Emma Kovalchuk, Emi Jeras, and Milana McCaleb each hit a home run in Riverside’s 11-3 win at Kenston on Friday.
The Beavers, who improved to 7-1 overall and 2-0 in the Western Reserve Conference, struggled to find their groove early but exploded for eight runs in the sixth inning to beat the Bombers.
“It took us a few innings to adjust to the pitching but once they did, they really started hitting the ball hard,” said Riverside coach Bill Ross. “It was really good to see Emma, Emily, and Milana hit home runs to get us started.”
McCaleb struck first with her one-out homer in the top of the first inning on a 2-1 pitch.
Jeras hit the first pitch she saw in the top of the second inning over the center field fence.
“It was really exciting to get the opportunity to be in the lineup,” said Jeras, who is Riverside’s backup catcher. “Before I got out there, I visualized the at-bat I wanted. I have been working really hard on my mental game after a few nervous at bats in my last games. Just getting out there and making good contact was my goal, but getting the first home run is a great feeling.”
The pitch was a little bit inside but Jeras was able to turn on it for her first career four-bagger.
“I initially thought it was going to hit the fence but seeing it go over was so exciting,” she said.
The Bombers cut Riverside’s lead to 2-1 with a run on a single and two walks in the bottom of the third.
Kovalchuk made it 3-1 with her one-out homer in the fifth.
Riverside broke the game open in the sixth.
Makayla Boswell, Jeras, and Megan Lehner hit back-to-back-to-back singles to load the bases and then McCaleb singled home two runs. Amanda Kolar followed with a double to push the lead to 7-1 and Kovalchuk hit a one-run double to make it 8-1.
Kayla Bobeczko added a double and Boswell singled her home. Jeras and Lehner then reached on errors to close out the inning with the Beavers up, 11-1.
Kenston used a walk and two singles to score two runs in the sixth.
Kovalchuk led the Beavers at the plate. She finished 4-for-5 with a double and a home run, two runs scored, and two runs batted in.
Jeras was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and the home run.
“Playing with such good hitters at Riverside was what I was looking forward to most going into my freshman season,” Jeras said. “It makes me feel more comfortable at the plate knowing my team can hit the ball from top to bottom in our lineup, and I could join in the fun and enjoy being a part of it.”
Lehner, McCaleb, Kolar, and Boswell all finished with two hits for the Beavers. McCaleb knocked in a team-best three runs.
Annaliese Davis went the distance in the circle for the Beavers. She improved to 3-0 in her freshman season after allowing three runs on five hits with six strikeouts in seven innings.
Ross was especially pleased to see the youngest players on his roster—Davis, Jeras, and McCaleb—shine in the win.
“The more we can get them experience, especially in the circle and behind the plate, I think that’s great for them,” he said. “Milana has really come on this year. She’s been hitting the ball all season for us. It’s great to see all of them in there together for the first time.”