BIDWELL, Ohio — As the softball adage goes, “hit them where they ain’t.”
The River Valley softball team trailed by three runs through four innings against Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division foe Athens, but the Silver and Black rallied by way of the long ball en route to a 5-4 victory on Tuesday in Gallia County.
The Lady Raiders (5-9, 4-8 TVC Ohio) trailed 2-0 in the top of the first, as the Lady Bulldogs manufactured two runs on one hit, a walk and three fielding miscues by RVHS.
River Valley countered in the bottom of the first, when Sierra Somerville led off with a single and scored on a single by Cierra Roberts to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Athens extended the lead to 4-1 in the second, as the visitors scored two runs on one hit two walks and the Silver and Black’s third error of the contest.
The Lady Raiders narrowed the margin to 4-2 in the third, as Kaylee Tucker started the inning with a single and scored on a one-out single by Isabella Mershon.
River Valley knotted the contest at 4-all in the fifth, when Somerville led off with a home run and Mershon provided the tying run with the host’s second solo shot of the inning with one-out.
RVHS grabbed a 5-4 advantage in the bottom of the sixth, when Tucker reached on a single and and advance to third by way of a passed ball and a fielder’s choice. Tucker scored the go-ahead run on ground ball off the bat of Roberts, as the Silver and Black carried a one-run lead into the finale.
Athens threatened in the top of the seventh, but River Valley closed out the inning as the visitors left two runners stranded on base to earn the one-run victory.
Arika Barr earned a complete game victory for RVHS, as she pitched seven innings, allowing four runs on three hits, with six walks and seven strikeouts. Barr also finished with one hit at the plate.
Somerville led the way for River Valley at the dish, as she finished with two safeties, including a home run, one RBI and scored twice.
Mershon was next with two hits, including a home run, two RBI and one run scored. Roberts also finished with two safeties, driving in one run in the contest.
Tucker and Chloe Gee each finished with one hit apiece, respectively, while Macy Purkey scored twice to conclude the offensive totals for the Lady Raiders.
Amy Brannan suffered the loss for Athens, as she appeared in one inning of relief and surrendered one run on two hits.
Stewart started for the Lady Bulldogs, surrendering four runs on seven hits, with one walk while striking out three batters. Stewart also finished with one hit and a run scored at the plate.
Thomas and Kaylin Sharp also had one to conclude the hit totals for Athens. Thomas also scored once, while Katie Brooks and Olivia Tengolia added one run each to conclude the offensive totals for the Lady Bulldogs.
The Silver and Black committed five fielding miscues in the game, as Athens finished with two errors. Athens stranded eight runners on base in the contest, while RVHS left seven.
The win for River Valley served as a season series split with the Lady Bulldogs, having previously suffered a 15-14 setback on April 9 in The Plains, Ohio.
Following the game, RVHS coach Nick Roberts was pleased with hit team’s pitching performance, but also spoke on the miscues in the field.
“Our pitching was on,” said Roberts. “Our hitting was decent, but if we don’t field better we aren’t going to make it very far in the sectionals.”
The Lady Raiders return to the diamond for their final regular season contest on Friday as they host South Gallia, before traveling to Vinton County on Saturday to face the Lady Vikings in a Southeast Ohio District Division II sectional semifinal contest.
Scott Jones can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext 2106.