Riverside falls to Pigniolo, John Curtis

Published 1:56 pm Friday, March 20, 2015

RIVER RIDGE — The nerves washed away from John Curtis’ Toni Hebert after her first inning single plated the first run of the Patriots clash with visiting Riverside, her former team.

It certainly sparked her team: Curtis went on to score two more first inning runs and six overall on the day. Combined with Peyton Pigniolo’s fourth no-hitter of the season, that was more than enough for the Patriots to earn a key non-district victory, 6-0 over the Rebels in a battle of top contenders.

Pigniolo struck out 14 in her complete game performance, as Curtis (10-1) bounced back from its first loss of the season, a 9-3 decision to Teurlings Catholic last weekend. Hebert went 2 for 3 with three RBIs against her former team. The junior transferred to Curtis at the beginning of the school year as her mother, former Riverside coach Kristy Hebert, accepted a position as assistant athletic director at Curtis.

“It was a little bit (strange),” Toni Hebert said. “I tried not to bring the emotions with me out on the field. After my first at-bat, it was kind of a big relief. But I talked with our coaches before the game about just taking it as a regular game and not turning it into more than that.”

Pigniolo, a Southeastern signee, took control early. She struck out the Riverside side in order in the second inning, and struck out at least two Rebels in five of the day’s seven innings.

“I didn’t really know about (the no-hitter) until later in the game,” Pigniolo said. “I try not to think about it and just pitch.”

It’s the senior’s first season as Curtis’ ace, after primarily serving as the staff’s No. 2 to Ashley Brignac for the past three seasons.

“People thought there was a big rivalry between (Brignac and Pigniolo), but it was never like that. It was her time, and now it’s my time. I’ve been ready since my freshman year, and this doesn’t scare me.”

Riverside (3-3) was swinging a hot bat coming into the game, fresh off a 17-0 win over Doyle on Monday. But the Rebels couldn’t keep it up Tuesday.

“We popped everything up (Tuesday) when we did make contact,” Riverside coach Tamra Regalo said. “We talked about our selectivity at the plate and what to go after.

“We had trouble adjusting to the strike zone and we talked afterwards about not letting that dictate our game. We can’t control calls, but we can control what we do.”

Hailey Tassin started for Riverside and took the loss. Cheyenne Triche entered in the second inning and allowed one run on five hits over the final 4.2 innings.

Toni Hebert’s single to left put Curtis ahead 1-0. Pigniolo then helped her own cause, launching a double to plate two more runs in the first inning.

Alyssa Dean doubled home another run for Curtis in the second, then Hebert did the same to make it a 5-0 game. Hebert’s fourth inning sacrifice fly pushed home the game’s final run.