Riverhawks roll at home: Ridgeline remains perfect in Region 11 softball play
By Shawn Harrison sports editor
MILLVILLE â With the big prize still in their control, the Riverhawks took another step toward it.
Ridgeline celebrated Senior Day by staying perfect in Region 11 softball play Tuesday afternoon at Flight Field. The Riverhawks had no trouble with visiting Logan, 12-2, in five innings.
âI think we hit the ball pretty hard and that opened up the innings,â Ridgeline coach Mike Anderson said. â… We squared up well today and hit it.â
The hosts brought hot bats, were patient in the box and got another stellar performance from Mailee Jensen in the circle. The Riverhawks (14-7, 8-0 region) scattered nine hits, drew six walks and ran the bases alertly. Jensen struck out nine Grizzlies in five innings and allowed just three singles.
âI was mainly just focusing on pitching strikes and letting my infield do the work even if they hit it,â Jensen said.
The junior ace also led Ridgeline at the plate, going 2 for 2 and drawing a walk on her other plate appearance.
âIâm happy because Iâve been working on my swing so much,â Jensen said.
âIt has not been good throughout the whole year. Iâm glad that itâs finally working.â
Loganâs Mollie Balling had two of the three base knocks the Grizzlies (6-12-1, 3-5) had. She also drew a base on balls.
âMollie has been a stud; sheâs been solid,â Logan coach Kim Laing said. âShe is our most consistent hitter. She gets up there with confidence and makes it happen.â
Balling began the game with a lead-off single to center. However, she was caught in a pickle trying to steal second after Jensen struck out a Logan batter.
âI think we are not coming ready and itâs getting in our heads,â Balling said. âWe arenât focused, but today I felt we were more focused. … We need to get running here.â
âI think mentally, we are not very strong right now,â Laing said. â… The last four games we havenât had much fight. I think thatâs a sign of our youth, inexperience and weâve had a ton of injuries.â
The Riverhawks didnât waste any time getting on the board. In the bottom of the first, Brooke Anderson â who went 2 for 4 in the game â singled to left field. She scored on a double by Mya Washington to deep left. Logan left fielder Aleya Zentner made a run, but the ball glanced off her glove. Washington would make it 2-0, scoring on a wild pitch.
In the third, Ridgeline added seven runs, four with two outs. Alex Buttars got the rally started with a single to left. Jensen brought Buttars home with a single, also to left.
Logan committed two errors in the fateful third inning. Ridgeline scored three runs on either wild pitches or passed balls. Grizzly starter Nya Laing had her day in the circle come to an end with two outs in the third and her team trailing 7-2. Pershelle Rorher came on and finished the game.
âAs bad as this game I was, I saw a little more fight in them,â coach Laing said. âI can live with that. We will get better. … I thought Nya pitched a great game. I took her out because I donât think itâs fair to leave a pitcher out there when her defense isnât making plays.â
Trailing 9-0, the Grizzlies did show some fight in top of the fourth. Balling drew a walk, followed by a fly out and then a base on balls to Cheyenne Weekes. Mia Marin ripped a two-run single to the fence in left. Marin would have had a double, but stumbled rounding first.
âI just tried to do what I always do and did my job,â Balling said. âMy hits arenât that flashy, but thatâs what I do.â
Logan could have cut into the lead more with a timely hit, but left the bags juiced when Jensen recorded another K.
The Riverhawks answered the Grizzly rally with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. With the bases loaded, Alleigh May was hit by a pitch to bring home speed-up runner Kawena Cabatu. McKenzie Bishop scored on some heads-up base running, and May came home on a Logan error.
The Grizzlies filled up the bases again in the fifth, but Jensen enticed a ground out to end the game.
âI need to work on staying focused throughout the whole game and not let up,â Jensen said.
Bishop and Maggie Smith were honored after the game, as well as Logan senior MaKayla Dahl.
âWe probably havenât had better leadership than what those two seniors have done,â coach Anderson said. âThey have led in action, in deed and in voice. Those are critical.â
Ridgeline now turns its attention to a big region showdown with defending 3A state champion Bear River. The Riverhawks were able to win at Garland, 3-0, but are aware it will be a battle on Friday in Millville.
âNow we have to beat Bear River,â Jensen said. âThatâs all we have left to do is beat Bear River and then Juan Diego, and our region season is over. Bear River is coming after us, so thatâs a huge game.
âWe want to be in control,â coach Anderson said. âBear River is in the top three teams in the state, if not the top.â
Ridgeline Captures Lead Early To Defeat Logan Grizzly Varsity
Logan Grizzly Varsity fell behind early and couldn’t come back in a 12-2 loss to Ridgeline on Tuesday. Ridgeline scored on an error and a groundout in the first inning.
Ridgeline captured the lead in the first inning. An error scored one run for Ridgeline.
Ridgeline scored seven runs in the third inning. The big inning for Ridgeline came thanks to a single , a error, a walk , a double by Lyndsey Anderson, a error, a walk , and a wild pitch.
Mailee Jensen earned the win for Ridgeline. She pitched five innings, surrendering two runs, three hits, and striking out nine. Nya Laing took the loss for Logan Grizzly Varsity. She tossed two and two-thirds innings, surrendering nine runs, five hits, and striking out five.
Mia Marin went 1-for-3 at the plate as she led the team with two runs batted in.