RA Rebels happy, not celebrating yet

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 15, 2009


RESERVE — There were smiles on the races of the Riverside softball players on Saturday morning, but there was no grand celebration, no pomp and circumstance.

The Rebels had just clinched their second straight outright District 10-2A crown, after finishing a 12-2, 10-run rule victory over John Curtis in Reserve. And they did it in explosive fashion, scoring nine fifth inning runs to blow open what had been a one-run game.

But after shaking hands with the Curtis players, the Rebels immediately went about their usual postgame business, fixing up the field for their next game.

The implication was clear: the district title is great, but there’s a bigger goal to achieve.

“I’m happy for the girls, and I’m very proud of them,” said Riverside coach Kristy Hebert. “We’ll take it. But I want a state championship. When we do that, I’ll be satisfied.”

Riverside (19-11, 12-0) is now a perfect 24-0 in district play over the past two seasons. It outscored district foes by an overall margin of 140-17.

After Riverside’s Chelsey Stein (10-4) retired the Curtis side in the fifth inning, the floodgates broke loose.

Katie Bailey, Kelsi Roussel and Kori Bourgeois all reached to load the bases for the Rebels with one out in the bottom half of the inning. Terrio singled in a run to make it 4-2. Ditto for LeBlanc, whose single made it 5-2. Heidi Garcich reached on an infield single which brought another run home.

Shea Lafountain followed with another RBI single, and a second run scored on an errant Patriots throw to make it 8-2. Bridget Petit reached on another Curtis error, and that brought home two more runners to make it 10-2.

Thoughts began to crop up among observers that the game could be over sooner than anyone expected. Those thoughts became reality when Bailey came up for the second time in the inning. After Ayla Vicknair reached on an infield single, Bailey socked a pitch deep into left field that fell at the wall for a two-RBI double, making it 12-2 and clinching the 10-run rule victory.

“It was exciting,” said Bailey. “I had confidence that I’d to up and rip it. I knew we needed it — we wanted to end it right there, and I knew we could.”

It didn’t look like anything would come easy for the Rebels early on, as Curtis (15-12, 10-2) had designs on clinching their own share of the district title.

Curtis led 1-0 in the second inning, and 2-1 in the third thanks to a leadoff triple by Shaknocka Lewis and a sacrifice fly by Kacie Pertuit.

But the Rebel bats began to wake up in the innings’ bottom half. Bourgeois and Terrio each reached base to begin the inning, and the Rebels took advantage of both. Bourgeois scored on a passed ball, and Lafountain hit a ground ball to bring home another run, making it 3-2.

The lower half of the Rebel batting order was key all game. Three times, the top of the order came up with at least two runners on — twice, the bases were loaded. Riverside scored at least once each time, but truly took advantage in the fifth.

“The bottom of our order sparked things for us,” said Hebert. “When you know that they can get on and make things happen, then you’re in good shape.”

She also credited her team with not wilting when Curtis kept things close early on.

“They didn’t give in to the pressure,” Hebert said. “We’ve played a lot of tough competition. The majority of our games have been full of pressure. They kept at it and really showed up big in the fifth.”