Four years ago, four freshmen made an immediate impact on the Riverside softball team.
On Friday, that group was honored before the Beavers’ 11-0 conference win over Kenston that extended the team’s winning streak to 13 games.
“This has been a great group of seniors,” said Riverside coach Bill Ross. “It’s not often that you have four seniors that are all four-year starters. It’s truly a special group. They show great leadership and help make my job easier.”
With Friday’s win, Riverside’s seniors are now 38-24-1 in the four-year careers with the hopes of bettering their district finish in 2019.
“It’s really exciting to see the start we’ve had,” said senior outfielder Molly Binkiewicz. “The last time we had a season, in 2019, we made it to districts and we want to win at all this year. We are really just glad to have each other and we are lucky to have such close bonds with each other and that really contributes to our chemistry.”
Senior pitcher Emily Lamos has made the most of her senior season.
She is on a tear, both in the circle and at the plate, and on Friday she finished the game 3-for-3 with one run scored, four runs batted in, a double, and a home run. She also pitched a one-hit shutout and struck out six in five innings of work.
“Senior Night was bittersweet because there is something so special about this team,” Lamos said. “I love every minute of the four years I have had with my fellow seniors and especially this year’s team, but it’s also sad to think about that senior night marks the beginning of the end. Playing with this team is such a blast because we are friends before we are a team. It’s so awesome that I am spending every day with my best friends and the winning is just an extra special touch.”
Lamos hit a solo home run in the bottom of the second to break a scoreless tie.
The Beavers exploded for 10 runs in the third inning.
Senior Abby Watson sparked that rally with a leadoff single. She finished the game 1-for-1 with two runs scored and an RBI.
“It was a lot of mixed emotions for Senior Night,” Watson said. “I was cherishing the fact that we’ve been together since freshman year. Being able to spend it with them was memorable. It was also very sad knowing that my entire softball career is coming to an end in such a little amount of time. I can’t wait for the rest of the season with these girls. We have so much fun playing together and I always know they have my back. We have played great so far and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this team.”
Emma Kovalchuk hit a two-run triple to make it 3-0 and Lamos singled her home. Maren Kelly followed up with an RBI single and Watson walked to push home another run. Megan Lehner, Kovalchuk, and Amanda Kolar hit back-to-back-to-back singles and Lamos followed up with a double to close out the scoring.
Molly Binkiewicz finished the day 0-for-3 but she’s been a key player for the Beavers over the last four years and an off night at the plate didn’t spoil the senior night festivities for her.
“Overall, Senior Night is just a great time,” she said. “Everyone is playing loose and just enjoying ourselves and the team. Of course, after it’s all over, you realize that this is really the final ride. It’s a little different for me because I’ve had my dad as a coach since I was five, and it’s definitely hard to deal with that reality coming to an end.”
Senior outfielder Katie Ross drew a walk and scored in that 10-run third inning.
She also experienced her share of emotions on Senior Night.
“Senior Night is something you look forward to from freshman year until your senior year and it was a great way to celebrate our softball careers coming to an end. It was sad but it’s also always exciting getting to play every game with your 12 best friends,” Ross said. “Our win made the night just that much more exciting. It’s a great feeling to know your team has your back and can celebrate with us and have fun on and off the field. I can’t wait to see what we can do as the season continues.”