PAINESVILLE—With a sweep in a split doubleheader against Madison and North, Riverside clinched the Western Reserve Conference title.
The Beavers opened the day with an 11-1 six-inning win over the Blue Streak and closed it with a 14-2 six-inning win over the Rangers.
“The girls were ready today,” said Riverside coach Bill Ross. “They’ve been hyped this whole week of games. We had a playoff game and everything else has been conference this week, but they were fired up for this one.”
Riverside pounded out 16 hits against Madison.
Amanda Kolar was 4-for-4 with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored, and six runs batted in. Delaney Keith added three hits and Megan Lehner, Milana McCaleb, and Allison Buttari each had two hits for the Beavers.
Kayla Bobeczko hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the sixth to end that game.
The Beavers then went out and recorded 14 hits, including six for extra-bases, in the win against North.
Again, Kolar led the charge as she was 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored, and three RBI. Lehner, Emma Kovalchuk, Keith, and Emi Jeras each collected two hits.
Jeras added an exclamation point with her walk-off three-run homer.
“We thought we could do this,” Ross said of the back-to-back big wins. “We definitely thought that coming in here today that we could put a big number up and the girls showed that today. They came out swinging the bats hard.”
With the wins, the Beavers improved to 19-2 overall and 11-0 in the WRC with one game remaining against North.
“I’ve got to give credit to all the girls,” Ross said. “They’ve bene focused from Day 1. With this year, the way it’s been chopped up with the rain, everybody’s been fighting with practicing inside way more than we ever had to, and these girls have stayed focused and they’ve kept their eye on the prize. I could not be more proud of them. To run the conference like they did, it’s hard to do in the WRC.”
Riverside won’t have much time to celebrate its conference title. The Beavers play Walsh Jesuit in a Massillon District semifinal on Monday.
“We’ll think about Walsh tomorrow,” Ross said. “We’ve talked about Walsh a little bit and some work on Walsh but the last two days have been all about the conference and finishing this thing out. We’re going to enjoy it for today and then tomorrow we’re going to start working on Walsh again.”
On the day, Kolar was 7-for-8 with four doubles, a home run, five runs scored, and 9 RBI. Keith finished the doubleheader 5-for-7 with a double, a run scored, and two RBI. Lehner was 4-for-7 with a double, four runs scored, and an RBI and Buttari was 3-for-8 with two runs scored, and an RBI.
Annaliese Davis earned the pitching victory in the first game. She allowed one earned run on five hits and struck out five in six innings. Grace Fisher allowed one earned run on two hits and struck out nine in six innings to earn the win against the Rangers.
Alyssa McPeek and Maddie Russo had hits for the Rangers, who dropped to 10-6, 6-3.
North entered the week with the hopes of earning a share of the WRC title but that changed with a loss to Chardon on Friday and Saturday’s loss to Riverside.
“This week changed a lot,” said North coach Matt McPeek. “We kind of knew it was make or break going into this week. We’re just not playing good softball right now and we’re overthinking a lot of things. I’ve got to figure out a plan of how to break the slide we’re on. Some of this is on me; I’ve got to get them motivated or re-motivated every day now with the seniors being out with nothing left to play for. We’ve got to dig deep and continue to try to search for the pride right now.”