first-place Dawson Tigers host the Northwest Bay Chieftains while the Stratton Eagles visit the Northwest Bay Juniors.