Saturday, May 27
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    For the second time in less than a week, Riverside defeated Chardon 3-2 in a key Western Reserve Conference game.

    The Beavers, who beat Chardon on Saturday by the same score, scored a run in the top of the sixth inning to take a 2-1 lead over the Hilltoppers and then added another in the seventh, and then pitched their way out of a jam to seal their win in the bottom half of the inning.

    With the win, Riverside improved to 10-1 overall and 5-0 in the WRC.

    “Today was a big win to get a little separation in the conference, but we know everyone is going to give us their best as we have to play like this every game,” said Riverside coach Bill Ross. “Chardon is a great team and being able to sweep them this season is huge for our girls.”

    Riverside is the only undefeated team left in the WRC but their path to the league title includes two games each against 5-1 Mayfield and 3-1 North.

    Chardon is now 3-2 in conference play and needs help from other WRC teams to defend its conference title.

    “We have a lot of respect for Chardon,” Ross said. “We knew this would be another tight game. I’m proud of our girls for battling and pulling out a big conference win.”

    Riverside took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Allison Buttari reached on a fielder’s choice and Maren Kelly and Kayla Bobeczko hit back-to-back singles to load the bases. Emi Jeras then doubled home one run.

    Chardon pitcher Sydney Murray minimized the damage by pitching out of that jam to keep the Hilltoppers in the game.

    Nicole Krakora doubled to lead off the Chardon third and Sidney Nagaj singled and moved up on a throw to third. Amy O’Brien then hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1-1.

    It remained that way until Emma Kovalchuk hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth.

    “We loved the competition and being able to come out on top both times is really a great feeling,” Kovalchuk said of the sweep of Chardon. “Being able to step up for my team to put us ahead was a great feeling. I saw a pitch middle-in on the plate and a little higher and it felt amazing off of my bat.”

    Riverside added a much-needed insurance run in the top of the seventh when Milana McCaleb drew a two-out walk and stole second. She scored on Amanda Kolar’s clutch RBI single.

    Chardon’s Savannah Murray reached on an error to lead off the top of the seventh and Sydney Murray doubled her home to cut Riverside’s lead to 3-2.

    Riverside pitcher Grace Fisher retired the next three batters in order to preserve the win.

    Fisher allowed one earned run on five hits and struck out seven.

    “Grace threw another great game,” Ross said. “She’s so consistent and really knows how to spin the ball. She’s been fighting through an injury, but when I saw her warming up, she gave me a look and I knew there was no way she wasn’t pitching today. She’s about as locked in as I’ve ever seen her.”

    Keith led Riverside at the plate as she was 2-for-3 in her return from an injury. McCaleb, Kolar, Kovalchuk, Kelly, Bobeczko, and Jeras also had hits.

    Jeras and McCaleb doubled while Kovalchuk hit the four-bagger.

    Kovalchuk extended Riverside’s streak of hitting a home run to three straight games.

    “It’s so nice having so many kids in the lineup that can go yard at any time and for Emma to hit that home run on an 0-2 count was tremendous,” Ross said. “What a great senior moment for her.”

    Nagaj and Krakora both recorded two hits for Chardon and Murray had the other.

    Murray allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out three in five innings. O’Brien closed out the game for Chardon. She allowed one earned run on one hit in two innings of work.

    Chardon dropped to 8-6 overall and 3-2 in league play.

    “I don’t think it will take much for them to put their disappointment behind them,” said Chardon coach Stewart Landies of his players. “They all went out to dinner as a team after the game and are focused on the games we have ahead of us this weekend. We can’t change the past but we can put ourselves in a better position to compete with them in the playoffs if we see them again.”



    Steve Hare
    The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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