Lady Rebels split two in opening week

Published 3:21 pm Friday, March 6, 2015

RESERVE — After postponements pushed Riverside’s 2015 softball debut back a week, the Lady Rebels took the field and absorbed a tough 6-0 loss to Vandebilt Catholic on Monday before regrouping to earn a decisive victory over Academy of Our Lady Wednesday, 9-1.

The games were the first for new head coach Tamra Regalo, who succeeds Kristy Hebert. Hebert served as head coach from 2009 to 2014 before stepping down to accept a position as assistant athletic director at John Curtis.

Regalo said her team struggled offensively in the first game but quickly put that behind them in the 9-1 win over AOL.

“We expected to produce more in the first game, but (Vandebilt Catholic’s) pitcher was very good and we struggled,” Regalo said. “We want to see more like her early this season so we can get used to that kind of competition. We know we can hit speed, but the girls like that who can throw a lot of different stuff at you, we have to improve there.

“Against AOL, we finally got going, really in that third inning, and everything clicked.”

Hailey Tassin led Riverside (1-1) with three hits and two RBIs, including a solo home run and double among her swings against AOL (3-3).

Cheyenne Triche tossed a complete game two-hitter.

K.C. Becnel also hit a home run and double for Riverside, finishing 2 for 4.  Rayne Weber also collected two hits and an RBI, and Janie Milioto drove in a run.

Riverside put things away with a four-run fifth inning.

Triche leads the Rebels pitching rotation, but Regalo said a number of girls have stepped up to become complimentary options atop the mound, including Tassin and Madison Watson.

“We’re looking for some strong pitching performances over the next few weeks (to solidify the rotation),” Regalo said. “Hailey’s shown interest in pitching. She said she wants to do anything she can to help our team, and she’s got some good spin (on the ball). Madison’s a really strong girl, and we want to see if she can get in there as well.”

Regalo said Watson, Tassin and Briley Becker are among those swinging a strong bat early on this season and hopes to see that continue.

As for Regalo, a former standout first baseman at Southeastern University, this week marked her debut as not only Rebels head coach but as a head softball coach at the prep level. She said the transition has been smooth.

“It’s going well,” she said. “Softball’s always been such a big part of my life. A lot of people told me they thought I should give coaching a shot when I was giving lessons. Coaching these girls has been great, and we’re just all trying to push through to the next level now.”