Riverside doubles up Curtis, 14-7

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 13, 2009



Riverside wrested the District 10-2A softball title from John Curtis for the first time in three years last season. Tuesday’s meeting between the teams was the Rebels first opportunity to defend their crown against the Patriots.

Curtis wouldn’t make it easy. But despite cutting a seven run Rebel lead to one, Riverside recovered and secured a 14-7 victory at Curtis.

Riverside senior Heidi Garcich says that defending the district title against the Patriots doesn’t feel different than it did when the Rebels were chasing Curtis for the honor. But she said that in either case, her team had to mean business.

“We just know that there’s a time to be serious, and a time for play,” Garcich said. “We had to take things seriously and all come together today.”

Said Riverside coach Kristy Hebert: “We knew this would be a big district game for us. It was going to be intense. But like I told them before the game, it isn’t about who we play, but how we play. It’s how we show up as a team that’s important.”

Bridget Petit led Rebel hitters by going 4-for-4 with four RBIs. It was the second game in a row that Petit, the Rebels’ third hitter, went 4-for-4 after doing so Saturday at South Beauregard.

“I’m watching the pitches,” said Petit. “I’m swinging at strikes and laying off the ones outside. I’m just going up there ready to hit. I know I can hit, and I have confidence in that.”

Riverside (7-3, 2-0) led 7-0 in the fourth inning, where Curtis scored two runs to cut the lead to five.

That was a prelude to a big Patriots push in the fifth. After loading the bases with no outs, Curtis scored on a flyout to right. Riverside notched its second out, however, when it caught a Curtis runner at first base that hadn’t tagged.

Allison Grabert’s two-RBI single made it 7-4, and two batters later Priscilla Burns launched a double to the wall that brought another two runs home. Just like that, it was 7-6.

“It’s happened to us a couple of times before. Coach Mickey (Roussel) told us that’s five times now,” said Petit. “But we shake it off and keep playing. We don’t let it get to us.”

Riverside responded by tacking on two runs in the top of the sixth. Petit led off the inning with a double, followed by singles by Ayla Vicknair and Katie Bailey – the latter scored Petit to make it 8-6. Kelsi Roussel’s sacrifice fly followed to make it 9-6.

But the Curtis threat wasn’t over. Ashley Duhe, pitching in relief of starter Chelsey Stein (2-0), retired two of the first three Curtis batters. But the next two Patriot batters reached, loading the bases for Grabert, who launched a rocket to deep center field.

It would score no runs though. Garcich tracked down a ball that looked to be beyond her grasp and hauled in an over-the–shoulder catch for the game’s key defensive play.

“I guess I was a little (nervous) when I was getting closer to it,” Garcich said. “But once I got there it was a routine kind of ball. I just thought to myself, ‘I’m gonna catch it.’”

A mention of the play brought a smile to Hebert’s face.

“That’s why she’s out there,” said Hebert. “I don’t think there’s many who make that play. Honestly, when they hit it in her direction I stood up and knew she’d be there. That’s just the kind of confidence I have in her.”

It seemed to inspire Riverside at the plate. Petit doubled to bring in two more runs in the seventh. Bailey, Roussel, and Kori Bourgeois each knocked in runs to extend the Rebel lead to 14-6.

“We let them back in it,” Hebert said. “But I’m proud of how we responded.”