BIDWELL, Ohio — A fast start on Wednesday, unfortunately for the Lady Raiders, resulted in a slow finish.
That’s because the River Valley High School softball squad saw a 3-1 second-inning advantage evaporate, and the Lady Raiders fell 4-3 to the visiting Alexander Spartans in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division tilt.
The Lady Spartans scored the game’s final three runs over the final four innings, including the go-ahead — and ultimately game-winning — point in the top of the seventh.
Alexander overcame a 1-0 deficit following the Raiders’ initial at-bat, scoring the tying marker in the top of the second —before the Raiders pushed across a pair of unearned runs in the bottom half.
But from there, though, Alexander pitcher Gracie Hill retired River Valley 1-2-3 in the third through fifth frames —followed by facing the minimum three in the sixth.
Trailing 4-3 in the seventh, the Lady Raiders reached third base with the tying run, but Hill induced Savannah Halfhill to ground out to third to end the game.
With the loss, which was River Valley’s second consecutive, it fell to 5-13 — and to 3-8 in the TVC-Ohio.
The Lady Raiders’ remaining league contest is a home makeup matchup against division champion Meigs.
Alexander improved to 11-9, and to 7-4 in the division, while completing the season sweep of the Silver and Black.
The Lady Spartans also overcame five errors on Wednesday, thanks largely to Hill holding River Valley to only five hits and striking out seven.
Sydney Little led off the first for the Lady Raiders with a double, stole third, and scored with the aid of an E-2.
Chloe Gee then singled in the inning, but Hill induced a 6-4 fielder’s choice to strand a runner.
After Alexander answered for the 1-1 tie, on the combination of singles by Amber Hart and Lauren Scurlock sandwiched around a Hill sacrifice bunt, the Raiders went ahead 3-1 — thanks to three Alexander errors and a Little single.
Halfhill and Kaylee Tucker both scored, but Hill left Little stranded — before retiring the next dozen Raiders she saw.
Meanwhile, Alexander forged the 3-3 tie in the top of the fourth off Arika Barr, who —like Hill —pitched the complete game for River Valley.
Ashley Cooper singled to lead off, then went to second on a fielder’s choice before scoring on Scurlock’s double.
Scurlock scored for the 3-3 tie on a double by Halie Miller, before Barr retired six of the next seven Spartans —with a walk to Hunter Markins in the fifth being the only exception.
But Markins made the Lady Raiders pay in the top of the seventh, when Miller reached on a leadoff error —only River Valley’s second and first since the opening inning.
Nicole Hudnall drew a two-out walk, then Markins followed with the go-ahead single to make it 4-3.
Barr allowed only seven Spartan hits with three walks, as Abby Howard had a single in the first frame — followed by an initial walk to Hudnall in the third.
The Raiders tried to take the lead in the sixth, but Baylee Hollanbaugh — in trying to stretch a double into a triple — was thrown out at third on a relay from the outfield.
In the seventh, Kasey Birchfield singled with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch, but Barr’s bunt to move her to third was as far as she reached.
River Valley was scheduled to host non-league South Gallia on Thursday.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106