NORTH BEND — The North Bend softball team knew it was better than it played in its season opener against Bandon last week.
A week later, the Bulldogs showed it with a 9-0 blanking of visiting Coquille on Wednesday.
Sarah Shore, who struggled with her control against Bandon, pitched a two-hitter with 11 strikeouts against the Red Devils and Katie Holmes gave the Bulldogs an early lift with a three-run home run.
“We got our bats going,” said Holmes, who also had a double that led to another run for North Bend. “We’ve been working hard at practice to improve them.”
North Bend got going right away. Bria Hood and Keira Young walked and Holmes blasted the ball over the left-field fence for an early 3-0 lead.
In the third inning, Amanda Hollingsworth hit a single to center, Emma Spalding walked and both scored on a sharp double down the left-field line by Young.
Holmes pounded a double to center in the fourth and later scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-0.
Then in the fourth, Spalding and Hood had infield singles, Young walked, Shore helped her cause with a two-run single to center and an error led to the final run of the night.
That was plenty of runs with how Shore was pitching.
“They hit the ball well, and their pitcher did good,” Coquille coach Darren Thompson said.
Coquille managed just a single by Courtney Sanders in the fifth inning and another by Jordan Gouvea in the seventh. Shore walked four, but North Bend didn’t commit any errors behind her.
“Sarah is doing a phenomenal job pitching,” Holmes said.
It was Shore’s second straight strong outing. On Monday, she took a shutout to the seventh inning in a 7-2 victory over Sutherlin.
“I’m just really proud of Sarah’s performance after the first game,” North Bend coach John Olson said after Monday’s outing. “It was more of the Sarah we know.”
Mia Reynon had two RBIs in Monday’s win and Young had a hit, a run and an RBI. Holmes scored two runs.
Hood gave the Bulldogs a boost, after missing the start of the season with an injury.
“It’s nice to have Bria back,” Olson said. “She adds a whole new dimension.”
The entire squad contributed to Wednesday’s win.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” Olson said. “We’ve got a long way to go, a tough schedule ahead of us.”
North Bend hosts Willamette on Friday before seven straight road games, the first five a pair of doubleheaders against Churchill and Thurston sandwiched around a single game against Sheldon.
Coquille, meanwhile, suffered its first loss after four Sunset Conference wins, over Myrtle Point, Reedsport and a doubleheader sweep Saturday of Gold Beach.
Against Gold Beach, Ekelund had three doubles and Sanders and Bailey Higgins also hit doubles.
Ekelund had a triple and double in the win over Reedsport.
The Red Devils struggled against Shore.
“We were flat all day,” Thompson said. “We definitely didn’t play our best game.
“North Bend is the best competition we’ve seen.”
The Red Devils return to Sunset Conference play Tuesday when they host Myrtle Point.