Riverside held off South in a key Western Reserve Conference game on Monday, 7-5.
The Beavers, who hold a slim lead for first place in the Western Reserve Conference, led 7-2 entering the seventh inning but needed a clutch defensive play to shut down the Rebel rally.
“It was great to see the girls finish the game,” said Riverside coach Bill Ross. “It definitely got a little dicey at the end but we’re at the point in the season where every game right now is a conference game or a playoff game, so every game really matters.”
The Beavers, who improved to 15-2 overall and 8-0 in the WRC, got off to a fast start with a three-run first inning.
Amanda Kolar hit a two-out triple and scored on Emma Kovalchuk’s single. Delaney Keith followed with a single and Maren Kelly doubled home both runners.
South’s Ryan Wallace hit a leadoff home run in the third to cut Riverside’s lead to 3-1 but the Beavers responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Kolar singled and scored on Keith’s one-out triple and Kelly hit a sacrifice fly to push the Riverside lead to 5-1.
South pulled to within 5-2 in the fifth with a pair of singles and an error.
Again, Riverside responded. This time, the Beavers scored two runs in the sixth when Grace Fisher singled and Makayla Boswell reached on a fielder’s choice. Kolar then hit a two-run double to give the Beavers a 7-2 lead entering the seventh.
Wallace singled to lead off the South seventh but was thrown out at second on Gabby Donia’s fielder’s choice. Nia Guess singled and Grace Woodcock reached on an error that cut Riverside’s lead to 7-3. Alyssa Tekavec followed with a sacrifice fly and Morgan Staska hit an RBI double but ended the game when she was thrown out trying to advance to third.
Milana McCaleb fielded the ball in center field and threw a perfect strike to Kolar, who applied the tag.
“It was great for the girls to finish that game strong,” Ross said. “It definitely turned into a pressure situation in that seventh inning. Give South credit, they fought to the bitter end. It was a great play to get the ball in and get the girl out at third to finish the game. I’m proud of them for battling all the way through.”
Kolar led the Beavers at the plate. She was 3-for-4 with a double and a triple, two runs scored, and two RBI. Keith, Kelly, and Fisher each finished with two hits and Kelly knocked in a team-best three runs.
Fisher went the distance in the circle. She allowed one earned run on 10 hits and struck out five.
“The middle of the lineup today really produced, especially Amanda Kolar,” Ross said. “Amanda had some big hits when we needed them and she had a great mindset.”
Riverside hosts Warren Harding in a sectional final on Wednesday.